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Joe Klein’s Grand Illusion

Joe Klein just wrote a piece for TIME that sets history on its head and wants readers to think that the government is a grand protector of our rights. I hate to tell Mr. Klein this but the advancement of rights in this nation has almost always come after much violence and death. I do not need to run through the numerous examples do I? The idea that we should simply trust the government is a bad bet and one that has led to the deaths of many.

Klein speaks of a “paranoid tinge.” Were those killed during Reconstruction paranoid? Were those subject to internment camps paranoid? Were women who were jailed and subjected to force feeding paranoid as they fought for the right to vote? Were those subject to having their mail opened under President Wilson, paranoid?

Klein gives away his political tinge when his example for a rogue government cites President Nixon. This obligatory smear was expected but odd since Mr. Nixon (arguably) did more for the rights of African Americans, Native Americans, Women and Latinos than anyone to hold the office. That is a topic for a future post.

Klein says we have a “libertarian” streak encoded in our DNA. Has Mr. Klein read the recent decision in Maryland v. King? That DNA he spoke of, is now open for inspection. Does Mr. Klein think we are paranoid? Quoting from the Scalia dissent in Maryland v. King- “… But I doubt that the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection.”

Mr. Klein, what you call “paranoia” helped forge this nation. Don’t ever confuse paranoia with vigilance.

(This an updated post from a 2013 original piece)


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