Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Dorothy Rabinowitz on A Song of Victims
For the school of believers certain that an all-powerful American government regularly plots to invade their lives and subvert their freedom, these are heady days—or so they seemed. News of data mining looked to be irresistible proof of that faith—their darkest vision of an America at the mercy of a government secretly gathering all sorts of personal information and subverting the Constitution. And there was Edward Snowden, the latest addition to the pantheon of anti-government leakers, releasing a tonnage of classified data about the NSA surveillance programs..For this he was, not unexpectedly, acclaimed as a hero both in the precincts of the Progressive Left and its anti-terror war warriors, and some quarters of the Libertarian Right—two groups, it has long been obvious, with much in common.Trouble is, this latest face of self-sacrifice for a higher cause (Snowden has let it be known he considers his life as a free man pretty much over now) hasn't been greeted with anything remotely like admiration among Americans, other than sympathizers in the aforementioned groups. From all indications, he's an object of general contempt well deserving of prosecution—another in the line of socially deranged seekers who found the self-definition they long for in their obsessed vision of their government as the central source of evil in the world. It didn't help that Mr. Snowden's explanation for what he did came brimming odiously with virtue—he had, he said, decided to leak material because he thought Americans should be informed so that they could debate the questions he raised.
I’m sorry Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote this because it damages her valuable reputation. She uses the straw men that Obama regularly creates, creating a “school of believers” who believe that the American government “plots to invade their lives and subvert their freedom,” that view “…their government as the central source of evil in the world.” She may be spending too much time with the Progressives who told us that the Bush-Cheney cabal was doing exactly that. She may agree with Barack Obama that the constitution is fatally flawed because the Bill of Rights tells the government what it can’t do rather than telling the government what it must do .
Meanwhile in the rest of the country, we’re being hit with stories about the IRS targeting Tea Party and patriot groups for “special treatment.” For “accidentally” sending out lists of contributors to conservative and pro-family groups to Leftist organizations so that their contributors can be harassed. At the EPA, we have its head using a fake e-mail account and her underlings making conservatives pay a fortune for FOIAs to be granted while waiving fees for liberal groups. We have seen the government and the press (but I repeat myself) blame Benghazi on a demonstration that did not occur in reaction to a video that no one ever saw. We’re now treated to the interesting statistic that the lawyers in government supported Obama over Romney overwhelmingly, from 68% at the Department of Defense to 100% at the Department of Education. The Ruling Class is telling us to trust the government while the Country Class believes that they may not be paranoid enough.
But back to Dorothy, whose work I have previously admired. She indulges in ad hominem attacks on the leaker who may or may not be an honorable man, but whose revelations should be the cause of a national debate on just how much information we want the government to have on us. There is the little matter of the Fourth Amendment which states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
We should have a sober discussion about whether creating a data base of all my phone calls and my internet comments violate this protection of my “person, houses, papers and effects.” And to dismiss this concern as foolish is beneath her. To suggest, as Dorothy does, that spying on Americans is the way to keep us from dying at the hands of terrorists is also beneath her.