Europe, as a whole, has done many things wrong. It has not learned from many of its mistakes. But, it HAS learned from some.
As Americans debate whether or not innocent citizens and noncitizens should be spied upon, European leaders seem to have no need to debate the matter. They know it is wrong to spy on the innocent. They come by this wisdom honestly: They experienced such surveillance of the innocent under horrific fascist and communist regimes. They want no part of it. In fact, Vivian Reding, the European Union’s commissioner of justice is calling on U.S. attorney general Eric Holder to “reveal what (U.S.) intelligence is doing with personal information of Europeans gathered under the Prism surveillance program.” (NY Times, 6/12/13).
Who would have thought that one day many of us would be praising Europe for its impatience with snooping.
When the Patriot Act was passed and even later when it was renewed, many of us believed that the surveillance powers generated from the act were well defined and focused on real potential threats. This may be how it was envisioned and it may even be how it was first employed. Much has changed since then and the government has once again demonstrated overreach in order to amass power. Europeans learned long ago that if you give the government, any government, an inch it will take not just a mile of power but infinite power.
Unfortunately, many Americans have yet to learn this fact or, if they have learned it, they don’t care. Many of our fellow citizens are not upset in the least about being spied upon. This large group includes the usual suspects: Run-of-the-mill useful idiots, anti-American “progressives”, and the extremely under-informed. Even worse, the group includes some very highly ranked politicians, including House Speaker John (the boner) Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate judiciary committee member Lindsey (the cracker) Graham (R-S.C.). Republicans in name only, these two weak-willed bureaucrats are poster boys for Lord Acton’s dictum: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
Many Americans have become complacent. This is the last step before “bondage” in the development of a nation. Snooping upon innocent citizens and non-citizens gives the potential for extreme power for government and extreme loss of power for citizens. Those in charge are finding it difficult to do the right thing and forego that potential power. We need to help them out, and by “out” I mean OUT!