It has been a year since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA.
I appreciate what Snowden did. His decision to leak the stolen documents has done the conservative movement an enormous favor. It has blown to smithereens the greatest single myth of conservatism: “If the American people knew about this, there would be an uprising.” No, there wouldn’t.
Here is a variation: “If the voters knew what is being done to them by the Conspiracy, they would throw out the conspirators at the next election.” No, they wouldn’t.
I have heard variants of these arguments for 50 years. Conservatives don’t learn. They think that by exposing the Bad Guys, they will defeat the Bad Guys. They’re wrong.
Snowden has proven, as no one in my era has better proved, that exposure of the Bad Guys in government has no negative effect on them.
If exposure does come, and the public does nothing to thwart the hidden Bad Guys, then the Bad Guys no longer have to worry about further exposure. It will be old news. At this point, they can do even more to secure their position of power. The pressure blows over. There may be a time of bad publicity, but this does not change anything fundamental.
Before Snowden, the best examples were the big bankers, who were bailed out a taxpayers’ expense in 2009. They got richer. The public knows. The public groused a little. Did this hurt the bankers? No. They got bonuses for their failures. Congress bailed out the big banks, and there were no negative public sanctions on either Congress or the big banks. It’s business as usual.
The voters know. The voters have done nothing. It’s old news.
But Snowden’s revelations have gone far beyond the big bank bailouts of 2009. They have thrown light on a power grab by the government that is perpetual. It was generally hidden. James Bamford’s book, The Puzzle Palace (1983), did good work. It had no negative effect on the NSA. But he did not have incontrovertible evidence. Snowden did, and he released it. He got worldwide publicity.
The NSA is more powerful than ever. From now on, any further exposure is old news. No harm, no foul.
THE NSA NOW HAS CARTE BLANCHE
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