So, a buddy of ours was informed recently by his superiors at work that they were aware of his internet musings on politics and culture and let us just say for the sake of clarification that "aware of" was not made in the context of "Hey, we're big fans, where do we sign up?"
Our jovially cantankerous moral scold was sufficiently freaked out about this to the point that he related that he may scale back his activity on the 'net while simultaneously seeking in-house legal counsel. Legal bubbas told him management had no grounds to interfere in any manner in any legal activity he chose to pursue outside of work. We weren't privy to the conversation but the foundation for this rationale was most likely deeply rooted in the 1st amendment of this nation's Constitution - you may have heard of it.
Good news, right? Wrong. Yes, perhaps justice and sanity won out in the end, but the damage had been done. The fact that our friend actually had to consider the consequences of his actions with respect to his workplace meant that the bad guys had snuck in a left hook on free speech to the extent our friend felt/feels compelled to keep watching his own back. We guess this is what is meant by putting a "chill" on things, kind of like how the Department of Justice has put a "chill" on reporters, you know, doing their job by snooping on their phone records as is the case with 20 Associated Press reporters and Fox News' James Rosen in two separate leak investigations.
Now, as recently, perhaps as 6 months ago we may have told our friend he was over-reacting to this and that maybe some time off from work rather than blogging might do his inner worker bee some good.
Folks, at this point, it very much appears we have a rogue government on our hands. The aforementioned DOJ investigations, the IRS harassment of conservative groups and the NSA snooping of U.S. citizens all without any seeming consequences rather smug denials of knowledge and/or responsibility and worse yet, reassignments, paid admin. leave and even promotions for people central to these crises (again, we refuse to call these scandals as to our knowledge, no one was getting laid as a result of this lawlessness).
Yes, we very much have a Constitutional crisis on our hands as the very institutions we formerly trusted to uphold the law and that constitution are quite openly and quite shamelessly working to tear them down.
The following is a related missive from our friend that was passed along to a group of his friends which he did not want to post on his own site and also which we believe there was an implied permission granted to share with you all:
On Friday, I worked at Catholic Charities food resource center. On Saturday, my wife and I taught the remarriage class for the Diocese. It's really weird, but the more of these things I do, the less American I feel. At the class, my wife and I worked to help people understand the problems and prepare for the issues of remarriage and blended families. It was great, but at the same time, in the back of my mind, I knew my government was actively working to hurt me and my faith. It's not that the government was indifferent, which I would fully accept, it was that it was pointlessly trying to hurt us through the HHS mandate.
We were working to keep society together while Sandra Fluke was giving speeches at the winning side's national convention and while the government actively looked the other way so Dr. Gosnell could slaughter babies.
I'm not disloyal or traitorous and I'm not going to pick up a rifle and go all Cristados, but I just can't help but think about this stuff.
Dittos for the Catholic Charities stuff. Many of our customers can't speak a bit of English despite being in the country for years. I used to get ticked off at this as an American, knowing it was idiotic not to have a common language. But now I see them as images of Christ and only want to help them. If the rest of America votes to give them government assistance and education in their own language, that's their problem, not mine. My problem is to love them.
I'm not leaving, I'm not giving up on fighting for what we collectively believe in through legal and proper means, it's just something I can't help thinking as I become more active within the Church.
It's such a tragedy that in working to improve society and help the poor I feel alienated from my government.
PS - And if you must know, we make all clients at the food resource center and all the people in the class sign a statement swearing they will always hate gays. It's just what we do. All the time. Talk about gays. "Gays, gays, gays!" that's us.
So, the NSA was in league with our boy's employers in "monitoring" the activity of law-abiding Americans? No. (Well, nothing is off the table at this point but for the sake of discussion let's assume the two are entirely separate abuses of power).
In short, we see this as the gradual march of statism through our nation's institutions that has occurred over the past 40-50 years to the point we now have an entrenched institutional bias in our governmental institutions. An institutional bias that is inherently opposed to free speech and the exercise thereof and of other freedoms and liberties we have for so long taken for granted (please see also the 2nd, 4th and 5th amendments).
(Side note: We find no end to the irony that this collectivist/statist ideological bent finds its roots in the Free Speech movement and the New Left of the 60s.)
Yeah, our statist friends figured it out pretty easily and moved forward with the master plan leaving us conservative/libertarian types scratching our heads wondering from whence came that 2x4 upside our collective heads. Of course, this can be rationally explained away as a structural disadvantage as a goal of conservo-libertarianism is to decrease the influence of government institutions in our daily lives. Sheesh. How is that effective do-nothing passiveness any strategy for preventing a former constitutional republic from descending into tyranny?
Closing thought: If, by now, you are not a Constitutional radical, you haven't been paying attention or perhaps you are, indeed, a patsy for tyranny.
(Addendum #1: The Beltway establishment types, Democrat and Republican alike, all crawled out of their holes on the Sunday talk shows to defend the NSA super-surveillance program citing various unnamed terror plots it had help foil. With the Tsarnaev brothers, the Fort Hood shooter and the Christmas Day bomber, to name just a few, all hiding in plain sight and all going quite un-foiled, the political class hacks are going to have to do a lot better job in convincing us than they did yesterday.
And let's just say we're 100% wrong and that the NSA super-duper citizen snooper program is teh most awesome counter-terror program ever all without infringing upon anyone's civil liberties, how can increased scrutiny and skepticism of the government ever be a bad thing?)