Shafer offers background on leaks, how they’re used for political advantage, how they’re used by the opposition party. He finishes with:
‘We owe Snowden a debt of gratitude for restarting—or should I say starting?—the public debate over the government’s secret but “legal” intrusions into our privacy. His leaks, filtered through the Guardian and the Washington Post, give us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to place limits on our power-mad government.’
I’m not sure about the ‘power-mad government,’ but I’ve noticed that there is an individual liberty coalescence around the issue, which naturally appeals to libertarians, civil libertarians, the anarcho-left, the ACLU, some liberals, and some libertarian conservatives. There is stronger resistance from the Obama Left (their guy is in power, possibly allowing ideological/political abuse of the DOJ and IRS) and traditional Right (placing more trust in the hierarchy and authority necessary to serve the national interest and common defense).
I’m interested in knowing just what kind of incentives we’ve been creating since the Patriot Act (for the executive branch especially), and where Big Data and Big Government are meeting. I don’t entirely trust Snowden’s motives (likely more responsible than the anarcho-Left, recklessly ideal Wikileaks Assange and rogue Bradley Manning, but perhaps not as much as some previous leakers).
More On The FIRE here. (Foundation For Individual Rights In Education).
Barry, from the video:
‘I just don’t know what has happened to the universities, I mean it’s certainly not an original observation on my part. The least free area of thought left in the United States seems to be the universities. The one place where you’d think free thought and free speech and conflict of ideas would be most encouraged has somehow become the most restricted, and constricted and intellectually constipated area of American life.’
Arguments I’ve heard claim that 60’s idealism, the heated confrontations between civil rights activists of all stripes and professors, and the rise of the New Left on our college campuses couldn’t long hold-up a model of self-sustaining liberty without taking serious liberties as well.
Add to that the rather cloistered, rarefied air on campus and unique economic circumstances, and it’s easy to see how some interests have holed up there.
Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’m reminded of a fundamental change I think happened during the Boomer generation, here represented by Tom Wolfe, referring to Californians in this piece by Michael Anton:
‘Noyce was like a great many bright young men and women from Dissenting Protestant families in the Middle West after the Second World War. They had been raised as Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, United Brethren, whatever. They had been led through the Church door and prodded toward religion, but it had never come alive for them. Sundays made their skulls feel like dried-out husks. So they slowly walked away from the church and silently, without so much as a growl of rebellion, congratulated themselves on their independence of mind and headed into another way of life. Only decades later, in most cases, would they discover how, absentmindedly, inexplicably, they had brought the old ways along for the journey nonetheless. It was as if . . . through some extraordinary mistake . . . they had been sewn into the linings of their coats!
The old ways stay with you, but they are no longer necessarily the lining of the public square, only the linings in coats of those passing through the square. That seems to have left the door open for other ideas:
Addition: Of course the progressive tradition goes way back, and a return to organized religion is a non-starter for many people (Charles Murray made the argument much better), but it seems a little naive of Barry to think many of the drivers of change in our universities during the 60’s have ever been respectful of liberty. Now they’re just more deeply institutionalized since then, which is part of the Boomer legacy.