I’ve been told to “Wake the fuck up” recently because I posted a petition supporting Edward Snowden on my facebook page. I was also told that Edward Snowden committed treason, and for this he should be brought to justice. I was also told that this is the world we live in now and if we have nothing to hide it shouldn’t matter who reads our emails etc….
“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
I would like to backtrack just a bit and ask how many of us reading this blog right now would give up our well-paid jobs, our lovely cushy situation and possibly our lives to let lots of people we don’t even know that someone is eavesdropping on them?
“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for.” –Thomas Jefferson
When is the last time any of us heard of a major political figure, CEO, or overpaid banker give up their life because they felt their moral compass was all wrong, and the people they were working for were saying one thing and completely doing the other?
“Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” – George Washington
If you heard of someone giving up their job, freedom, and life on a Pacific Island in paradise for these reasons, would your reaction be to prosecute him or her because the people they snitched on made them sign a piece of paper that said they wouldn’t tell on them?
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.” – Claire Wolfe
I am a bit bemused at the vehemence people are ready to throw at Edward Snowden. If someone knocked on your door and told you that you were being spied on by your neighbor and they were collecting and recording all of your correspondence with your friends and family I’m not sure the same reaction would prevail. I know I am simplifying things, but in reality this is what is happening. Cleverly the people lying and doing the spying have tricked much of the public into taking the side of the illegal voyeur.
“How about a chip for everyone, either in their right hand or in their forehead, to make sure no one gets away with anything? Problem is … while ‘they’ are keeping track of us, who will be keeping track of ‘them’?” – Cheryl DeJesus
I have decided to take a different path in life, and yes maybe I am sleeping in a beautiful dream. Life doesn’t look scary from where I sit and although bad things do happen, I believe they are still the minority. Fear is a powerful tool.
“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” – James Madison (1751-1836) 4th U.S. President
“As government expands, liberty contracts.” – Ronald W. Reagan, 40th U.S. President
It would seem from the interspersed quotes throughout this blog that questioning government is nothing new. As a matter of fact it looks to be what freedom is all about.
“It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.” – Thomas Paine (1737-1809), American Revolutionary and Author
I thought Edward Snowden would be immediately seen as a hero when I first heard the news. If you are a complete legalist, yes I guess he broke the law, but we need to not lose track of who is writing then enforcing those laws. It’s like the neighbor up the street reassuring you its okay that he’s reading your emails because its for your own safety.
“Control’s real name is bondage. The logical conclusion would be, if giving up some rights produces a better society, then by giving up all our rights we could produce a perfect society.” – Citizens’ Rule Book
“Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship.” – Harry S. Truman (1884-1972)
When we are all willing to give up so much to be ‘protected’ by our government it truly is a slippery slope. We lose free press, and already with our electronic age it is getting more and more difficult to keep sources secret. Are we really willing to get all of our news from the “Official” sources?
“Orwell is starting to look like an optimist!” – Anonymous
“The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates.” – Tacitus
If our world is indeed in such a state that people do feel it is necessary to give up so much to feel safe, then something is horribly wrong. Maybe we should start trying another way.
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson
It can’t be helping matters by continuously killing people on foreign soil to protect American citizens and interests. If your friend was punching people in the nose to keep them away from his new bicycle because his old one was stolen empathy for his situation would quickly fade. Violence and force simply don’t work in trying to bring people over to your side.
“(Obama)is a brilliant, charismatic black brother. He’s just too tied to Wall Street, and at this point (referring to killer drone use) he is a war criminal.” – Cornel West (2013) American Academic and Campaigner. Helped Obama get elected in 2008.
“An Avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” – Thomas Paine (1795)
It isn’t necessarily the world everyone lives in now. It is just the world some are seeming to nurture. For reasons I don’t understand society seems to respect companies (with government compliance) who force their will on others, and turn a blind eye to the devastation they can cause elsewhere. Even when there is damage done close to home and it is witnessed close up society at large is still willing to stand behind the capitalist way of life, to what end I am not sure. Capitalism should not be confused with free-market trade nor used as a synonym for democracy, for it is neither.
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Goethe
“If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too.” –Somerset Maugham
Life has certainly turned around. In America today our founding fathers would not have been tolerated by those who are now in power in the country they inherited from those same men. What a crazy situation that is!
“It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.” – Charles A. Beard
“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” – Voltaire
I have heard too many times that if you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t worry, but what about when we have no way of knowing when we are breaking the law? If the mobile phones you are carrying in your pocket right now has been cracked you may be liable to pay a $250,000 fine or spend time in prison. How many other laws secretly criminalise us; gathering water from rooftops, trading or saving agricultural seeds, treating our illnesses alternatively, speaking out about corrupt government policies……………..
“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws.” – Ayn Rand
“The war for freedom will never really be won because the price of our freedom is constant vigilance over ourselves and over our Government.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
We’re all familiar with the next quote, but how willing we are to accept it as part and parcel of modern life is the unnerving part. Then we sit down and let that absolute corrupted power do as it wishes and when someone exposes it we ironically support the powerful because someone broke a law.
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton (1887)
“The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual crime.” – Max Stirner
“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” – Edmund Burke
A bit of healthy protest keeps us all on our toes. Maybe we should not just accept things as they are. We have watched over the past five years banks getting bailed out by the billions (while the working man suffers), criminal activity being carried out and condoned because it keeps us supposedly safe from terrorism (as we give away our civil liberties), but we never question why things aren’t seeming to get better.
“Men rise from one ambition to another – first they seek to secure themselves from attack, and then they attack others.” – Machiavelli
These quotes throughout the ages and across cultural lines show that the problems we face are nothing new. We are yet again at another crossroad in time. How we deal with all this new information and what we let get done to Edward Snowden will send a strong message to those in charge and steer our course down a certain path into the future.
“[Political] offices are as acceptable here as elsewhere, and whenever a man cast a longing eye on them, a rottenness begins in his conduct.” – Thomas Jefferson (1799)
I am still going to stand behind what Snowden did because the lies he exposed were far more important than the law he broke in my book. I am not saying I am correct nor was he. I just think that this point in history will certainly be one we look back on in ten years and hopefully can collectively say we dealt with it well.
“The spirit of truth and the spirit of freedom – they are the pillars of society.” – Henrik Ibsen (1877)
Take a long look at all of our lives. Are we living in that free world we hold so near and dear. Are we ruled by big business? Are we letting others have too much say in our lives? Is being indebted to the machine of progress really the way forward?
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”–E.F.Schumacher
I say to all those who wrote me emails telling me to wake up and really see the world we live in that my alarm clock went off a long time ago. I am awake, fully involved in my life, and although not financially wealthy am not enslaved enough to any system to defend the rights of a government to say one thing and do another nor to cast its will unknowingly on the people of the world. When I am willing to do that I will pinch myself to make certain I am not sleepwalking.
“I am unable to accept the idea that I should be an obedient subject of a gang of corrupt, unprincipled thugs who pontificate about freedom while enslaving the population.” – John Pugsley, JPJ Nov 96
The snooze button has been tapped way too many times. The alarm is ringing loudly and clearly. It is no longer the dark hours of the morning when we don’t want to get up, the sun has risen, the sheets around us smell of sleep, we have grumbled and fumbled too long, the covers have been thrown off the bed, our feet feel the coolness of the room around us, the aroma of coffee assaults our nostrils. Time to get up!
“Resistance to tyranny is service to God.” – James Madison
Let’s try to look and listen in a different way before the media spins Edward Snowden into a demon and the administration into unsung heroes preserving our freedom. Click the alarm below just one more time and really read and listen.