In my rant on the Guardian web site, in which I let my inner-libertarian rail unfetteredly, I say that Dave Eggers is right about what he says about government spying — but I also say he’s too old and too smart to think like such an infant:
We love Dave Eggers because he’s smart and good, but he needs to grow up and smell the evils of unlimited government: he asks “would President Obama, himself a constitutional scholar, actually endorse – much less expand – a domestic spying programme unless it were morally acceptable and constitutional?” Pathetically, Eggers still thinks Obama was/is any different from his predecessors.Eggers doesn’t know yet that it doesn’t matter who is in charge of Big Nanny government’s power and purse. The notion that Saint Obama was going to be squeamish about protecting and growing and using the warfare/welfare/security state is touchingly naive. The only way the NSA — or FBI or DEA or CIA or XXX — will stop snooping on us and the rest of the world will be if their funding is taken away. Otherwise, they’ll do whatever they can get away with with their technology and computers, no matter what the courts say. The history of every government — even so-called good governments run by your own favorite politician-saint — is the history of government abusing its power and doing evil things to minorities, the weak or politically unfavored factions. Forget amending the Patriot Act. Forget telling the TSA to stop cavity searches of grandmas. Forget telling the NSA to stop listening to the pope’s phone calls. The only way to ensure that these federal agencies stop their unconstitutional or immoral practices at home or abroad is to starve the government of money, thereby severely limiting what it can do for (and to) people. That means liberals have to grow up and realize that big government is not a morally acceptable or useful social engineering tool, even when it’s employed to “help” poor people in inner Detroit or to shake down rich people or businesses with high taxes. The same powers that liberals/Dems happily and selfishly entrust to Saint Obama’s administration today will be used/misused by conservatives/Republicans tomorrow. This is nothing new. It’s been going on forever. If Eggers wants writers to be able to write without fear, he needs to start having a grownup conversation with himself about the nature of government and try to understand why it’s so important to free individuals that government be given as little power and as little to do to us or for us as possible.