As a libertarian I have often tried to find common ground between the liberty movement and the two big parties. Theoretically a libertarian should be able to agree with either the Democrats or Republicans half of the time. Theoretically. In reality the liberty movement has very little in common with what either party has become. The current PRISM scandal is perfect example of this. In particular the demonetization of the whistle-blower Edward Snowden shows neither party is about civil rights.
First lets look at the Democrat Party. In theory this party stands for civil rights. However, in reality libertarians such as myself have given up on the Democrat Party, any semblance of social rights has been mutated by the progressive movement. Apparently part of the progressive movement is the belief that government is never wrong. During this PRISM scandal Democrat leaders have reinforced beliefs that the progressives big governments agenda is more important than the civil and privacy rights of citizens. To this end Democrat leaders have been attacking Mr. Snowden as a traitor. Instead of talking with US citizens about the actual issue of spying on their own people, Democrat politicians have decided to ‘shoot the messenger’. Here are a couple samples from Democrat politicians:
“I don’t look at this as being a whistleblower. I think it’s an act of treason,” the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee told reporters.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
I’ve seen many mirror Senator Feinstein’s charge of treason. Treason is such an easy word to throw around; especially when you are trying to draw attention away from why PRISM exists and if it should go away.
“He should be extradited, arrested and prosecuted,” Wasserman Schultz told the local CBS affiliate. “I mean that’s exactly what should happen to him, because he violated the law, he violated America’s trust, he jeopardized millions of Americans.”
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
Oh really Debbie? Mr Swanson “violated America’s trust”? I think America’s trust was violated by the very fact the government was found spying on everyone!
But what about the Big Guy? Does the top Democrat, President Obama, have anything to say on this issue? So far there have only been chirping crickets from the White House about this issue. Ironically Snowden admitted he was thinking about whistle-blowing back in 2008. However when Obama won the Presidency it left Snowden hoping the new Democrat President would stick by his campaign promise of transparency. Just think, if President Obama had stuck with his campaign promise this whole scandal may never have happened.
OK, that covers the worthlessness of top Democrat politicians on this issue, but how about Republican leadership? The red side of the aisle has been no better. For many years the Republican party has been more than happy to trade civil and privacy rights for ‘security’ in the ‘war on terror’. This scandal is no exception. Here is what top Republican leaders are saying:
“He’s a traitor,” he said. “The president outlined last week that these were important national security programs to help keep Americans safe and give us tools to fight the terrorist threat that we face.”
Representative Boehner (R-OH)
Well, I guess this shows Boehner can cross the aisle and embrace Obama. It also shows Boehner has little or no respect for the very Americans he is trying to keep safe.
“If Edward Snowden did in fact leak the NSA data as he claims, the United States government must prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law and begin extradition proceedings at the earliest date,”
Representative Peter King (R-NY) (chairman of the House homeland security subcommittee)
Again, here we have a DC politician wanting to attack Snowden with the “fullest extent of the law”. Yet King avoids talking about whether the government has the constitutional or moral right to spy on Americans.
But there is some hope from the liberty wing of the Republican Party.
“I think it’s a complicated issue,” Paul said on “CBS This Morning.” “I think when people choose civil disobedience, they’re at their wit’s end and think there’s no other choice. We’ve had civil disobedience in our history, sometimes they turn out that we laud them and other times we say they went too far. I personally am trying to work within the law and change the law, I think that’s what my job is and I think we can challenge the president on this, particularly his hypocrisy. I’m reserving judgment on Mr. Snowden, but I think he felt like something like this was so wrong — millions of phone records being looked at.”
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
Since Rand is likely to run for President in 2016 he gave a very careful answer. However notice he acknowledged Snowden’s whistle-blowing as an act of civil disobedience, and NOT as treason. But then he turns his statement back to the important issue: millions of phone records being looked at! Snowden is not the issue here, and Rand knows it. The issue is whether the government should be doing this level of spying upon Americans.
If not for the liberty wing of the Republican party there would be no hope in DC for civil/privacy rights. The leadership for both the Democrats and Republicans have shown nothing but disdain for civil liberties and demonize any that dare expose government spying upon citizens. I guess if nothing else it shows there is more bi-partisan support in DC than usually reported; sadly this bi-partisanship comes at the cost of liberty.
PS. The media has made demonizing Snowden a primary focus. But the worthlessness of mainstream media is a different issue.