Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Apophenia Part 2--but I suggest you skip this one

Sorry for the delay in finishing this--I don't think it was worth it...
The reason I started this entry was simple--at the time I read an article complaining yet again about how our rights to privacy were being trampled in the name of national security. Certain decisions can reasonably be traced to likely outcomes, even of a peripheral nature. Specifically, I wanted to say IT IS STUPID TO COMPLAIN ABOUT STUFF WHEN ONE CAN SEE IT COMING, ESPECIALLY IF ONE TACITLY AGREED TO IT, AND EVEN DEMANDED IT.
Case in point: the problem that faced, and ultimately defined, the Presidency of George W. Bush; response to 9-11. True, over his tenure, I became less happy with his leadership, but he took a hit for one thing that he shouldn't have; and that is the assault on our constitutional right to privacy. That's why I opened with the comment about how Clinton ran his presidency by staying on the popular side of public opinion. (I used the "economic boom years" as an example; but there have been articles blaming the current mini-depression on Clinton's decisions to deregulate banking, and counter articles that it was the republican congress to blame for writing the legislation. It could be argued Bush could have done something in his 8 years to stop it, but who knows--certainly not me.)
What was popular opinion after 9-11? Revenge, and concurrently, prevention. It led to two invasions and ultimately, unilateral actions that alienated us from all but our staunchest allies. At the time, everybody here wanted blood, and at the same time, security (meaning no more 9-11s--battlefield homeland was unacceptable). Allowing some of our constitutional freedoms to be bent was, to some, an obvious outcome to the path we were taking, but many others expected complete security without loss of freedom. How naive! You can't have both ultimate security and ultimate freedom--they are not in the least connected.
I guess I'm saying don't shoot the president for something we all wanted. That said, I see it as a see-saw, and it's time to reaffirm our freedoms and accept that there is some risk attached.
Not profound, but hey like I said in the title, you could've skipped this one..