Conservative goals and the NSA
Yesterday, I happened to hear David Brooks on NPR. He was asked about the huge NSA surveillance program. He said, "I'm somewhat bothered by the secrecy, but I don't feel it's intrusive. Basically, they're running huge amounts of megadata through an algorithm. That feels less intrusive to me than the average TSA search at the airport. And so I don't think it's particularly intrusive. It is supervised by the court. It has some congressional supervision." Okay, it's Brooks. What's the big deal?
Well, that morning, the Wall Street Journal editorial page wrote, "We bow to no one in our desire to limit government power, but data-mining is less intrusive on individuals than routine airport security." I think it is interesting that Brooks is brought on NPR as a "reasonable" Republican and he just spouts the WSJ editors. Brooks is not supposed to be just some random politician; he's supposed to be an independent thinker. But let's leave that aside.
Jonathan Chait wrote a good article yesterday, "Conservative Freedom Lovers: You're Doing It Wrong." In which he showed the cognitive dissonance in the conservative movement regarding issues of freedom. For example, noted that Jack Welch is a-okay with the NSA spying, even as he claimed that Obama was secretly manipulating the Jobs Report for his own nefarious purposes.
Or consider Roger Vinson, who was one of the lower court judges who struck down Obamacare. He claimed that if the government could force people to get health insurance, it could force them to do anything. So he's a big believer in freedom. Or at least certain kinds of freedom. As Chait noted, "Judge Vinson has reentered the news for having approved the National Security Agency's program of collecting all of the phone records in America."
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