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The Letter of State's Preservation

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Isn't it funny how two seemingly unconnected articles will come into view just at the right moment in time, one making the other more clear? I was reading this article ("ABC Claims Government Traced Its Reporters' Calls") at The New York Sun. The article explains how the government is tracing the phone calls of reporters in a way that seems to be outside the legal "norm." The article then explains what this longstanding norm is:
Under longstanding Justice Department regulations, prosecutors who subpoena a journalist's phone records are required to notify the reporter involved within 90 days of obtaining the records. The regulations state that, in most cases, subpoenas should not be issued until after an attempt is made to negotiate access with the reporter.
This seems pretty reasonable to me. But apparently it's not quite good enough for our government in this new age of operating under super-duper-super-secrecy. The article goes on to tell how the government has been getting around the law by using those controversial national security letters (see Patriot Act, circa 2001). It's nice to see the anti-terrorism bill being used in a way in which it was created for. That's right: to chill political dissent. How do I know this? Let's look at the second article.
Article number two isn't so much an article as it is an excerpt from an essay by Murray N. Rothbard titled The Anatomy of the State. This essay is itself part of a larger work titled, "Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays." In reading this excerpt, we come to a section that explains how the state preserves itself through a variety of means. One method that stood out was the joining of the state with "intellectuals." In this day, I read this to include the main stream media.
So, we have one article explaining how the government doesn't like the media's attack, and a second that explains the methods that government employs to subjugate the "intellectuals" under their control. This paints a pretty clear picture to me. National security letters are nothing more than instruments of control. They enable the government to subvert restrictions put in place by the citizenry to protect themselves from tyrannical government. The government, in an effort to preserve itself, has come up with these national security letters to skirt those restrictions.
But, hey, don't take my word for it. Read it for yourself:
How the State Preserves Itself
Once a State has been established, the problem of the ruling group or "caste" is how to maintain their rule.[7] While force is their modus operandi, their basic and long-run problem is ideological. For in order to continue in office, any government (not simply a "democratic" government) must have the support of the majority of its subjects. This support, it must be noted, need not be active enthusiasm; it may well be passive resignation as if to an inevitable law of nature. But support in the sense of acceptance of some sort it must be; else the minority of State rulers would eventually be outweighed by the active resistance of the majority of the public. Since predation must be supported out of the surplus of production, it is necessarily true that the class constituting the State -- the full-time bureaucracy (and nobility) -- must be a rather small minority in the land, although it may, of course, purchase allies among important groups in the population. Therefore, the chief task of the rulers is always to secure the active or resigned acceptance of the majority of the citizens.[8] [9]
Of course, one method of securing support is through the creation of vested economic interests. Therefore, the King alone cannot rule; he must have a sizable group of followers who enjoy the prerequisites of rule, for example, the members of the State apparatus, such as the full-time bureaucracy or the established nobility.[10] But this still secures only a minority of eager supporters, and even the essential purchasing of support by subsidies and other grants of privilege still does not obtain the consent of the majority. For this essential acceptance, the majority must be persuaded by ideology that their government is good, wise and, at least, inevitable, and certainly better than other conceivable alternatives. Promoting this ideology among the people is the vital social task of the "intellectuals." For the masses of men do not create their own ideas, or indeed think through these ideas independently; they follow passively the ideas adopted and disseminated by the body of intellectuals. The intellectuals are, therefore, the "opinion-molders" in society. And since it is precisely a molding of opinion that the State most desperately needs, the basis for age-old alliance between the State and the intellectuals becomes clear.
The "intellectuals" must be controlled lest the State lose it's grip over the masses. To this end, the State will use any means necessary to maintain this perverted alliance. The State's actions, referring back to the first article, sends a clear message to others that any dissent will not be tolerated.


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