In a scathing editorial published late in the afternoon on Thursday, the New York Times editorial board said, “Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act … was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.”
But by 9 p.m. the same day, the editorial had been updated to say, “The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue,” a much softer tone than previously published.
Interesting, isn’t it?
It’s said that dictatorship comes in stages. It’s not inevitable, unless the victims of the potential dictatorship ignore the incremental steps leading to its imposition.
We’ll never know what went on behind the scenes at the New York Times. The publication is essentially a mouthpiece for the Obama Administration, whose policies it wholeheartedly supports. Maybe one of its higher up editors didn’t like the highly critical language initially used against his or her political idol.
Or, we can speculate that something happened behind the scenes between the government and the newspaper. I am no conspiracy theorist. But it’s rational and fact-based to speculate that such a thing could happen. As the New York Times itself has reported, the Obama Administration has been involved in IRS singling out of Tea Party organizations; seizure of AP and Fox News reporters’ records; and now, in the latest revelation, reports that the National Security Agency has been gathering phone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top-secret court order issued in April.
Given an administration involved in these other kinds of activities, is it an irrational or paranoid stretch to think that even the New York Times editorial board is subject to intimidation by the Obama regime?
It’s not a dictatorship yet. America still has a lot going for it, at least in the area of its last protected individual freedom, i.e. freedom of the press. However, if what the media states is subject to any—even unspoken—intimidation by the federal government, then you had better believe that freedom itself is already gone.
Most people make the mistake of thinking, “We still have elections and we still have separation of powers in the government. It’s not a dictatorship, and it won’t ever be so long as we have those things.”
But governments consist of human beings. And human beings—whatever the context, whether it’s a government/society or a family or other personal relationship—tend to be subtle in their encroachments. A manipulative or controlling family member, in most cases, starts to garner control not through brutal force, but through efforts to “help” such as paying your bills, bailing you out of your troubles, and then later turning around and saying, in effect, “You owe me.”
That’s what the government has been doing to its citizens for decades, never more blatantly and consistently than under Obama’s government. It’s done with the majority’s full consent.
This makes it all the more disturbing, but it doesn’t make it all right. The pack has no right to eliminate the rights of any one member of the pack, no matter how compelling the force of the pack, to some, may seem.
James Madison said it best, all those years ago: “What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”
Most Americans go about their business assuming that the government is special; it’s different. People acting in the private sector, on their own interests, are the dangerous ones, according to this mindset. Interestingly, the people who hold this mindset are quite content acting on their own interests, privately and without intrusion. It’s the idea of someone else doing so that troubles them. This is the attitude that dictators in waiting seek to exploit. Whether Obama sees himself as a dictator in waiting is not known. What is known is that his actions, as the evidence pours out almost daily, show that he cares little for the interests and rights of individuals, as much as he might love the concept of “rights for all.”
The New York Times rails against the Obama administration for wielding “executive power” without restraint. But the same newspaper has stated the federal government may do whatever it wants to serve the alleged collective interest—subsidize or nationalize industries, socialize medical care, enable and empower militant Islam, raise taxes, provide Obamacare waivers to politically connected companies, etc.
Maybe it’s this very contradiction that led their editorial board to soften its tone. After all, “the man” in Washington is simply empowering the government to do the things they have always wished it to do.
Michael J Hurd
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