“Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.” —Lord Acton
“Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.” —Robert A. Heinlein
As I write this, I am concerned for my own safety from my government. Imagine that—in the United States of America—a natural born citizen in the supposed “freest country in the world” is nervous to write something for fear of merely espousing and promoting an idea.
As a country, how have we come to this?
Last Wednesday, The Guardian published an article revealing that the NSA has been collecting millions of Verizon’s customer’s phone records. For the United States, this is just one more uncovered scandal of nearly half a dozen other high-profile scandals in recent weeks showing the government’s inability to be accountable and responsible for the powers and authorities it has wrongly arrogated unto itself.
The whistleblower of this particular scandal, Edward Snowden, leaked internal information concerning the NSA accessing millions of Verizon phone records. Since then, Snowden has provided an interview with The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald explaining why he became a whistleblower:
I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, but I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon, and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant… I am willing to sacrifice all of [my very comfortable life] because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom, and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.
Given this statement, we should all ask what lengths we would go in standing for what we believe. We should ponder why there are not more men and women of such courage and resolute tenacity pushing for virtue in government—or, at least, why more people aren’t coming forward.
For those with such positions of knowledge concerning the “federation of secret law, unequal pardon, and irresistible executive powers,” we urge and plead with you—come forward with that knowledge to the public eye! Let the people of the United States realize the magnitude of their government’s deviation from its proper, authorized role, so that they can purge corruption from their own government—a government that is supposedly “of the people, by the people, and for the people!”
Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a campaign called “If you see something, say something.” DHS has promoted this program as a “public awareness campaign” to “emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper local law enforcement authorities.” Many have criticized this program as the beginning of neighbor-on-neighbor surveillance for government compliance. We agree.
Now is the time for government to stand accountable for its encroachments, usurpations, and unconstitutional overreaching into the unsuspecting lives of millions of Americans! Now is the time for Americans, if they see something wrong with their government, to say something.
Patrick Henry, the famous early American statesman, once observed that “the liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.” Henry’s words are not applicable only to the time in which he lived, but speak of a principle that is enduring and equally relevant today. Whenever any government can so unconscionably hide its usurpations from the people, then the people only live under the façade of liberty and freedom.
Let us stand firm in our individual liberty, and demand responsible and accountable government. Let us turn the tables on tyranny and pressure government to scale back its encroachment on our privacy and our liberty. When tyranny is this obvious, it is time to speak up!
If you see something, say something!