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The Sheep Look Up

The nightmare of political modernism.

by
J.R. Dunn

Bio

June 14, 2013 - 12:21 am
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You can’t make those arguments because, obviously enough, the safeguards didn’t work. If they had worked, nothing like this NSA program would have ever seen the light of day. If FISA courts had any real power, if government attorneys had any serious intention of serving the interests of the public, the NSA effort would have been limited to a paper proposal, like thousands of other crazy ideas. (For their own part, the conservative elite have waltzed their way into the dunce corner all by themselves with the argument that national security trumps everything. Memo to NRO, Commentary et al — it doesn’t. It never has.)

Americans know full well what “privacy” is. They know it simply involves being left alone, particularly by those in power. They know that it does not “evolve” without turning into something else completely. Privacy is an aspect of human nature and, like marriage, parenthood, ownership of property, or self-defense, cannot be destroyed or modified by legislation or government activity. Those who attempt to do so are challenging the fountains of the vasty deep, and will be washed away in the attempt.

Involving as it does the NSA, it’s unlikely we will ever learn exactly who was behind this, who gave the orders, and what the precise purpose was. But in a way, that doesn’t matter. We know what the source is, and the rest we can guess.

In the late 18th century, Jeremy Bentham, progressive patriarch and founder of the doctrine of utilitarianism, came up the idea of the Panopticon, a prison built in an octagonal format in which the prisoners would be watched twenty-four hours a day from a central point. Bentham predicted all sorts of benefits from the Panopticon that don’t appear to spring logically from the idea.

He spent much of his later life attempting to interest the British and various local governments in building a Panoptican, without much in the way of success. But at the same time his ideas grew more grandiose, and he began picturing whole communities, perhaps even entire societies, based on the concept of total surveillance, with everyone watched constantly to assure they were acting according to plan.

So there’s nothing new about any of this. All that’s changed is the technology. Our modern Benthams think they have the answer in infotech, and the Internet. The old dream is almost within their grasp.

They are forgetting that every state in the West built on surveillance, from fascist Italy to Nazi Germany and the entire constellation of Marxist states, excepting only the cesspool that is Cuba, has been destroyed, and destroyed ignominiously.

And what about Obama, you ask? What about his role? Simply put: he sowed the wind.

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Mr. Dunn is the consulting editor at American Thinker.

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Top Rated Comments   
Everything you say is utterly reasonable - and there's the rub. Our ruling class is NOT defending against jihad; instead of fighting the war that exists, they're fighting the war they want. And that is the war against the Rightist Menace they've been fighting hard since at least the Clinton years. They live in the action movie of their own minds, where the swarthy, accented, scary, foreign guy never turns out to be the bad guy: At best he's an innocent red herring, more often he's the tool of the Real Villain. And the Real Villain is always a white male right-winger of a narrow range of approved templates: The Violent Militiaman, the Corporate Polluter, the Unhinged Traumatized Veteran, the Persecuting Christian (available in Hypocrite and Sincere Fanatic models), the Military Coup Plotter, and the Conscienceless Israeli Spy. That's why your e-mail is being collected while the FBI is specifically forbidden to surveil mosques without several high-level permissions...
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
― Samuel Adams
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
I find your comment absolutely chilling. Do you really believe that The State should influence the behavior of individual citizens, even inadvertently? That if constant observation can prevent citizens from engaging in unsavory activities we should see that as a benefit? History shows us that the only real way to create better and more moral people is through religious belief. The progressives have had a century to disprove this fact and, if you look at the social cesspool in which we live, they haven't succeeded.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (78)
All Comments   (78)
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Public Schools & Guns
From a friend.....

Today a recently retired public school teacher that I’d not seen in several years, visited. All I ever knew of her politics was she despised Bush. We got on the subject of the grammar school boy who chewed a pop tart in the form of a gun and was expelled. I mentioned that this silliness seems to be constantly in the news all around the country. Here’s a shocker.

The lady was a member of TEA & NEA. She said that the reason this is being done is to create a generation of future voters who consider guns evil and would be more inclined to amend and remove the 2d Amendment.

If you want to change a nation’s culture, control the education of their children. In my day all education was exclusively a state operation; no federal money, no federal control, and each state’s teachers’ union was more in keeping with the politics and views of the majority voters in their state.

The first compulsory public education was in Germany long before anyone heard of the Nazis. Once the structure is set in place at the central level, it will be used by those who “know best.” If we got back to a 50 independent states school system it would defeat the attempt to make everyone think alike.

Orwell was way to early with “1984.”
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
sinz is right and all the rest of you are way off the mark. The War On Terror that ended is the one that was started by Bush, but there is another War On Terror going on. Not against Islamic terror because there is no Islamic terror - this is just a blood libel invented by Islamophobes, Zionists, fundamentalist Christians and other Nazi types - which is why the Obamadmin forbids any reference to it in any official admin or security document. The real terrorist threat comes from right wing extremists. That's why mosques where excluded from the surveillance - because everyone knows there are no right wing extremists in mosques, no Tea Pertyers, no libertarians, no dangerous constitutionalists. Such explosive individuals are to be found only among non-Muslims Americans, which is why your communications have to be monitored for your own safety. This is also why the warnings about the Tsarnaevs were ignored - because they're Muslim and therefore can't be right wing terrorists.

And of course it works - it greatly enhances your security! You can see for yourselves. Ever since Obama was elected were there any right wing extremist terrorist attacks? No. Were there even any attempted right wing extremist terrorist attacks? No. That proves beyond any doubt that this surveillance program is 100% effective in foiling their plans and defeating the real terrorist threat. So don't be such sourpusses and get with the program.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
YES! Finally somebody slaps some sense into the National Review! Rich Lowry is running that magazine into the ground with his effete pro-bailout Establishmentarianism!

" (For their own part, the conservative elite have waltzed their way into the dunce corner all by themselves with the argument that national security trumps everything. Memo to NRO, Commentary et al — it doesn’t. It never has.)"
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is the most disgusting moment of all for obama. Yes this program might be legal, and yes Bush started it on a smaller scale. But Obama, the damn lying hipocrite, won election when he specifically campaigned to end it, and then went Bush * 10. And while unnecessarily spying on every american in the nation, plus faithful allies like Gemany and India, he ended the one tactic in the war on terror that might have really helped, FBI infiltration of mosques, because of PC anti profiling demands from CAIR. Note to the left, you voted for this POS, twice, not me, I hope you are happy.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama ordered that the one surveillance tactic that actually worked, and produced successful results, be stopped- at request of CAIR - AKA Jihadists USA-- no mosques may be infiltrated or watched or listened in on- the mosques where ALL the homegrown Jihads have been inspired to murder, & made their connections --http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/061213-659753-all-intrusive-obama-terror-dragnet-excludes-mosques.htm

makes as much sense as searching everyone at airports except the burka brigade
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
A powerful, prophetic article, Mr. Dunn. Beautifully written and, unfortunately, precisely accurate. The 51% who put us into this cauldron will not deliver us. We will all boil away into oblivion. History will forget the glory of America and what it took to build it.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Time for a flat tax? Strike while the iron is hot, and "never let a crisis do to waste!" --Thanks Rahm!
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's time to exterminate the Federal leviathan and those who run it.
III
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been wasting time reminding the Leftoids over at Talking Points Memo and other threads rationalizing this that if it continues at some point the states may take matters into their own hands and start arresting NSA officials for warrantlessly wiretapping their states' citizens. They reply as if I have three heads and say it's impossible for state officials to arrest federal officials. WRONG. Just as the NSA boys think it's impossible should their data mining be used for black bagging or mass arrests for them to take any incoming. It's not. If the Taliban could get inside the wire so easily in Kabul, what makes them think they're going to feel safe should the SHTF?
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
What an amazing piece.

The Sheep Look Up.

Indeed.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
This scandalpalooza is nothing more than the Press finally doing its job. If they had done this all along, Obama would not have been elected. In fact, most of these clowns in office would never have been elected.

Obama said he was going to give us "the most transparent government" blah, blah, blah. The government does not give us transparency. Most of them cannot find their fundaments with two hands and a flashlight in their mouth. The Press provides the transparency. That's their job, and they haven't been doing it. They are now, because the government made the mistake of alienating them.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
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