Remain Calm, Etc: Whither Consistency?
Posted June 13, 2013on:
“Having, then, once introduced an element of inconsistency into his system, he was far too consistent not to be inconsistent consistently, and he lapsed ere long into an amiable indifferentism which to outward appearance differed but little from the indifferentism … Samuel Butler
Good Thursday, Widdershins. Do you find yourself utterly confused by the above-referenced quote from Butler? Me, too – but it’s absolutely appropriate considering this week’s uproar regarding privacy.
We discussed the issue of spying on the general public the other day when commenting on Pat’s most excellent post, and generally concluded that we found the entire process loathsome. I would wager that we were all upset about the Patriot Act as well, which greased the process along the road, and were all pretty outspoken about it at the time. The latest discoveries have brought about some pretty strange political bedfellows.
At the time that the Patriot Act passed the Senate, Russ, Feingold was the only “nay” vote. He warned us that we were on top of a pretty slippery slope. VP Richard Cheyney told all comers that no citizen who was going lawfully about their business would have to concern themselves with this. President Bush said that we should all go shopping. Those of us who expressed reservations about the Feds snooping around our emails and library cards were dubbed “unpatriotic”. The general mood was that we needed to be safe above all else – basically we were demoted to the lowest possible rung of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Enter Congress. Rand Paul is quite upset, but I expected that. He is, if nothing else, consistently libertarian in his outlook. That said, I just have to wonder if he ever considered that he might be aligned with Michael Moore and Bernie Sanders. I also wonder if Diane Feinstein and Lindsay Graham ever thought that they would stand shoulder-to-shoulder in defense of the principle. Actually, Sen. Feinstein was not as much defending the program as she was pointing out that this whole thing really didn’t get started up last Tuesday. Peter King wants to prosecute both the whistle-blower and Glenn Greenwald for his article, apparently oblivious to the fact that there really is no law that says that he cannot write and publish whatever he wishes. Heck, some may even think that the whole thing is covered by the First Amendment, or something like that. You know, one of the amendments cited by the Tea Party whenever they say something.
Joe Scarborough was most upset on his morning show. Here’s the money quote:
Scarborough continued, “It’s just like the AP story and the Fox story. This administration has been so much more aggressive, so much more indiscriminate and the net they have thrown out has been so much more widespread than what we have ever seen before that I think this goes well beyond the scope of what people envisioned when they passed the Patriot Act.
Seriously, Joe? Quite a few of us were indeed envisioning just that. If I remember correctly, just about every telecomm company had thrown their clients under the bus and actually broken federal law with their complicity. I also seemed to recall that Congress obligingly gave them broad retroactive immunity to shield them from suit by torqued-off customers. Further, if it was such a huge secret, how did you know exactly what the scope might be? I honestly cannot recall Scarborough questioning the authority of the Bush administration to “keep us safe”, usually without so much as a wave at the FISA court. Seems to me that the Bushies practiced totally warrantless wiretaps, and I just can’t for the life of me recall your full-throated indignation at that time.
Now for the punch line: isn’t is rich that Mitch McConnell, Lindsay Graham, Mike Enzi and Jeff Flake approve of snooping into all of your communications, but are horrified that anyone would even consider a (gasp!) background check for gun owners. Most of them are also deeply concerned that the Consumer Protection Agency might actually compile records about your credit and other such terribly private matters. See, they are concerned about our privacy, donchaknow? Never fear, gentle Senators – the ACLU has filed suit.
Is anyone else confused? This is an open thread.
15 Responses to "Remain Calm, Etc: Whither Consistency?"
Comments are closed.