Edward Snowden vs. Fascism

Truth is the recognition of reality; reason, man’s only means of knowledge, is his only standard of truth.” — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old ex-CIA technician who has come forward to self-identify as the source for news reports about massive government monitoring of U.S. communications under the Bush administration’s Patriot Act, warns his fellow Americans that the state is erecting what he calls an “architecture of oppression” which will lead to turnkey operations serving a government based on tyranny. Based on what I’ve seen in this video interview and based on what is known, and despite the parts of his statements and viewpoints with which I disagree or find troubling, I trust Edward Snowden more than I trust the United States government.

As I wrote a few weeks ago in a post titled “New Left America,” the state, mired in corruption amid several recently disclosed scandals, is a vast, left-wing conspiracy that’s taking the country toward dictatorship. I must add, however, that the left-wing distinction is rapidly becoming a point of particular origin, as conservatives are rushing to defend the Obama administration’s mass surveillance of U.S. communications. Charles Krauthammer approves of government monitoring. So does Rep. Mike Rogers, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Sen. Lindsey Graham and others who also support other Bush-made, Obama-enforced government programs, such as the TSA, Homeland Security and selfless military missions of mercy in Iraq and Afghanistan, none of which should exist and all of which ought to be immediately abolished. The fascist state, and that is what America is becoming, is rising based on the false premise – supported by those on the left and right alike – that we must have government control of individual rights in order to protect lives and defend the republic – or, worse in the case of the leftists, to serve the collective and, worst of all, in the case of conservatives, to serve God, tradition and family.

Mixed, leftist or conservative, they’re all wrong. Liberty is not contingent upon security – a proper national defense neither requires nor necessitates surrendering liberty – and individual rights are inalienable, as America’s founders knew and wrote when they created the United States of America. Today, we face a crucial, urgent battle between liberty and slavery. Whatever flaws in his position and in his philosophy, Edward Snowden speaks softly and strongly and righteously about what he says he knows and he is an articulate, brave spokesman for truth in this context and we have every reason to take him at his word and no reason to take the U.S. government’s word. That makes Mr. Snowden, who by all appearances is young, honest, intelligent, independent, principled and outspoken, more American than the American state.

As he put it in his interview with The Guardian of Britain – a country which once ruled Americans until we broke away, declared our independence and waged an American revolution, fighting and winning a war, and creating a free republic: “I don’t see myself as a hero because what I’m doing is self-interested: I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.” Mr. Snowden is wrong that selfishness is not compatible with heroism – selfishness is, as Ayn Rand wrote, the highest virtue – but he’s right to blow the whistle on America’s emerging totalitarianism and he deserves every true American’s 100 percent support. Knowing that truth is the recognition of reality, as Rand wrote in Atlas Shrugged, he’s earned mine.

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  • DogmaelJones1

    Amend to everything you say here, Scott. Your analysis provides a context that is not being offered by most observers. Yes, it is a danger sign that both the right and left are rationalizing the NSA’s (together with the IRS’s) depredations in the name of “national security.” They forget that what is “legal” and “tolerated” now by the government may not be in the future. It’s unfortunate that Snowden has fled Hong Kong for Moscow and Vlaidmir Putin’s fascist regime.

  • Scott Holleran

    Thank you. If in fact he has taken refuge there, I’d certainly rather he head for a free country instead, not that our rapidly deteriorating nation would permit that to happen and such ominous spread of fascism in America – not where Snowden resides to escape his own government – is the point.

  • DogmaelJones1

    The question is now: Where are the “free countries” that anyone can flee to without risking extradition? I can’t name a one. They’re either going fascist (or statist) or are succumbing to Islam.

  • Scott Holleran

    I agree, the outlook is bleak. The emphasis should be on what Snowden dared to disclose, and what it means for the last free country on earth.

  • enaxora

    You state the context of this situation very well: “Liberty is not contingent upon security – a proper national defense neither requires nor necessitates surrendering liberty.”

    And although I don’t agree with all of Snowden’s premises about other countries, his main action in exposing the NSA’s tracking of all Americans, without cause, is heroic. Yes it’s self-interested as he says he doesn’t care to live in such a society, but that is still heroic, as his life is now at risk. The price he’s paying for devotion to maintaining a free society is extremely high. To have done this because he doesn’t care about freedom would’ve been irrational and absurd, and wouldn’t have happened. As there are many NSA employees who knew of this practice and who said nothing.

    The Founding Fathers would’ve been behind Snowden 100%. It was over unreasonable search and seizure (general warrants being the rule in the colonies) which James Otis petitioned the court to stop, that was one of the sparks to the revolution. John Adams, 26 yrs old, was in the courtroom when James Otis petitioned the court. The Founders knew a general license to harass, watch, intimidate citizens violates individual rights.

    Snowden has my gratitude and admiration.

  • DogmaelJones1

    “As there are many NSA employees who knew of this practice and who said nothing.” Or who are afraid to say anything, lest they be fired or experience an inconvenient targeting or other unpleasant event.

  • stone7

    What will we do when you can print out a deadly
    virus on a 3D printer?

    To not watch would be irresponsible.

    You have to grow up at some point, and move your
    consciousness out of your ideal little village.

    It not a tough world, it’s much worse than that.

    There are muslims right now dreaming of poisoning the water,
    and much worse.

  • Scott Holleran

    and let me guess. You’re counting on the Obama administration and Congress to stop them – at the expense of our individual rights – right? Talk about a fantasy.

  • stone7

    Look, this is a tough issue. And let me say that I respect you and your opinion.

    But this is actually a tough issue, and tough cookies ensue.

    Do you trust the air force with nuclear weapons? There is probably a 28 year old out there right now flying a nuke around. It’s tough cookies!

    Do you trust the police? They can listen to your calls if they expect you are a criminal.

    This is tough. And no I don’t trust obamo. But what can you do?

    There is a price to pay for technology, and this is it.

    You have to grow up, and grow a pair. It’s tough, I know it.

    This snowden was put in a position of trust, and he apparently betrayed it. And the answer is to punish him, and punish him severely. He was a policeman who overstepped his charge. He needs to be hammered, and hammered hard.

    Just try to imagine if you were in charge of national defense.

  • DogmaelJones1

    Stone7: Had the U.S. a rational foreign policy – and I’m including a policy that would hale back to the 1950′s – these national security issues would never have cropped up. But the fact is that our irrational foreign policies have allowed the U.S. to paint itself into a corner. I must laugh darkly whenever I hear or read that the U.S. is a “free country,” because there is very little freedom left in it. What freedoms we have left exist only by default. Our policies enabled the Soviet Union to exist for decades, from the 1930′s onward. Had we let the Germans overrun Russia during WWII, there would have been no “Cold War” that required the creation of a vast intelligence network to combat its espionage and incursions and invasions since the end of that war, because without our unpaid-for assistance, the USSR would have collapsed. What “data mining” operations it would have pursued would have targeted known enemies of this country, and not “required” the search and seizure of Americans’ personal correspondence and activities on the chance that terrorists and terrorist plots might be detected and foiled. (And this data mining failed to red-flag the Boston Marathon bombers, even with Russia’s advice that the one Tsarnaev brother was a “person of interest”). So, as Mr. Holleran points out, should we really trust the government, and especially the Obama administration, to exercise restraint and not use the mined data for its own sinister purposes? As he notes, trusting the government and Obama to do that is sheer fantasy. The Soviets are gone, but now we are faced with Islam, and our government is now white-washing Islam with the same fervor it white-washed the Soviet Union in the 1930′s and during WWII. Frankly, how we, who are concerned about our freedom, can extract ourselves from our authoritarian conundrum taxes my imagination.

  • IMfrederick

    Excellent article Scott. I appreciate your clear analysis of the situation; I agree with you.

  • stone7

    US Foreign policy is only as rational as are its citizens, how can it be any more perfect?

    And one thing is certain regarding the so called soviets. Each day of their existence, from World War Two onward, they knew who was responsible for their very being.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s lend lease or a bag of food, we own them, and they know it, even if we don’t.

    It’s a tough world!

  • Scott Holleran

    Thank you, Frederick.

  • Mark Coppock

    Unfortunately, he’s being played by a master spy in Putin. The offer of asylum based on no longer leaking the secrets of our “American partners” is so transparently bogus that only the Obamas of the world could mistake it–Putin would like nothing more than to keep to himself whatever information Snowden hasn’t yet disclosed. That would turn Snowden from a whistleblower to an actual, treasonous spy. In short, Russia wouldn’t be “refuge’ for Snowden, it would be an interrogation room.

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