Anybody remember Echelon? I remember when it was the outrage-of-the-hour. Lots of juicy accusations of shady domestic spying in the above-referenced interview, vintage 2000.
Hear me out. I’m not just playing moral relativity games, saying “well they did it too, so that makes it OK”. My point goes much deeper than partisan politics.
Bush probably has the worst civil liberties record of any president in recent memory. This is true. He was also president during a period of unprecedented public outcry for greater security. Given the records of two of the more prominent and popular recent Democrats, I’m not convinced that they or any other major politician would have reacted substantially differently post 9/11. After all, the majority of Americans have accepted the restrictions and invasions of privacy without a whimper.
My point is that this kind of thing has been going on for a long time (which doesn’t reduce it’s wrongness one iota). It’s nothing new, and it has little if anything to do with party affiliation. The corruption is systemic.
I guess I feel compelled to comment because it seems like there’s this wishful thinking going around, as if the problems are localized to the Bush administration. Sure, the Bushies are egregiously bad and provide a good scapegoat. But I wish that people would, for once, take a step back and realize that just because jerk A is currently a problem, that jerk B will not necessarily be their saviour. The American people need to demand more than just “I promise I won’t do exactly what the last guy did, or if I do I promise not to get caught, or at least to use different words for it”.
I challenge everyone who is outraged by the domestic spying, and all the other crimes against liberties that the Bush administration has committed to commit to voting for genuine change next time around. That means actually looking at candidates history ten, twenty years into the past instead of taking their current statements at face-value. That means reading their critics as well as their advocates. That means listening to us crazy libertarians – you may not agree with everything we stand for, but we have a better record than most for consistently pointing out individual liberty abuses long before they become the issue-of-the-hour, and without bias towards a particular party. That means potentially voting for an unlikely candidate rather than voting for someone who is one terrorist attack away from getting the facsist-of-the-year award.