Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Knowledge is power, and absolute knowledge is absolute power

Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order […] and the like.

William O. Douglas, Points of Rebellion , 1970

Each person knows something they don’t want other people to know about. That they will give almost anything to conceal.

Be they a saint, be they a libertine or someone who lives a very public life, still there will be something.

It might not be a secret sin. It might be a memory of a lost love. Or knowledge of a crime for which the wrong person went to jail. Or a family issue of incest or abuse. Or any of a long litany of small horribles.

This is the danger represented by the US Other Government Agencies (and there are a lot, not just the familiar three letter ones). By compiling transactional and source data a profile can be built for a person by which their secrets can be revealed. Even the fear that this *might* happen will be a a strong motivator for most.

The data being gathered by these agencies and their civilian counterparts like Choicepoint, Palantir, Berico, ManTech, Stratfor, Booz Allen, Equifax, and Lockheed Martin when made available through a single conspectus view, means that essentially there are no secrets. At least no assurance of secrecy.

A democracy, or any political system but a tyranny, cannot survive the existence of an elite which arrogates to itself the power to know everything about everyone all the time, and the means to keep that knowledge secret from everyone else.

Copyright © 2013 Henry Edward Hardy

22 October, 2013 Posted by | capitalism, censorship, Central Intelligence Agency, ChoicePoint, CIA, commander-in-chief, covert operations, Equifax, knowledge, media, politics, power, privacy, quotations, scanlyze, surveillance, William O. Douglas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civilian Control of the Military?

This was written in response to a thread on the facebook group, The Constitution of the United States of America, titled, Do you think a President should have to serve in the military because he is Commander in Chief?

To ask, “Do you think a President should have to serve in the military because he is Commander in Chief?” is completely the wrong way of posing this question. The proper way of framing it is, “Do you think that the Commander-in-Chief should always be a civilian, elected President, in order to secure a democratic republic from military control?”

As James Madison said: “In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive, will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.” [1]

This principle of civilian control has been and remains the fundamental precept upon which the command and control of the US Armed Forces depends and from which it draws its legitimacy:

“From the birth of democracy in ancient Greece, the idea of the citizen-soldier has been the single most important factor to shape the Western way of war. In a democracy, combatants bear arms as equals, fighting to defend their ideals and way of life. They are citizens with a stake in the society they have vowed to defend. They do not fight as mercenaries, nor are they guided by coercion or allegiance to the whims of a dictatorial leader. Rather, their motivation stems from a selfless commitment to an idea that far exceeds the interests of any individual member of the society. For the armed forces officer of the United States, this ethos began with the militiamen who defended their homes, secured the frontier, and won a war of independence against the most formidable military power of that era. The American military tradition has since been governed by a strict adherence to the primacy of civilian control and, within that framework, has continued to champion the role of the citizen-soldier as the defender of the nation’s ideals.” [2]

[1] Max Farrand. 1911. Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1:465. Civilian control of the military

[2] The Armed Forces Officer. Chapter 1
The Citizen-Soldier—An American Tradition of Military Service p. 21

Copyright © 2010 Henry Edward Hardy

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14 April, 2010 Posted by | armed forces, commander-in-chief, Constitution, control, democratic, government, military, officer, politics, President, republic, scanlyze, tradition, US, USA | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment