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Qui Tacet Consentire Videtur

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I wanted to share with you a quote from an article by Harry Goslin that exemplifies American's passive acceptance of inferior governance as well as state-sponsored total surveillance. The title of Mr. Goslin's piece is Incompetence and Poor Results OK When Government Delivers the Goods.
If a department store put cameras in the dressing rooms to protect itself and its customers against the costs associated with shoplifting, Americans would be outraged.  Would management get a free pass if it just said, "Well, if you're not a shoplifter, don't worry about it.  Go about your business and shut your face!  After all, we watch all customers to protect you from the dishonest ones"?  Whenever this happens, it always makes national news because most sane Americans would find this practice not only objectionable, but also criminal.  Regardless of the seemingly endless apologies for a bad management decision and promises to right the wrong, many loyal customers would vote with their feet and go somewhere else.   
When the government does essentially the same thing with the phone calls of millions of Americans, it's no big deal.  After all, the world has changed since 9/11.  And President Bush assured us that the government would not listen in on the phone conversations of the "innocent."  Government said it's for your own good and Americans, evidently more confident of a guarantee coming from government than one coming from a good or service provider in the private sector, agreed.  Evidently Bush has some character traits or way about him that Bill Gates and Dave Thomas do not.

I suspect that the problem lies not with some magical character traits possessed by Bush, but in something which the American people can do without even lifting a finger. Specifically, Qui Tacet Consentire Videtur -- He who is silent seems to agree. It is far easier for Americans to turn a blind eye to atrocities committed by their government so long as it doesn't directly effect them. Edmund Burke once said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." So, I'll ask, "Where is your voice? Are you really content to stand idly by while your government destroys all our sacred freedoms and liberties?"


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