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Roger L. Simon

Christie, Paul, Libertarianism, and the NSA

July 30th, 2013 - 12:02 am

Chris Christie created a flap among Republicans the other day by attacking the libertarian wing of the party, specifically “Rand Paul and others,” for isolationism. (He also equated Obama’s terrorism policies with George W. Bush’s, which is utter hogwash, but I won’t go into that here except to say — can you imagine how Bush would have behaved after Boston compared with Obama?)

Christie, however, has a point, although I think the jury is still out on Paul and the nameless “others.” We don’t know enough individually about what they really think. This will most probably emerge.

But the issue is or should be libertarianism itself — to what degree should its policies pertain beyond the nation’s borders.

I admit to having a strong attraction to libertarianism domestically, especially in this era of monumental deficits, pervasive bureaucracy, and endless government spending, but I find it almost absurd as a basis for foreign affairs.

Part of the rationale, I suppose, in making it such a basis is that if the USA evolves into the perfect libertarian republic, others will see the errors of their ways and seek to emulate it — ironically a kind of Stalinist “socialism in one country” argument.

Oh, really? Tell that to the likes of Ayatollah Khamenei, Hassan Nasrallah, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, or even NATO member Turkey’s Recep Erdogan, who famously stated “democracy is like a train. You take it where you have to go, and then you get off.” I don’t think he meant get off at libertarianism.

Their final station isn’t Finland. It’s a global caliphate and what America does couldn’t be less material.

The somewhat more defensible rationale is that we should only intervene in foreign situations when absolutely necessary for our own safety or survival — no wars or military intervention unless we are directly attacked, etc.

This is classically naive thinking that defies common sense. In the real world the wise man or woman confronts his enemies or suffers greatly for it. Who wouldn’t want to replay the Munich Conference of 1938 and actually stand up to Hitler, rather than appease him?

Well, I guess maybe some extreme orthodox libertarians. But they would have to answer to the estimated forty-eight million who died in World War II, not to mention their families.

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Top Rated Comments   
This brings to mind VDH's piece about not saying what we're thinking. Hiding beneath a discussion of libertarianism versus statism is fundamental distrust of THIS government. My approval of NSA's snooping, even on citizens, is contingent on my faith in an honest justice system, a faith I no longer have and which I had lost well before Holder and his people were in charge. I got to watch first hand as true "rogue" USDOJ employees, almost all holdover Democrats, took out my state's senior US senator, several members of my State Legislature, and had every Republican officeholder in the State afraid to talk to anyone because you couldn't be sure they weren't wearing a wire.

I'm not really concerned about what the government knows about me so long as I'm confident they can't use illegally acquired evidence against me. That the US regulatory and law enforcement system has become a poltical tool has been made graphically evident in this administration and we can't rely on the courts, even state courts, to protect us.

Boeing would undoubtedly have prevailed on the SC plant had they taken the case up the federal courts but they were muscled by the government and settled with the IAM. They simply got told what would happen to them if they went to court. Gibson Guitars was just muscled because a competitor wanted them muscled. The federal government is all but at war with Texas and Arizona. And then, there is the Zimmerman - Martin matter, the most frightening of them all. Boeing, Gibson, and the TX and AZ issues really just involve the federal government and in the case of Boeing and the two states a LOT of dependency on federal money. In the Z-M matter, the US muscled a governor and a state's law enforcement and judicial system in to arresting and trying an innocent man purely for its poltical value to the Administration.

I don't worry nearly so much that NSA has metadata on me, or even the data itself: I worry that OFA has it. I believe that a combination of OFA and the already extant shadow government of Democrat/labor/Soros front groups have become essentially a communist style "provisional government" of the US poised to challenge the "legitimate" government should the Soros Junta be unable to win or steal the Congress in '14 and continue to hold the Congress and the Presidency in '16. They have all the pieces in place.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have to disagree with Roger Simon. The debate Rand Paul is igniting and which Christie is ignoring is over when do policies designed for outside our borders move inside our borders and impinge on our liberties and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. Blanket collecting and analyzing of metadata and data on Americans can lead to corrupt activities by government just as the IRS has led to corrupt activities to out of favor organizations like the TEA Party.

I am not willing to give up our rights to for what might well be a tiny increase in safety. That is far less "libertarian" than it is adherence t our Constitution.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Given the effectiveness of message interception and decryption during WWII, I think the NSA is a good thing to have. We just don't need it spying on American citizens.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (89)
All Comments   (89)
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I Really Resonate with this Article! The Whole Admin has leaked,lied,covered up, stolen elections, Caused Deaths, Econcomically Raped the USA, Neutered our INTEL and MILITARY - Manipulated our media and us-Socially engineered us - Tried to blind us to the DECADES of Infiltration by these enemies and terrorists! They have created smokescreen after smokescreen to deflect from the Real Scandals they have done which are criminal, treasonous, and Impeachable! Blaming the NSA is sick! Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Microsoft have invaded us more than anyone could. This is real, and if we dont stop bashing the very folks that protect us, we will all be living on the Animal Farm, if we are even alive at all! WAKE
UP TIME
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Revealed: NSA program collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet' • XKeyscore gives 'widest-reaching' collection of online data • NSA analysts require no prior authorization for searches • Sweeps up emails, social media activity and browsing history


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/31/nsa-top-secret-program-online-data
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have news for you: The fact that the government (NSA) is spying on American citizens makes the USA a police state already. I identify much more with the policies of libertarianism than that of the major parties - each of them have their own brand of tyranny.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
As usual, you make excellent points, many nuanced. My reaction to your comment about Rand Paul questioning whether the US was, however, astonishment. Again, you wrote weeks ago, with considerable justification, your fear of being harassed in the wake of you contact with presume Benghazi whistle-blowers. It seems that, as with so many others, you can't push the denial away. Obama and his group, and Democrats in general, are pushing relentlessly in the direction that Paul suggests.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
'your' and 'presumed'..
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'll go with a libertarian foreign policy any day rather than Obama's anti- American infantile ideology -- which supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Islamists in Syria and Libya, and was against the Greens in Iran, as well as against democracy in Honduras.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Which leads me back to Christie, Paul, and the NSA."

No, I think you followed Alice down the Rabbit Hole.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Not that the NSA doesn’t need supervision, serious supervision. Its hiring practices need review as well as all its oversight systems, internal and external."

So in other words if it was changed almost completely, it would be just fine. And if you changed Obama almost completely, he would be Thomas Jefferson. And if you were changed almost completely, you would be Miss America.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Paul has said that we are in danger of becoming a “police state.” (He used those words Monday night on Hannity.) I doubt that he really means it."

So you must think that is not any danger at all, so I ask you "Now who sounds like a idealistic nine year old at a Quaker meeting?"
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
" (Blame the president for a lot of things — Benghazi, the IRS, the economy, racial incitement, spying on the press, etc. — but this one didn’t start with him.)"

What a ridiculous thing to say. Yes, it is certainly true that the N-Stasi-A didn't start with him, I think it started in 1952, but all should be able to see that he has kicked it into warp drive and if he can abuse it to the hilt, and he can, he will. Obama didn't establish the IRS either, yet just look what he has done with it.

Note: "The National Security Agency (NSA) was established by Presidential directive in 1952 as a separately organized agency within the Department of Defense (DoD). In this directive, President Truman designated the Secretary of
Defense as Executive Agent for the signals intelligence and communications security activities of the Government. "
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"when I watch Fox’s John Stossel ... ... speak of foreign affairs, I think I’m listening to an idealistic nine year old at a Quaker meeting. "

Then, by all logic, if and when you read Ronald Reagan's foreign policy principles, you must think you are listening to an idealistic six year old at a Quaker meeting.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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