America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed them ourselves. —Abraham Lincoln
Losing our freedoms because we destroyed them ourselves is something that I worry about. Of course when Lincoln made this quote there was no such thing as the NSA, Internet, cell phones but each of these are the things that may just destroy our freedoms.
Sometimes I think I am the only one to be worried about this. The NSA’s ability to tap into all our telephone, text, and Internet information seems like a “perfect storm” just waiting to happen. It has even been reported by some pretty reputable sources that they can get inside all our smart phone apps to see what we store there.
I know 1984 has come and gone without the dire predictions by George Orwell’s book by that name. But given the thirty years since then it does seem more like Orwell’s world now. So many of us seem to have a blasé attitude toward what we once viewed as sacrosanct rights. Of course much of that has to do with fear overriding our feelings of freedom. We fear terrorism more than cherish our “God-given” rights. Given the latest revelations from Mr. Snowdon’s document releases Big Brother is very much around us and into our daily lives.
Of course, this is not the first time that fear has trumped freedoms, especially the right to privacy, in this country. In fact we have a long history of that happening. The one that comes to mind first is the FBI during the 1960s. J. Edger had files on many of the people who questioned his authority including Martin Luther King and the Kennedy clan including the president himself.
And then their were all the sedition acts throughout our history starting very early on with the Alien and Sedition Acts signed into law by John Adams. That one basically said that anyone who wrote “malicious” things about the president or congress could be sent to jail for up to two years! Can you imagine the number of journalists who would be in our prison system today if that were still enforced?
One of my favorite presidents even signed one known as the Sedition Act of 1918 for “any statement criticizing the Government of the United States”. Another was the Smith Act of 1940. Like today most of these acts were implemented during times when fear was rampant.
Getting back to the quote above, Lincoln once again proves that his wisdom is for the ages. When we lose our constitutional freedoms it will not be from a terrorist but because we destroyed them ourselves.
I’m pretty sure that this post will end up before the eyes of someone in the NSA but given my concerns of an over bloated military I don’t imagine it is the first of my posts to go there. But remember my NSA friends I’m just an ordinary old shrinking retired guy who likes to question things that others seem to take for granted so don’t come knocking at me door.