Patterico asked his readers a great question yesterday:
I was listening to one of my favorite voices on the economy, Peter Schiff, when he made a comment about the latest revelations by Edward Snowden, whom he considers a hero. Schiff said that he is more scared of the government’s powers than he is of anything the terrorists might do to him.
It got me thinking: a big part of the way people view the actions of a guy like Snowden has to do with this fundamental question: which concerns you more? The government’s far-reaching surveillance abilities combined with its power to investigate, harass, incarcerate, and perhaps even kill (at least by seeking the death penalty) its citizens? Or the terrorists, who may not always be in the forefront of our minds, but whose top aim is to kill us all, and would be thrilled to do so with a nuclear weapon if they could?
In short, which frightens you more: the government, or the terrorists?
Stop now and answer the poll.
Seriously. Go over there and answer the poll.
Then come back here.
I answered government, and for why, I’ll go way back to June 29, 2008 and my article, “What is the #1 Threat to America?”
What is the chief threat to the American way of life? What is there that could possibly destroy over 200 years of history, could change the mindset of the American, could bring the strongest country in the world to its knees?
Is it Islamic terrorism? There are so many groups out there now, killing in the name of Islam. Chief among them is Al-Qaeda, who has succeeded in attacking the United States on many different occasions. Aside from Al-Qaeda, there is Hamas, Hezbollah and others almost too numerous to mention. Are these organizations the number one threat to America?
On their best day, they have killed thousands, only to unify the country against them. If they ever acquired a nuclear weapon, I do not doubt they would use it. They would happily destroy any major United States city in one fell blow. But that would not destroy America.
Every time they hit us, we hit them back, harder than they expected. And while they can kill thousands of our countrymen, they cannot kill our country. Islamic terrorism is a grave threat that needs addressed, but it is not the number one threat to America.
Is it China? The giant country is growing in military power and has so many spies working against the United States, some have claim it to be the biggest threat to America. But in a toe-to-toe, knock down drag out fight, the United States could soundly defeat China.
The left would have us believe that global warming is the issue of our generation. They have one doomsday scenario after another, describing the effects of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We are told that alreadythe world’s most important crops are suffering because of the increased heat, and if we don’t stop belching tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the glaciers will melt and our coastlines will flood. Yet those who preach the life of sacrifice for Mother Earth live in ways that consume more energy than you and I do in years, and are making millions off of the greatest scam in history.
There are other threats brought up each day. The bird flu is going to kill us any day now, and SARS is without a doubt going to cause world wide chaos. Blowhard Hugo Chavez is clamoring about cutting off our oil supply from Venezuela and for some reason Russia keeps sending bombers over our air craft carriers. By themselves each is a threat, but they are not the biggest threat to America.
If it is none of the above, what is left?
It is through incrementalism that freedom can turn to tyranny.
Some say it already has. I can agree with that.
The government tells you how much water your toilet can use.
How much miles your car must get to the gallon of gas.
What must be covered by your insurance company.
Government impacts your life every day. Government uses force against you, every day.
When was the last time a terrorist looted your check or threatened your Second Amendment rights?