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Big Brother is Watching You

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather QuillUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the last month or so, chances are you’ve heard the latest revelations regarding the NSA’s unlawful invasion of American citizens’ privacy. According to the Washington Post, “The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.”

In a free society, it is always a struggle to maintain an appropriate balance between liberty and security. We want the government to respect our privacy, but we also want them to keep us safe. How and where to draw the line has been and will continue to be a subject of fierce debate. Benjamin Franklin famously declared that “they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Regardless of whether you agree with Mr. Franklin, chances are you expect your government to conduct itself lawfully and ethically at all times. Our government is one of laws, not of men. The Constitution, not the President or Congress, is the final arbiter of what’s permissible and what’s not. This is what makes the NSA scandal so problematic, and it is notable that the government’s overreach in this area is drawing criticism from both sides of the political aisle.

The discovery that one of the nation’s foremost intelligence-gathering entities has broken the law and is collecting data on innocent American citizens is shocking, but it shouldn’t be. This is only the latest and perhaps most egregious in a long line of troubling conduct by the Obama administration. The fact is, a reckless disregard for the law has become a hallmark of this government. First there was the Fast and Furious scandal, then the Benghazi cover-up, then the IRS debacle. With each controversy, at every turn, President Obama and Administration officials have poo-pooed any suggestion that they’ve done anything wrong. They’ve dismissed each incident as a “phony scandal.” They’ve insisted that the truth makes no difference. Apparently, the elites that run our government feel that they know best how to employ the vast power at their disposal. Whether or not their actions are in accordance with the law is of little import.

This is not the attitude of a democratic government, it is the attitude of an autocrat. Mr. Obama made it quite clear after his reelection: He has a mandate and he intends to use it. Use it, indeed, Mr. President, as is your privilege. This does not mean, however, that you have the right to make an end-run around the Constitution – the document from which your powers derive and by which you are constrained.

The American people are witnessing firsthand the kind of things that happen when a nation’s citizenry allows complacency and apathy to rule. We all have a stake in keeping government restrained within its limits, and when we abdicate this critical duty, power is quick to consolidate itself. History teaches us that there is an inverse relationship between the size of government and the extent of the liberties men enjoy. As government grows, freedom shrinks, and a society whose leaders have little respect for the law will quickly become a lawless society in which the operative principle is no longer “What does the law require?” but rather, “Who has the power?”

There are more and more cars on the road today sporting bumper stickers saying, “I love my country, but I fear my government.” Is it any wonder? We must reclaim our heritage as a nation of laws and not of men. Lawbreakers – both in and out of government – must be held accountable for their actions. Let the debate about the balance between liberty and security continue, as it must in the times in which we live. But never let us blindly accept the canard that our security justifies brazen usurpations of power by unaccountable politicians and bureaucrats at the top. If we do, we will not be secure from the predations of our own government. Remember, Big Brother is watching.


Kenneth L. Connor is the Chairman of the Center for a Just Society, 1220 L St. NW, Suite 100-371, Washington, DC 20005. Email: info@centerforajustsociety.org and website: http://www.centerforajustsociety.org.
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  • noelfitz

    I read here “This is only the latest and perhaps most egregious in a long line of troubling conduct by the Obama administration”. This again raises the question “at the present time is America a corrupt,
    non-Christian undemocratic society ruled by a foreign tyrant? I have argued the contrary. To me at present America is an outstanding Christian
    democracy. Catholicism has never been so respected as it is at present. Catholics are prominent throughout the country, from the VP and Secretary of State downwards. The influence of Catholics was underlined when Cardinal Dolan was invited to dinner by both presidential candidates. I admit not all Catholics are as faithful as they ought to be, but we are all sinners and Jesus himself mixed with sinners.

    To say that recent privacy violations are the most outstandingly failures of the Obama Administration seems strange to me. Invading privacy
    fades into insignificance compared to killing babies. The major issue is abortion. But under previous administrations, possibly, lip-service was often given to pro-life positions. Now in Obama’s America real pro-life progress
    seems to be occurring.

    I read on the web “Some in the media have noted a revitalization of the pro-life movement in the 21st century. In 2011, Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard wrote: That the pro-life movement is bigger is a given. It’s also younger, increasingly entrepreneurial, more strategic in its thinking, better organized, tougher in dealing with allies and enemies alike”.

    There are very many important victories won by pro-life advocates. Texas is not the only example.

    Please let me know if you share my optimism about America at present and about pro-life victories in your locality.

    It is appropriate for us to follow Paul’s advice:

    Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

    • goral

      “Now in Obama’s America real pro-life progress
      seems to be occurring.”

      Noelfitz, you are living in a foreign country.

      You are being fed information by a left wing press.
      You, yourself are a left wing, servile flatterer of this
      skinny a.. Kenyan dictator.
      Your catholicity is right in line with the HHS sec.- the walking dead.

      Of course, you would make that conclusion.

      • noelfitz

        Goral,

        thanks for your reply to me. As you know I would prefer to get replies rather than to be ignored.

        My key question is “have there been pro-life successes recently?
        I would love to get replies.

  • goral

    Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Boston Globe on the heels of the Goslin trial. As I recall this is the case which gave you concerns that the abortionist butcher could actually get a fair trial.

    “President Obama blatantly ignored this inconvenient truth about the
    abortion industry’s horrific lack of oversight and disparaged the
    pro-life advocates who wake up each morning with the goal of saving the
    lives of unborn children, and women from the pain of abortion,’’ said
    Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an
    antiabortion group.

    Obama did not mention the case but condemned lawmakers who have targeted Planned Parenthood.

    “When politicians try to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag,
    they’re not just talking about you, they’re talking about the millions
    of women who you serve,’’ he told the group’s gathering, at a Washington
    hotel. ‘‘And when they talk about cutting off your funding, let’s be
    clear they’re talking about telling many of those women you’re on your
    own.’’

    He pledged his loyalty to the group.

    “You’ve also got a president,’’ he said, ‘‘who’s going to be right here with you fighting every step of the way.’’
    (end of article)

    That’s one article from a left wing newspaper which just recently sold for about 7 cents on a dollar from its original purchase price. The amount was probably closer to a nickel once inflation is factored in.
    This is how much your liberal news, Noelfitz, is fetching in the marketplace.

    I don’t even want to bring up all the Catholic lawsuits against the HHS mandate. Hobby Lobby is also in court against the administration, for the same thing.

    Here’s another excerpt from Lifenews.com

    Over 20 groups are asking U.S. Secretary of State to end the U.S.
    obstruction over abortion at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
    Here is the letter sent today:

    Dear Secretary Kerry,

    This week the United States has an opportunity to advance
    international efforts to prevent violence against women and girls
    through the UN Commission on the Status of Women. We are disturbed to
    learn that the U.S. delegation is, instead, exploiting this effort to
    insist on language that the former Secretary of State and others say
    includes abortion. The delegation is also not supporting language that
    upholds national sovereignty.

    It is especially shocking that the U.S. called for deleting a
    reaffirmation that every human being has the “inherent right to life,
    liberty and security of persons.” This contradicts a foundational
    principle of citizens and civilizations worldwide.
    (end of excerpt)

    There’s nothing but bad news about the style and thrust of this Chicago gangster’s anti-life agenda.

    Yet, you continue to prop up this tyrant and his policies.
    I am beginning to think that you’re actually a plant of the DNC.
    You get talking points from them and then work them in to your catholic posts.
    There’s no shortage of catholics like yourself who do the devil’s bidding.

    How does one arrive at your conclusion and still claim a pro-life Catholic stance, objectivity, and a real grasp of this topic?
    It can’t happen! You’re either a complete charlatan or there are psychological issues.