Preemptive Offenses

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Knowledge Is Power

The above aphorism, which Queen Cersei seemingly refuted by demonstration in season 2 of the HBO production of A Game of Thrones, nevertheless contains a large kernel of truth. In any contest between opposing forces, all other things being equal, the one with better knowledge -- of the terrain; of the enemy's motives; of the enemy's forces and disposition -- will prevail nearly all the time.

Charles Hurt of The Washington Times gives us a soliloquy on that today:

Rage over the waste and injustice of agents sent by the federal government to bang on doors of law-abiding citizens to ask probing, creepy questions is normally something that bubbles up only every 10 years. But ever since the federal government became a cancerous leviathan, the outrage is now an annual occurrence....

Like all Orwellian schemes, this diabolical obsession comes with a harmless-sounding name — American Community Survey — as if it is nothing more than the local Girl Scout troop stopping by to offer you little boxes of sweet, crunchy goodness — all for a good cause!

The feds want to know exactly who you are and the color of your skin....

And they want to know your "relationships" with all the people in your house. And they want to know of any "disabilities" and — ominously — what time you leave for and return from work everyday.

These creepos even want to know how many bedrooms you have and all about your plumbing and even your "fertility."...

Forget data addiction, these people should be forced to register as sex offenders.

And, of course, they want to know exactly how much you are making, including wages, tips and even that loan you got from your grandmother. Why?

After staging a rare, genuine filibuster on the Senate floor, Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, last week introduced Senate Bill 530 to remove the criminal penalty for those who refuse to take part in this annual federal creep-fest that is not even required by the Constitution. You can add this legislation to the growing nationwide mantra of "Stand with Rand."

He who thinks of the federal government as an essentially benevolent, beneficent entity will probably approve of all that data gathering. "It will help them to make policy," he'll say. But he who sees the federal government as the enemy -- an entity controlled by men whose raison d'etre is the acquisition of ever more power over us -- will disapprove to the brink of violence. He too would say "It will help them to make policy," but in a quite different tone of voice.

A government that knows, even institutionally, who and what you are, where you are, what your obligations are, what your resources are, and so forth has everything it needs to reduce you to a pawn, an item to be manipulated for the State's own purposes. In the fullness of time, it will do so -- no matter how ardently its masters protest their good intentions.

Skeptics of government have argued for many decades that every capability allowed in the hands of the State is eventually put to use. Think of an exception if you can; I can't.

Government snooping, greatly facilitated by the unprecedented power of modern digital technology, threatens to reduce the whole population of the United States to pawns. Should the State ever decide that it could profit by your removal from its chessboard, it will know where to find you, and what it needs to break your resistance.

Think about it.

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