Monday, January 14, 2013

New Week, New Soapbox

The catalyst for this week's soapbox is this article ( that I saw on If you don't feel like reading it, it is an opinion piece suggesting that the FBI, instead of mandating that all new software applications be out-fitted with "wire-tap" capabilities, they should be hiring forensic computer hackers. It's a 'fight fire with fire' argument that makes sense when you consider it. That said - it was a couple of sentences in this article that got me thinking:

"Whether we like them or not, wiretaps — legally authorized ones only, of course — are an important law enforcement tool. But mandatory wiretap backdoors in internet services would invite at least as much new crime as it could help solve."

Legislation is expected to be authored later this year that will require all new internet applications and software programs be out-fitted with a "backdoor" so that if the need arises, the FBI can tap into it. This is not new news - all of that is covered in greater detail by the article. What got me thinking was this notion of government regulation as a means of ENSURING that crime continues -- and thus validating a NEED for government oversight. Lest I be thought a conspiracy theorist (which I am not), let me further explain.

What's another hot-button topic these days? Gun Control. Understandably so right? The knee-jerk reaction of our country to the numerous school-shootings over the past 10 years has been to demand more gun control. What will gun control do? Will it stop criminals from possessing or using weapons? No. Will it stop crazy people from accessing guns and committing crimes? No. In-short, will it stop school shootings? I feel that if you're being intellectually honest with yourself, the answer is no. So, what then, will more gun laws do? One thing it is sure to do is extend the reach of government. More regulation means more surveillance on the part of the State into your affairs. More regulation means more justification for the Government to spend your tax dollars -- and not only that, but also to ask for, and justify, ADDITIONAL tax revenue.

If that example isn't good enough for you - how about the "War of Drugs." Have drug laws stopped the manufacture and distribution of drugs in this country? No, they are still available in every city in America. Has it curbed drug-use in this country by limiting the availability of drugs? Maybe a tiny little bit? Maybe? Has the U.S. Government been successful on ANY front of the "War on Drugs"? If you read/watch the news and read anything about it, the unequivocal answer is "No". What has the war on drugs done? One thing it has done is justify an entire sub-branch of the U.S. Government (namely the DEA, and to an extent the ATF) and thus has justified the expenditure of LIMITLESS U.S. tax dollars. Put another way, it has justified the waste of countless tax dollars without any accountability for results. Let me be clear, a drug bust here and there or the break-up of a drug-ring here and there are not results...results consist of the actual accomplishment of your objectives which, in the "War on Drugs" would be the curtailing of manufacture and sale of drugs in this country. Am I suggesting that we legalize everything? No. But what I am suggesting is that we start being honest with ourselves and the failure of this war -- afterall, our government is ACCOUNTABLE to WE THE PEOPLE.

As a corollary - the War on Drugs has also allowed the government to justify a number of other things. Because drugs are illegal they are bought and sold on a black-market...mostly by gangs. Fights over "turf" explode into violence on our streets (22 murders so far in Chicago in 2013) and then justify the need to more law enforcement in the form of police officers and over government enforcement (FBI, DEA, ATF, etc). This ultimately costs more tax money...but the government can turn around and say, "hey, we have a huge problem here and the citizens NEED us." States have begun to decriminalize marijuana and shockingly (sarcasm) there haven't been vast increases in crime. Not only that, these states are going to start bringing in tax revenue from the sale of marijuana and will actually being making a profit on the industry, rather than spending vast amounts of tax dollars to curb marijuana use.

This might as well be a short dissertation on why I am a Conservative...a Conservative bordering on being a Libertarian. I will never feel like the Government does a better job at regulating my day-to-day life and choices better than I do. I believe that you and me do an astronomically better job at over-seeing our day-to-day lives than the Government ever has or will. The Government has a place, of this there is no-doubt, but that place is not in creating a need for itself. By making laws that extend the reach of government for the sake of "catching criminals" - the government is pulling the wool over the proverbial eyes of Americans as to what it's true objectives are.

No comments:

Post a Comment