News reports of government leaders or officials claiming that they were only “following the law” continue to ignore the fact that these laws are passed by government officials wanting to take certain actions, often contrary to the wishes (if given a voice) of those that elected them. This allows governments to do whatever they want, whether a dictatorship or the beacon of democracy.
Lately, each time I hear someone connected to some government utter the words “threat to national security”, I am skeptical. They cry wolf or claim the sky is falling too often to be credible. I immediately suspect that someone is trying to conceal misdeeds, illegal deeds, or incompetence.
Governments, which tout their democratic nature, always claim that anything they do is “legally sound”, because they can pass whatever law someone in power wants to pass. For example, the invasion of Iraq was “legal’, because the Bush administration said it was.
If governments would go after bankers that destroyed the economy with the same vigor with which they pursue someone that embarrasses them, then perhaps everyone would benefit.
Each article or discussion about recent revelation of the US Government’s program of “spying” on all telephone and internet exchanges usually contains a quotes along the lines of “you have nothing to fear, if you have done nothing wrong”.
I am willing to wager than every human has broken some law. No one can know all laws, especially esoteric and historical statutes. Daily practices often eclipses rule, which all have forgotten, never known, or ignore.
That makes the government surveillance program an ideal tool for anyone wishing to screw up an opponent’s life. And, some over-ambitious civil “servant” can harass whoever he or she chooses to target. Or, worse, a contract employee can earn a bonus by fingering as many suspects as possible. The following column is scary (especially since my fingerprints are on file and I live in Europe)...
Of course, governments never break a law, because they make laws to suit their practices...
I noticed that the Russian Government has passed a law forbidding adoption of Russian children by Americans. This reminded me (as if I needed reminding) how stupid governments can be. The only ones to suffer from such laws are simple citizens wanting to do good for others and children hoping for a better life.
I recall sitting one evening many years ago with a KGB officer in the gazebo in the garden of a villa in Moscow, which had been the home of a Politburo member and was now a government guest house put at my disposal. We shared a bottle of vodka--what else?--and inveighed against our governments’ attempts to create enemies each other’s citizens. We could find no reason to be enemies, but share a common dislike of deceitful leaders and politicians.
There would be less wars on this planet, if people were not foolish enough to fall for the siren song of patriotism drummed up by arrogant, ignorant, and paranoid leaders.
Governments play a trick on the common man. All are made to believe that it is an “honor” to “serve” one’s country. Fear of consequences are instilled into anyone considering not following blindly commands from above. Men in power must convince citizens of their “duty” to fulfill leader’s wishes and commands.
Anyone watching British television is constantly reminded of the two world wars. Most programs attempt to glorify what--in reality--was a waste of human lives. Little criticism is aimed at foolish leaders--on all sides--who waged an idiotic war from 1914 to 1918...which led to a bigger one, partly because of decision made by some of the same politicians.
Newspapers are filled with praise for soldiers, who are forced to participate in the last three unnecessary US wars (one of which I experienced first hand). The praise and glorification is an attempt to divert attention from the idiocy, waste, and futility. Too many still swallow the rhetoric and hype, which explains why leaders continue to pursue misguided policies.
Englishmen were jailed for conscientious objection. There is even the absurd story of the writer, who sat in jail with a murderer: one for killing and one for refusing to kill.
If more of ones that must die refused, there would be less wars and less needless deaths. But, first, people must stop believing in empty “honor” and the hypocrisy of “duty”. Unfortunately, like in a casino, the house always wins and takes something from the suckers. Sadly, the chips are counted in lives.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.