Edward Snowden: Hero or Traitor?

Posted by Larry Miller on June 10, 2013 under How | Read the First Comment

For those who have been living under a rock, Edward Snowden is the young man who leaked the word that the NSA was tracking billions of phone calls every day. His actions have generated controversy on both sides of the political aisle. It is rare these days for a dispute to break along anything but party lines… yet here we are.

To find Glenn Beck and Michael Moore on the same side of any issue is truly amazing. To have Democrats and Republicans siding with each other against other Democrats and Republicans just doesn’t happen every day. It may be that we are seeing true colors in some cases as public figures come down on the side of the individual freedom or government.

Before we get into the arguments for and against his actions, let’s consider for a moment what we learned by them. We learned was that the national government was keeping records of all our phone calls – not just through Verizon, but pretty much everyone. On top of that, we are told that our internet activity is being followed as well. Many will believe that this sort of snooping is just too massive a project to be undertaken. They have not seen descriptions of the new facility in Utah.

Polls show a little more than half the people have little or no problem with such massive government tracking of their activities and movement. Remember that our cell phones have the GPS capacity that we have the fantasy of being able to turn off. Many believe that they are doing nothing wrong, so they should not be concerned if Big Brother is watching. Perhaps this is true under today’s rules, but with so little respect for the rule of law by the political class, can we be certain this remain the case.

There is a scene in the film Fahrenhite 451 where the Captain asks Montag what he will do on his day off. He replies that he will cut his grass. The Captain follows up with, “What will Montag do if the government forbids it?” Montag answers, “Then I will watch it grow”. Do we really want to be that much under the thumb of the beltway bandits?

Snowden’s critics accuse him of treason for making known the government’s secrets. This is true, he did reveal something they did not want us to know. Some would argue that these things should be made known. Some would say if the government is can use the information to keep us safe, then we should not interfere. Well, they have not been using this information to prevent the Boston Marathon bombing, even though they had plenty of warning. They did not stop the Fort Hood shooting for fear of the PC police. Then we see various arms of the federal bureaucracy being used as weapons against the current regimes perceived enemies. Can we expect anything else from this arm?

They are correct that Snowden broke the law. At one time, the law said it was proper for one person to own another. I would question if people helping runaway slaves find their freedom were wrong? Courts have ruled that laws contrary to our constitution are not laws at all. Snowden was apparently involved in the efforts to track American citizens and it appears that he saw this just wasn’t right. Albert Einstein, one of the foremost minds of the past century understood this kind of situation when he cautioned, “Never do anything against conscience even if the State demands it.”

Whether we agree with what his man did, or his flight to Hong Kong, it is better to have someone in these sensitive positions that actually has a conscience and not someone who blindly follows orders. That excuse did not fly at Nuremberg, and doesn’t pass today. Even the legal grounds for the government’s actions are open to question as the Patriot Act authorizes such snooping on foreign nationals when there is reason to suspect they pose a threat. It does not authorize indiscriminate snooping on everyone, just because the technology permits it.

While the old saying two wrongs don’t make a right definitely has some application, we have to consider that sometimes we just have to speak up when things are wrong, no matter what the consequences. This may just be the manifestation of the principle described in Luke 8:17, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”

We can dispute the propriety of Snowden’s actions, but we cannot ignore the implications of what we have learned.

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  • Gerald Lawson said,

    One of the first things you do in any security or intelligence action is a threat assessment. That’s one thing the government has never made public in regards to the terrorist threat. They want us to continue to be afraid of an attack so they can justify all the expenditures and actions against the citizens of the United States of America. When you consider how much has been spent versus who they’ve caught trying to attack us, has it really been worth it? Maybe we wouldn’t be so subject to an attack if we didn’t shove our nose into other country’s business all the time trying to tell them how to run their country. Comedian Dave Gardner had it right a half century ago when he said the trouble with our government is that we are trying to shove dollars into the hands of third world countries when they’re living on a bead economy! This is true of just about everywhere we’ve poked our nose. We just don’t know what rings their bell and until we do, we need to keep to ourselves! What ever happened to sovereign rights of a government to govern without interferrence?

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