We all want to be left alone. In the past we valued democracy, because it seemed the best path to a good life. We tolerated politicians, because they did not come around that often. The contract we had with them seemed to work well enough. This round seems different. This time, democratic institutions could continue to wane for several generations.
As individuals who assault women or children eventually must face true accusations, so the state eventually pays for what it does to the people and institutions who trust it to preserve and protect the republic and its constitution. The state cannot escape history’s judgment, or ours. It never does.
If we ask what happened, our minds dream up thought experiments to help us explain phenomena that appear inexplicable. If we dream up thought experiments, we start to read books like those by David Ray Griffin. By that point, you have transformed yourself into a respected conspiracy theorist.
Yet the big lie of 9/11, and the war in Iraq that followed, have a more immediate bearing: one not directly connected to generational conflicts, or left-right conflicts as we currently prosecute them. Big lies propagated to justify futile wars bring alienation – resentments far more unbridgeable, and grievances far more irreconcilable. Ultimately, these public deceptions will bring our republic to the ground.
Someday people who consider Jones and his opinions vile will not be on top. Then their freedom to write and speak and publish what they think will feel threatened, and they will feel marginalized. What will they say then?
Nothing lasts to infinity. Every building has to come down sometime. It’s economical to plan for end-of-life when you build it, especially when you’re dealing with a reinforced steel frame.
To find the truth, test falsifiable hypotheses against all evidence you have available. That process leads you to new questions, new hypotheses, new tests, new evidence, and new conclusions. This powerful process moves you away from ignorance and toward the truth incrementally.
If you perceive the state’s activities as patriotic efforts to protect all of us, then Snowden is indeed a traitor. If you see state secrecy – and everything the state does behind that veil – as self-serving efforts to preserve both autonomy and influence, then Snowden and others who drop the veil are heroes. I don’t see any other way to look at it.
Sunstein made a proposal – to infiltrate groups distrustful and suspicious of government’s motives – with no apparent cognition that infiltration is a go-to method for totalitarian or paranoid leaders who want to nip opposition before it grows.
When you lie to the government, they put you in jail. When the government lies to you, you don’t know …
The war launched on September 11, 2001, was designed to inaugurate a new American century. It certainly did that, but not in the way America’s leaders expected.
One helpful reminder is that nothing Trump has threatened to do, however horrible or outlandish, comes close to the damage Bush and Cheney did when they started the Iraq war.