It’s all well and good when the leader you like does it

During the Bush administration, I repeatedly told people that the measuring stick for a government program should not be whether you trust it in the hands of the leader you like, it should be whether you trust it in the hands of the next guy. Once you give up freedom, you have no guarantee that you’re ever getting it back or that the leaders down the road will use the power you’ve ceded to them in a responsible and democratic manner.

I would like to revisit that point in light of the NSA revelations this past week. Let us be clear, what we learned is not remotely new, they told us they were going to do it during the frenzy of post-9/11 legislation. I have operated for years as if any unencrypted communication with non-citizens outside of the US borders was being monitored because the Bush administration made it quite clear they didn’t believe those communications needed a warrant.

It was no secret that the government was eavesdropping on electronic communications. We were told it kept us safe and that if we had nothing to hide we shouldn’t complain. Republicans told me I shouldn’t complain because George W. Bush is a good man and I should trust him that he’s doing the right thing to keep us from being attacked.

My insistence that you should always ask whether you’d trust the next guy with those powers fell on deaf ears.

Funny how things have changed. The same people who questioned my patriotism and said that I don’t care if the country gets attacked are now up in arms. Up in arms about the exact same thing that they unwaveringly defended when the last guy did it.

If it was right when the guy you loved did it, then it’s right when the sekrit commie muslin you hate is doing it.

Admit it, you don’t give a flip about freedom, if you did you wouldn’t have criticized me and questioned my patriotism when I brought this up a decade ago. It was wrong then, it’s wrong now, but your outrage rings hollow.

The hypocrisy is astounding.