I do hope Peter Wehner doesn’t wonder why conservatives refuse to take him seriously.
In a new op-ed for Commentary Magazine, Wehner attacked Governor Palin’s "reckless rhetoric" (and that of former presidential candidate Herman Cain), saying, "irresponsible and careless language used by former governors and vice presidential candidates like Sarah Palin and former presidential candidates like Herman Cain helps discredit conservatism and the GOP."
Sorry, Peter. The only thing discrediting the GOP right now is the lack of true conservatism emanating from Capitol Hill.
The most hilarious comment is where he accuses Governor Palin and her followers (that would be you and I) of "Obama Derangement Syndrome." The reason is, so he says, Governor Palin’s remarks about America turning into a totalitarian surveillance state. In his words:
"Now, we actually know what genuine totalitarian surveillance states and communist nations look like, and America is nothing close to becoming anything like them. Whatever one thinks of the NSA’s data mining and surveillance techniques, they are legal, overseen by a FISA court and Congress, and they are not anything like the Soviet Union under Stalin or North Korea under Kim Jong-un. Nor is America speeding down the tracks toward becoming Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge or Cuba under Castro."
Oh, Peter. Let’s have a talk.
First of all, the fact that it’s legal doesn’t make it right. Abortion is legal, too, but we’re still against it. As a descendent of Patrick Henry, I have no trust in the federal government and believe that they already have too much power – the surveillance programs were the final straw for me. The idea that "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about" is deception; that is the excuse used by the very governments you named who rule their subjects with an iron fist. I shouldn’t have to hand over every part of my personal life to the government, and the Fourth Amendment protects me from that (at least it used to). Our own laws require that the government have reasonable suspicion before they begin intruding on our private lives. I have regular contact with doctors and political allies – why does the government need that information? The USA PATRIOT Act was never meant to collect mass amounts of data from law-abiding citizens. It was only meant for wiretapping foreign terror suspects to avert impending attacks, and it has been taken grossly out of context.
The whole point of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was to place limits on what the government could do and give us the ability to hold them accountable when they do something wrong. Keeping certain evidence or even a wiretap secret when investigating an actual suspect is one thing. Refusing to allow the entire citizenry to know what methods are being used, what information is being collected and how it is being stored and used (whether for or against us) is important. It is extremely dangerous to start claiming that an entire surveillance program needs to remain secret. Once we the people give up our rights in one case and allow the government to violate the Constitution, it gets easier for them to pull it off next time.
Here’s something else to think about: Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Korea all have something in common. Their communist dictatorships all came to power with sudden, sweeping revolutions that killed millions. Even the finest minds in communist thinking have admitted over the years that Americans will never allow something like that to happen here. We have been a free country based on principles of limited government and individual responsibility for so long that we would fight back and win if any movement ever tried to take us by force. We have to be worn down, and they all knew it. Like the frog in a pot of water, they would have to introduce communism and totalitarianism to us very slowly. In the name of safety, we’ve been told that we need to be willing to give up our privacy in pieces. It started with intrusive security checks at airports. Then came warrantless wiretapping on foreign nationals believed to be involved in terrorism, a program expanded to include American citizens. Then the government gave themselves the right to indefinitely imprison anybody, even American citizens, without warrant or a trial. Now we find that our government has been secretly collecting data on nearly all of us.
So, tell me…what happens when the government decides they no longer want the people to have a voice? What happens when the wrong person – or group – gets their hands on our information? They can start systematically taking us out and they’d never have to answer for it. Then who would be left to speak up? If the government has no detractors, they can get away with anything. Do you really still think we look nothing like Cuba? We may not be there yet, but we’re an awful lot closer than we were just a few years ago.
There were a litany of very good reasons why our founding fathers gave us the power we have. The Governor was right – we are careening almost uncontrollably toward becoming another totalitarian state. If we don’t put a stop to it you will wake up one day and realize that you no longer recognize the America you were born and raised in. You will never get the liberals to change their minds by bashing the brave voices trying to remind us where we’ll end up if we don’t act. Feel sorry for them all you want, but you’re not winning any converts – and if, God forbid, you are ever proven wrong, none of the government officials you tried to defend against accusations of creeping communism are going to care that you defended them. They’ll come after you just as quickly as they came after the rest of us.