Thursday, February 09, 2006

Defending Domestic Wiretapping

You won't catch me ever doing it, but longtime "Libertarian", Thomas Sowell, recently wrote a column defending the undefendable, Bush's domestic spying. Sowell justifies it basically by saying that it's okay because most Americans won't be spied on. It makes me sick when otherwise intelligent people ruin their credibility like this.

Today on LRC, William L. Anderson reminds us why it's not okay for the government to spy on their own people.

We are opposed to such government wiretaps on the basis of principle, just as we oppose wrongful killings. Yet, Sowell defends the wiretapping, at least in part, by claiming that its harmful effects are innocuous, but that its good effects overwhelm any negative ones.

One wishes that the FBI or other government authorities would be able to pick out only guilty people when they "investigate" potential terrorists or other criminals. However, we know all too well that the government’s track record is one in which the innocent are swept up with the guilty. Furthermore, we have found that the government finds it much easier to go after innocent people, since they are less likely to resist or have the resources to resist government attacks.

The ideas behind the U.S. Constitution – whatever its flaws – were based upon the idea that people in authority were prone to abuse their power, so those people had to be held in check. I do not think that the framers had in mind Sowell’s probabilities – that government abuses would only harm a tiny fraction of individuals, which meant that such abuses were justified.

In the end, we are left with the same issues – and the same answers. Government is based on coercion and abuse and anyone who thinks otherwise does not understand the real nature of the state.


Post a Comment

<< Home