Continuing revelations of the extensive scope of the US government’s mass spying program, piled on top of decades of foreign intervention and liberty suppression at home, can lead Americans to question if they should give up their work for peace and liberty. Nevertheless, there is reason for hope that pursuing this work will yield success.
Speaking with host Neil Cavuto on Fox Business, RPI Advisory Board Member Andrew Napolitano warns that the US government has established a mass spying program so invasive that “we are close to a generation of Americans who will not even know what privacy means because they will grow up in a society in which everything they do from the moment of their birth — no matter how intimate or private the moment –will be monitored by the government, and they will accept that.”
Napolitano explains that even when the crisis used to justify the government intrusion passes, “the freedom doesn’t come back or, if it does, it doesn’t come back all the way, and then that surrender is used by future generations of government as precedent for asking for more surrender of freedom.”
The mass spying program thus appears to be another example of the process described by RPI Academic Board Member Robert Higgs whereby the government uses a crisis, in this case terrorism, to justify expanding government power at the expense of liberty. Higgs explains this process:
How do once-free people lose their liberty? The formula may be stated succinctly: crisis and leviathan. Alternatively, and somewhat more fully stated, the procedure for the government officials and their supporters who hope to gain by quashing the people’s liberties is (1) cause a serious crisis, thereby heightening the public’s fears, and (2) blame others for the crisis, pose as the people’s savior, and thereby justify the seizure of new powers allegedly necessary to remedy the crisis and to prevent the recurrence of such crises in the future. This gambit is as old as the hills, yet, given the right ideological preconditions, it works every time. Strange to say, the people never learn (in part because these experiences produce ideological change that fortifies the fiscal and institutional changes the government makes during the crisis).
Watching the government repeatedly using crises to grow larger at the expense of peace and liberty can be disheartening, especially considering that the government even creates many of the crises. For example, the US government’s wars, foreign aid, and sanctions motivate violent acts against Americans.
Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.