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Leaks Are Good for Liberty

Posted 03/09/2017 11:38 am by with 0 comments

The White House is leaking like a sieve. Why should conservatives worry about this?

 

The federal government does everything it can to increase the secrecy of its operations. It invades our privacy, but it whines when any of the rest of us invade the privacy of government bureaucrats.

 

I am all in favor of WikiLeaks. I think WikiLeaks should be nonpartisan. I think it should expose anything that does not directly affect national security. In any case, the main thing that affects national security is America’s meddling in other nations’ affairs. We could reduce the threat of attacks on the United States by reducing American meddling in foreign nations’ affairs.

 

President Trump has complained about the number of leaks. This is good news. He seems unable to stop the leaks.

 

Leaks undermine the Presidency. That was why I was in favor of them during Obama’s administration. He was a master at controlling leaks. So was George W. Bush. That was bad for the American public generally. We needed more leaks regarding what both administrations were planning for America. We lost the war in Iraq, and we are losing the war in Afghanistan precisely because Bush was able to control the leaks associated with the unnecessary and illegal invasions of both nations. Congress went along with both invasions. But Congress, as always, did not follow the Constitution and declare war against these nations. It has not declared war against a nation since the declaration of war against Germany on December 11, 1941. Germany had already declared war on the United States.

 

The government loves to use this phrase: “Honest people have nothing to worry about when the government invades their privacy.” I think it is time for Americans to adopt the same response: “An honest President’s administration has nothing to fear from leaks.”

 

The existence of these leaks testifies to the fact that the American deep state is secretly monitoring the telephone calls of high American officials. This is a good thing. High American officials should get used to it. They don’t care when the deep state monitors the general public, so why should the general public care when the deep state monitors high-level officials in Washington?

 

This is called turnabout. Turnabout is fair play.



 

The American elite delights in the fact that the government invades the privacy of American citizens. The elite pushes us around, and it has a great time doing it. Why should we care if the White House is embarrassed by various forms of skullduggery committed by senior members of the White House? This keeps the White House on the defensive. Anything that keeps any branch of government on the defensive is positive.

 

Every time that the NSA or the CIA places a bug on the telephone of a White House official, the time involved and the money involved are being put to good use. The time and money are not being applied to monitoring private citizens, whose lives have been invaded by the deep state since 1946.

 

I think members of the White House staff should live in constant fear of being monitored. That would be positive. They deserve the same degree of fear and outrage that the rest of us suffer. Why let them off the hook?

 

The American media delight in exposing the foibles of White House officials. This is all to the good. I think this tradition is going to be maintained during the Presidency of whoever follows Trump. It is something of a media precedent. All of it undermines the Presidency. Why should this bother conservatives?

 

The media over the next four years will become addicted to a flow of leaked information. Addictions are difficult to break. Precedents are being set. Leakers are getting away with what used to be regarded as murder. The more that the media have exposed the chicanery of Presidents and their staffs, the better it has been for liberty in general.

 

It was a great thing that Nixon was driven out of office. I thought so at the time. This was a check on the expansion of federal power. It benefited Democrats in Congress, but it is better to strengthen Congress in relationship to the Presidency than the other way around. Voters have some minimal degree of control over what Congress does. Voters have no control over what a President does in between elections.

 

The mainstream media will find it difficult to reverse course after the next President is inaugurated. There will always be hotshot reporters who get tipped off. Editors who are using leaks to increase readership today will find it difficult to stop this tactic when a new President comes into power. We saw this under Nixon. The leaking of the Pentagon papers was basic to American journalism. It broke the taboo. Daniel Ellsberg did not go to jail. That was a good thing.

 

I regard leaks as an extension of the Freedom of Information Act. The more leaks there are, the better it is for liberty.

 

The more fearful that the White House is about leaks, the less likely that the White House will be able to sneak some program or policy by the American people. Trump should be open about his goals. He should pursue them openly. He should tell his supporters what he is doing, and then he should do it. He should not wait for a leak to reveal what he is planning to do. Instead of getting caught, he should get tough. His supporters will appreciate this.

 

The real action is with the Federal Register. Nobody ever talks about the Federal Register. Bureaucracies crank out 80,000 pages a year of regulations. Rarely are regulations repealed. With or without ObamaCare, American liberty is going to shrink by 80,000 pages this year. Regulation by regulation, our freedom of action is constrained.

 

What we need is leaks from every federal bureaucracy. We need greater exposure of these invisible people. We need them to live in fear of exposure. The trouble is, nobody is interested in what the federal government’s bureaucracy does on a day-to-day basis. That is a great benefit to the bureaucrats.

 

I end with my favorite scene in one of my favorite movies, Absence of Malice (1981). A senior federal official is investigating a series of newspaper stories on what was going on inside a federal investigation unit. The unit was involved in a series of illegal activities against an innocent private citizen, played by Paul Newman. Newman designs a retaliation scheme based on what he knew would happen. The media exposed private information on him. He had set a booby trap for the Feds. It exploded.

 

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