2012-08-09

Reasons For Optimism

Judge Andrew Napolitano published a Fox News editorial today describing the extent to which the US government has been spying on US citizens. It is a good, short read that offers more opinion than news. There are no big revelations there, mostly just an eloquent defense of essential liberty.

He concludes:
The answer to these questions goes to the nature of human freedom and personal courage. Freedom lies in our hearts, but to survive, it must do more than just lie there. Its essence is the exercise of unfettered choices, and the unfettered choices we make address our perpetual yearning for truth. This is a natural process that -- just like the muscles in our bodies -- will atrophy if unused.

So, when the government scares us into the disuse of freedom, we have only ourselves to blame when Big Brother comes calling. And when he does come, on his face there will be no smile.
This is merely the most recent in a long (seemingly unending) series of news items providing an epitaph to American freedom. Drones, preemptive attacks, spying, groping, tazing, torture and abuse of the police power have become the new normal. We hardly even balk at it anymore.

It is a serious problem that is in great need of being corrected immediately. It is enough to lose sleep over, and more than enough to be devastating to those of us who love liberty.

Unlike many, however, I am optimistic about the future. I would like to explain why I am.

If you have been following the news coverage of the 2012 US Presidential Campaign, you notice that this year, more than any other year that any of us can remember, things seem almost surreal. Obama blames Romney for a woman's death and promotes the idea that Romney is going to raise taxes. That's right, the Democrat accuses the Republican of raising taxes. And the Republican? The defender of low taxes and limited government instituted socialized health care in the State of Massachusetts when he was governor.

You can't make this stuff up. The claims made by both sides are so bafflingly confused that it is apparent to everyone - including you, the reader - that game is up. We all see through it now. The confused campaign messages prove it.

The old style of politics no longer works in today's world. There is too much technology out there. The truth is available to anyone with a smart phone or a home computer. Scientific facts are no longer obscured; people can get them instantaneously. In short, it is far more difficult to pull the wool over the eyes of the public in the year 2012 than it has been in any previous year.

In 2003, we were fooled into believing that Iraq "might" have had WMDs. In 2012, we can look at satellite images ourselves in a matter of seconds. In 1994, HillaryCare couldn't be debated because most people didn't understand government economic analysis. In 2012, the raw data is available to anyone with spreadsheet software (which is free).

Information is so readily available that would-be dictators and oppressors can no longer rely on public ignorance to perpetrate their evils.

In many ways, we live in a much less free society than our grandparents did. Government forces can and do conspire to kill their own citizens (see: Syria) when the threat of uprising is a real one. But the legitimacy of politics is thoroughly bankrupt. The world now knows too much.

It was once possible to fool all of the people some of the time. Today, it is impossible to fool all of the people, ever. The truth is just too prevalent.

That is why I am optimistic about the future of liberty.