Robert Scheer: On Civil Liberties, the #NSA Is a Latter-Day King George

Posted: May 17, 2015 in Politics

In an appearance on “The Campaign With Ernie Powell,” a radio show that deals with the question of how progressives can win political campaigns, Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer says the NSA is engaged in the same invasive behavior “that sparked the American Revolution.”

Scheer was on Powell’s show to discuss the themes at the center of his new book, “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy.”

“I know there are a lot of folks who don’t like to celebrate the framers,” Scheer tells Powell early in the interview. “They were a bunch of white guys, they had limitations and we had slavery. There’s a lot of Howard Zinn wisdom in critiquing them. But there were two big ideas they had that actually go to the heart of what my book is all about and what our current crisis is all about. One is, you can’t be a representative republic and an empire in the same moment. If you’re gonna be meddling all over the world, if you’re gonna be going after the resources of the whole world, if you’re gonna be exploiting people all around the world in the name of saving them—if you’re gonna go the route of Rome—you’re gonna crush the republic, which is what Rome was at its finest moment. And this was true of every society that they had seen. …

“The other big idea they had was that government had to be viewed with suspicion, no matter the claim of government, whether it was to divine right to rule or the great French civilization or the great Roman values, and the Constitution that they gave us contained a really subversive notion. It said, ‘Beware of power—not as an abstraction—beware of the power that us folks—Jefferson, Madison, Washington—are about to assume.’ This was the whole idea of the separation of powers, of limited government, of checks and balances. And the incorporation of the Bill of Rights.”



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