July 15, 2013
A Modest Proposal: Don’t Worry About Government Surveillance At All, Ever

It is melancholy to observe how swiftly Americans have been divided by federal surveillance. A new poll finds that a majority view Edward Snowden as a whistleblower, and a plurality of respondents say “government goes too far in restricting civil liberties in the name of anti-terrorism.” These worrywarts need to be reminded of all the reasons to trust their government. What reason do any of us have to doubt that President Obama can be fully trusted on this matter?
Numerous Obama Administration officials say that they’re acting within the law, that they’re careful to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans, and that they’d never abuse their power. Would elected officials really break their promises or lie to the public? What precedent is there in U.S. history to suggest that politicians would violate their oath to uphold the Constitution? Would the government really abuse civil liberties to fight terrorism of all things? And what reason has Obama himself given us to think that he’d brazenly break his word? Besides, the NSA, CIA, and FBI wouldn’t dare contravene the law while under the supervision of a Constitutional law expert with Obama’s reputation for investigating and prosecuting lawbreakers. Seeing how he dealt with Bush-era torturers, would you break the law on his watch?
Some Americans worry that the NSA conducts its surveillance in secret, under the supervision of a secret court with secret rules. But as Hendrik Hertzberg writes, “I still don’t know of a single instance where the N.S.A. data program has encroached on or repressed any particular person’s or group’s freedom of expression or association in a tangible way. Nor have I come across a clear explanation of exactly how the program could be put to such a purpose.” Yeah. How would you even abuse a vast database detailing the private communications of Americans?
Read more. [Image: Mark Gstohl/Flickr]

A Modest Proposal: Don’t Worry About Government Surveillance At All, Ever

It is melancholy to observe how swiftly Americans have been divided by federal surveillance. A new poll finds that a majority view Edward Snowden as a whistleblower, and a plurality of respondents say “government goes too far in restricting civil liberties in the name of anti-terrorism.” These worrywarts need to be reminded of all the reasons to trust their government. What reason do any of us have to doubt that President Obama can be fully trusted on this matter?

Numerous Obama Administration officials say that they’re acting within the law, that they’re careful to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans, and that they’d never abuse their power. Would elected officials really break their promises or lie to the public? What precedent is there in U.S. history to suggest that politicians would violate their oath to uphold the Constitution? Would the government really abuse civil liberties to fight terrorism of all things? And what reason has Obama himself given us to think that he’d brazenly break his word? Besides, the NSA, CIA, and FBI wouldn’t dare contravene the law while under the supervision of a Constitutional law expert with Obama’s reputation for investigating and prosecuting lawbreakers. Seeing how he dealt with Bush-era torturers, would you break the law on his watch?

Some Americans worry that the NSA conducts its surveillance in secret, under the supervision of a secret court with secret rules. But as Hendrik Hertzberg writes, “I still don’t know of a single instance where the N.S.A. data program has encroached on or repressed any particular person’s or group’s freedom of expression or association in a tangible way. Nor have I come across a clear explanation of exactly how the program could be put to such a purpose.” Yeah. How would you even abuse a vast database detailing the private communications of Americans?

Read more. [Image: Mark Gstohl/Flickr]

  1. sundegai2013 reblogged this from sundegai
  2. sundegai reblogged this from theatlantic
  3. leganoth reblogged this from alec-c-c-combo-breaker
  4. likiteesplit reblogged this from theatlantic
  5. aisilat reblogged this from theatlantic
  6. olloollo reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    FTFY.
  7. patrickdehahn reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    From theatlantic: Read more here from The Atlantic. (Image: Mark Gstohl/Flickr)
  8. astro--nautilus reblogged this from floating-point
  9. floating-point reblogged this from alec-c-c-combo-breaker
  10. alec-c-c-combo-breaker reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    This is the best sardonic surveillance state satire I’ve seen so far.
  11. cableknit-knight reblogged this from theatlantic
  12. nativescience said: Lol
  13. readersis reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    I read the title and inwardly jumped with glee at a reference to Jonathan Swift’s wonderful satire.
  14. randycwhite reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Sarcasm probably shouldn’t be this subtle in print.
  15. aboxfullofdarkness reblogged this from theatlantic
  16. rev320productions reblogged this from theatlantic
  17. giannanola reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    nola peeps will recognize the image…..
  18. gafasdelsol reblogged this from theatlantic
  19. lutra-canadensis reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    You had me at “A Modest Proposal.”