The Surveillance State And The Mob Mentality

Former Republican Budget Committee staffer Mike Lofgren in HuffPo today:

The most depressing result of the polls, however, was the variability of the partisan response depending on which party occupies the White House: “In early 2006, 37 percent of Democrats found the [NSA’s] activities acceptable; now nearly twice that number — 64 percent — say the use of telephone records is okay. By contrast, Republicans slumped from 75 percent acceptable to 52 percent today.” A large percentage of Americans — large enough to swing elections — can be in favor of or opposed to a policy simply as a matter of whether “their guy” is in the Oval Office. This behavior may be incompatible with citizenship of a self-governing nation, but it would fit right in with the attitude of the mobs thronging the Coliseum in the late Roman Empire: whether the “blues” or the “greens” won the game was more important to them than their self-respect as citizens.


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