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Sunday, July 14, 2013

"The Date Rape of America"

I'm reading Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom" so it is interesting to see these three articles (h/t Instapundit):

First, John Ransom, at Townhall Finance, laments the demise of the rule of law:

Government seems to do least of all what it should, and mostly what it shouldn’t be doing. These backward policies don’t emanate just on the Democrat side of the aisle, but also on the Republican side.
So let’s just say that it’s a bipartisan problem.

Arming Al Qaeda is a bipartisan problem; free mortgages for everyone is a bipartisan problem; Social Security that offers neither security nor social benefits is a bipartisan problem; immigration laws that are hopelessly broken is a bipartisan problem; 70,000 pages of IRS code that’s a hopeless mess and a petri dish for corruption is a bipartisan problem; 10th amendment violations are a bipartisan problem; spying on citizens, while ignoring the terrorists, is a bipartisan problem; allowing our fiscal and monetary policies to be dictated by a narrow set of Wall Streeters is a bipartisan problem; tracking our children as a substitute for real education reform, which by the way, has failed in America, is a bipartisan problem.

At a time when more people globally are moving out of poverty and into the middle class, in many respects, America has been left behind.

To the extent that America has not benefited from the demographic reality of billions of people worldwide adopting the American mode of life, is the bipartisan problem that we all must face or suffer the consequences.

The financial markets that used to be the envy of the world have been reformed until they have been emasculated politicized and metastasized in another triumph of bipartisanship.

We have come to the point where the rule of law has absolutely no meaning anymore.

Laws are created so purposefully complex that the government can decide at any given time what is or what isn’t the law depending on how they feel about it.


That’s not a republic; that’s a dictatorship.

There is no attempt to varnish it either. The government does what it pleases and we comply.


I used to believe that economics trumped all other arguments. That was when I foolishly believed in the rule of law.


But now I know that the country faces only two choices: liberty or death.
 And from Slate, a bit more on the NSA surveillance:
On Thursday, the Guardian published the latest in a series of scoops about the scope of the NSA’s spying programs, based on documents disclosed by former contractor Edward Snowden. The report outlines how Microsoft secretly worked with the NSA to help the agency tap into its email and chat services, including Outlook.com and Hotmail. Notably, the Guardian also cites documents showing that work began on integrating Skype into the NSA’s Internet surveillance program PRISM in November 2010, several months before Microsoft purchased the service from U.S. private equity firms. By February 2011, the NSA was able to monitor Skype audio calls. In addition, by July last year, the NSA reportedly boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through PRISM.
And, a surprising bit of honesty from a former head of the UK's MI-5:

Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, has warned that the fear of terrorism is being exploited by the Government to erode civil liberties and risks creating a police state.
Dame Stella accused ministers of interfering with people’s privacy and playing straight into the hands of terrorists.
“Since I have retired I feel more at liberty to be against certain decisions of the Government, especially the attempt to pass laws which interfere with people’s privacy,” Dame Stella said in an interview with a Spanish newspaper.
“It would be better that the Government recognised that there are risks, rather than frightening people in order to be able to pass laws which restrict civil liberties, precisely one of the objects of terrorism: that we live in fear and under a police state,” she said.

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