A Government Feared and Distrusted
Deep in the desert of Utah is a government data center. The center, comprised of long, low buildings spanning 1.5 million square feet, is filled with super-powered computers storing unbelievably massive amounts of information gathered secretly.
What information is being collected?
Information about you, Joe Average citizen. Your phone calls and emails are being stored, all in the name of protecting our country from potential terrorists -- terrorists like you, even though your call or email is as banal as, “Honey I’ll be home in 30 minutes.” You probably have never said or typed, “I’m planning to bomb the Freedom Tower.”
The news that our own government secretly collected the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top-secret court order broke last summer when the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee outed the court order. The Obama administration has defended the National Security Agency’s “need” to collect such records, despite the huge overreach and invasion of citizens’ privacy.
Just a few weeks ago, a diverse coalition against government spying on U.S. citizens lofted an airship over the huge data center. Michael Boldin, executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, one of the groups protesting the overreach of our government, stated: "This coalition gives great hope for the future because it shows that people across the political spectrum can set aside differences to work together for common cause."
Boldin is right.
People of all political persuasions are right to be concerned about the invasion of their privacy and the potential misuse of personal information. They are right to distrust a government that indiscriminately gathers each and every communication of American citizens for murky purposes still unknown. Everyone should work together to stop the abuses, to reclaim their constitutional rights and tell the government, “Hey, my calls are none of your business. Get out of my life.”
Truth is, most Americans do not believe the government won’t use the information it’s gathering for good purposes only. Information is power. Knowledge about private affairs can be used for bad ends.
Recently, it was discovered that information gathered not so secretly by the IRS has been used to target certain groups who dare to criticize our government. Non-profit groups with names including words like “Tea Party,” “patriot,” and “conservative,” were deliberately singled out for endless bureaucratic foot dragging while more liberal organizations passed inspection with ease.
The IRS scandal is possibly an even worse case of this administration’s abuse of its own citizens than the NSA scandal. Joe Average citizen, you not only have reason to fear and distrust the NSA’s invasion of your personal life for who knows what obscure reasons. You also have cause to fear and distrust the IRS because you now know you may be targeted for your political and/or religious beliefs.
Targeting you, Joe Average, for tedious audits or worse if you disagree with Obama and his Democrat allies is a new thing -- and it has happened time and again under Obama, aided by his Democrat allies in the IRS. The agency has been intimidating and silencing critics of the Obama administration, making this particular scandal one of the most dangerous in U.S. history.
If the targeting by the IRS of political opponents is not enough to make your hair stand on end, the fact your personal financial information may be automatically shared with the Columbian, Russian, and Chinese governments should be enough to turn it white. This past Monday, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released the full version of the global standard for automatic exchange of information.
That “automatic exchange” could include your financial information, which in turn could make you vulnerable to corrupt government officials of any given country, including our own -- officials who might have no particular hesitation to use the info to identify you as a political opponent or even to steal your identity, drain your funds or target you for kidnapping.
And just who would be in charge of overseeing the intergovernmental exchange of financial information and seeing to it that strict confidentiality was maintained?
Why, none other than the same IRS that already has shown it will target the Obama administration’s political opponents. The same IRS whose sole interest is in raising tax revenue, not in preserving your constitutional rights. The same IRS that is supposed to oversee the administration of ObamaCare, acting as enforcer of the risibly named Affordable Care Act.
One more example of a governmental agency’s egregious overreach, one that is particularly pertinent to the farmers in Delaware’s Sussex and Kent counties, but which could potentially affect nearly everyone: The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to expand its authority to cover “waters,” including the regulation of nearly all ditches, natural or manmade; flowing or dried up; temporary or permanent, including depressions in the earth that might allow the collecting of rain water. The proposed regulations are so onerous, they could literally make farming of some areas impossible. But if you don’t comply, the EPA could label you a “polluter” whose wages should be garnished. Case example: the agency has threatened fines of up to $75,000 per day on Wyoming homeowner Andy Johnson. He built a pond on his rural property.
Think twice before you build that koi pond in your own backyard -- or collect rain water on your property, like Gary Harrington, an Oregonian now serving a 30-day sentence for violating water regulations.
An encyclopedia would be required to list all the examples of executive and governmental agency overreach.
But note the theme: the examples above are violations of Americans trust by non-elected governmental agencies. You, Joe Average, have no say in what is decreed. You are not represented when thousands of regulations are enacted.
Bureaucratic agencies like the IRS, the NSA, and the EPA often operate virtually independently of congressional oversight. Collectively, they can invade your privacy, take away your property, hijack your assets, destroy your reputation, and even land you in jail. They rule you; not you them. You are right to fear and distrust them. They certainly do not fear you because they are not accountable to you, the voter.
It’s all very dangerous stuff. It is certainly not characteristic of a free republic filled with independent men and women. As Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.”
And liberty is what it is all about.
An anonymous, unaccountable, and faceless bureaucratic elite is dictating to Americans, destroying trust. It is time to reduce or to entirely eliminate the power of unconstitutional agencies unaccountable to you, the U.S. citizen with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The issue is pretty clear.
You and I have sacred rights granted by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Bureaucratic entities offer no rights, merely a plethora of regulations that stifle and thwart economic creativity and personal liberty.
It is time to earn back the trust of Americans by returning to the simplicity of constitutional, representative government.
Kevin Wade is a Republican candidate for the office of U.S Senator from Delaware. Fay Voshell is a writer from Wilmington, DE.