By Robert Higgs
Why does the U.S. government go to such extraordinary lengths to discredit, punish, and ruin persons such as Daniel Ellsberg, Julian Assange, and—next in line, no doubt—Edward Snowden? The government alleges that these persons give aid and comfort to the nation’s enemies and endanger national security. In truth, however, these persons only “crime” is to tell the truth to the public about what the U.S. government is doing. By telling the truth about especially important matters, they endanger only the state, by exposing its lies and its hidden crimes for the world to see.
The rulers can continue to plunder and bully the great mass of people only as long as the people believe the Biggest of All Big Lies, which is that the government seeks to be, and is, their essential protector and general benefactor. The Ellsbergs, Assanges, and Snowdens, rare as they are, demonstrate that the government’s pose as protector and benefactor is nothing but a ruse to hide its essential nature and functioning. The only protection the rulers aim to provide us is the kind that a shepherd provides his sheep—protection from anything that interferes with his exclusive ability to determine how and when the sheep will be sheared and slaughtered.
The rulers would have us believe that our enemies are such shadowy characters as a Vietnamese peasant hugging an AK-47 in a jungle 8,000 miles away, an Iraqi scientist ginning up bottle-rocket WMDs in a hidden underground laboratory, and a starving Pashtun goat herder creeping about in Waziristan plotting to bomb you, your children, and your dogs and cats. These fantasies of danger to the American people are so far-fetched that one suspects anyone who takes them seriously of mental incapacity. Yet, it appears, a great many Americans are mentally impaired enough to be taken in by such officially promulgated poppycock.
Meanwhile, with people’s minds bewitched by the Tallest of Tall Tales, their real enemies go about their extortion, robbery, abuse, and contempt of intelligence in plain sight in every city, village, and borough in the land, and the masses take all these crimes to be nothing worth noting, but only “how it is.” Such a cosmic Stockholm syndrome more than boggles the mind. A gang of criminals has taken control of a protection racket so vast that it defies our comprehension, styling itself the legitimate government, and then has compounded its impudence by taking its strongest measures against those who—horror of horrors—do nothing more than reveal to the public what the gang is actually doing.
I have no idea what the gang is concocting as a means of destroying Edward Snowden, but I have no doubt whatsoever that the wheels of injustice are spinning furiously in Washington, D.C., and Langley, Virginia. If you are betting on this heroic young man’s living another five years, insist on heavy odds.
About the author: Robert Higgs
Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy for The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, and the University of Economics, Prague. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow for the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.