A wave of controversy has engulfed the issue of national security in recent years. Until recently, the justifications for our government’s security measures have been well understood. Americans have felt a warm sense of safety in the knowledge that our government was doing everything it could to preempt and prevent acts of terrorism. It was never a controversial issue, but rather a necessary evil that people accepted as moral and justified. So what has changed?
The answer is that the controversy has two main origins:
1. The growing threat of domestic terrorism and its implications for national security
2. The growing influence of conspiracy theorists and ‘libertarians’ on internet-based media platforms
This topic is a sensitive one, because many Americans see it as an accusation. They feel as if any implication that an American citizen could be responsible for an act of terrorism, immediately profiles them as a potential terrorist.
This notion is misguided for two reasons. Firstly, America’s national security efforts have never excluded Americans from the set of potential terrorists. The idea that an individual should be excluded from the list of potential terrorists simply because they are an American citizen is a dangerous one. Simply being born in America does not make you a patriot. Patriotism is a badge of honor that has to be earned, and you earn it by supporting your country in its efforts to spread the values that America stands for: Peace, Equality and Justice. There is no “get out of jail free” card that allows Americans to declare themselves guilt-free without continuously proving their loyalty to this country.
The second reason that this is that arguably American citizens are actually more likely to commit acts of terrorism than people from foreign countries, especially with the rise of anti-government hate groups such as the ‘Tea Party’ and ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movements. Both of these movements were founded on unfair accusations directed not only at respected congressmen but also senior professionals in the finance industry, some of whom are responsible for advising not only our government but also our Federal Reserve. These violent protests have ignited a disturbing undertone in America’s social framework, presenting a clear threat to the peace and stability of this nation.
Conspiracy Theorists and Libertarians
Some might think it unfair of me to put libertarians in the same category as conspiracy theorists, but since the overlap between the two is significant and both groups present a threat to our national security, I believe it is an appropriate association. The rise of these groups is responsible for much of the controversy surrounding national security for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is that both of these groups accuse the government of wrong-doing, and while conspiracy theorists baselessly accuse specific administrations and government agencies of and atrocious acts, libertarians will indict the entire concept of government agencies. This has caused a virus of paranoia to spread across the internet to the point at which many Americans now fear their own government. A natural corollary is that these groups are themselves more likely to commit acts of terrorism. Put these two facts together, and you have an increase in national security focused on domestic terrorism, coupled with an increase in mistrust of government.
The cold hard reality is that the NSA’s national security measures are both necessary and justified, especially when the risk of a domestic terror attack is greater than ever. It’s time for us to start rebuilding trust in our government and start building a safer and brighter world for our children. Libertarians and conspiracy theorists want you to live in fear, but deep down Americans know better. They know that national security requires sacrifices, and that our democratically elected officials can be trusted with administering our safety. It is the duty of every upstanding American to reawaken this responsible patriotism and restore our nation’s trust in democracy and the constitution.