See what you will…
Posted January 28, 2014on:
Good morning Widdershin friends. I hope you are not caught in the throes of the latest errant polar vortex, but if you are, I hope you are nice and toasty.
Case in point: Edward Snowden. Snowden has been called everything from a traitor to a whistleblower to “Person of the Year.” Frankly, I’m not set in stone on which moniker best suits him.
One thing I do know is that Edward Snowden is like a motor scooter. Just like a scooter not being your “go-to” mode of transportation, if you have nothing else, it will do in a pinch. Snowden seems to be what everyone wants him to be. His evilness or sainthood is in the eye of the beholder. At the moment, depending upon the political persuasion, he seems to be quite handy and a multi-purpose vehicle.
There were those who thought he should have edged out Pope Francis as “Person of the Year,” but others who see him as the greatest traitor in the history of the country. On the last count, if you measure it by sheer volume, he definitely has no competition.
Clemency for Snowden is going to be a big topic in the coming weeks and months. Unbelievably, Snowden has accomplished something remarkable — his disclosures have forged an alliance among the ACLU, Progressives, and now the RNC. At their most recent meeting, the RNC condemned the NSA in huge turnaround from just a few years ago. As great as the NSA was under Bush/Cheney it has become tainted and oppressive under Obama — who would have “thunk it”?
Snowden finds his main support among the Ron Paul’ites of pseudo-Libertarianism. You know that brand of Libertarianism — a mutt of a philosophy conceived in west Texas among the tumbleweeds and abandoned oil rigs and about as productive.
There’s little question there may have been excesses in creating enormous information trawling apparatuses after September 11th. From a policy standpoint such overreaching is understandable. The question then presents itself from a political standpoint, how do we extricate ourselves from the constructed technological infrastructure without opening the politician from criticism in the event of an attack?
There’s also little question about Edward Snowden loving the attention. It seems as though each day there’s another “Parade of Constitutional Horribles” with him as the drum major. The newest accusation is industrial espionage and an assassination threat.
My feelings on Edward Snowden are decidedly mixed. I definitely don’t consider him a hero. I’m not even sure I consider him a whistleblower. I don’t think he deserves clemency. I do think he has started a needed conversation about the overreaching of the national security agencies and that is a good thing.
At the most granular level, this whole debate is about “what is the good of the many?” Is it national security or is it protection against undue governmental intrusion? I would imagine it falls somewhere in between those two poles, but it really depends upon how the question is framed.
Two things I know for sure. I don’t feel safe allowing a 29-year old self-aggrandizing hacker make national security decisions on what secrets should be released. By the same token, I don’t for a moment imagine a trillion-dollar national security complex putting itself on a diet.
What do you think?
This is an open thread.
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