There has always been a very fine line between the conservative desire to maintain a strong defense and the other conservative desire to protect individual liberties. Depending on which candidate a group is rooting for at the time, they can use either to attack their opponent. Ted Cruz is learning this the hard way as allegedly conservative groups have started attacking his desire to take American citizens’ privacy seriously even if that means forcing law enforcement to work more intelligently.
The Freedom Act was designed to strip away many of the obtuse powers that the government had to spy on its own citizens. The natural reaction after 9/11 was to figure out a way to spy on everyone. Unfortunately, it has been proven to be ineffective at best and downright Orwellian at worst. This led to many protests against government activities that attacked our rights to privacy as American citizens and the end result was the Freedom Act that rightsized the level of spying on citizens.
Some Republicans, including Senator Marco Rubio and American Encore, a group founded by Sean Noble, a former Koch brothers’ operative, have decided to take issue with the conservative principle of privacy and individual rights by attacking it with the conflicting conservative principle of strong defense against terrorism. The standard argument is that if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t worry about the surveillance. This is absolutely the wrong way to look at it. Once you start stripping Americans of the privacy and individual freedoms that are protected by the Constitution, you take the country down a dark path that will not lead to safety supplied by the government but for the need to defend our rights against the government.
Candidates have made missteps by invoking Adolf Hitler’s politics as defense for fighting certain perspectives such as gun control. The reality is that the type of totalitarian control over our personal lives and our privacy is even closer to the ideals of men like Hitler than gun control itself.
The safety of American citizens is the top priority of the federal government (at least it should be) but you cannot trade privacy and individual rights for security. It would be different if there were documented cases of how spying on United States citizens has made is safer, but the truth is that it hasn’t. In fact, the focus on big data collection has, if anything, hampered the strong investigative practices of organizations such as the FBI who are trained to defend us against domestic threats.
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) November 24, 2015
The DC cartel money behind Marco Rubio would love for people like Cruz, Paul, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson to go away, to be painted as unwilling to spy on American citizens for the sake of governmental gain, but they won’t be going away any time soon.
The attacks against Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and other conservatives are not really done for the benefit of national security. There are Republican Establishment foundations behind the attacks. They know that the Freedom Act doesn’t hurt security. They know that it protects privacy. Unfortunately, their narrative is geared towards promoting their chosen candidate regardless of the damage that it would do to America.