Conservatives and Snowden

One of the axioms utilized by H.L. Mencken in analyzing politics in the United States stated that Americans were unable to grasp arguments on their face and instead needed them recast in pure Manichean terms, with the most repellent of devils on one side and the purest of angels on the other. Mencken was on to something there, something that still holds true today, as is shown by the debate concerning the NSA scandal. This scandal is being fought out -- particularly among conservatives -- on purely Manichean grounds. Certain commentators insist that since the NSA operates to protect national security, this in and of itself ends the argument. The opposite side claims that the NSA programs in question, from Prism and Tempora on down, are tools of Satan (i.e., Barack Obama -- well, he was in that Bible miniseries, wasn't he?) intended to uproot the Constitution and replace it with a Big Brother-style dictatorship.    The same dichotomy occurs with Edward J. Snowden, the...(Read Full Article)