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WASHINGTON — A number of libertarians and conservative populists have found data collection by the National Security Agency to be the final confirmation of their worst fears about Barack Obama and modern government. It is an attempt, according to Ron Paul, to “deliberately destroy the Constitution.” To radio talk show host Mark Levin, it reveals “the elements of a police state.” To Rush Limbaugh, it is part of a “coup d’etat” by the Obama “regime.”
Some on the right believe, as they say in the intel business, that they have connected the dots. All the scandals are really part of one big scandal. For Levin, it encompasses abuses by the IRS, the collection of DNA by policemen, Obamacare’s centralization of medical records and the use of domestic drones. “The Transportation Department, people forget, has proposed black boxes in all of our automobiles to track how they function,” Levin adds.
Limbaugh presents a similar list, demonstrating what he calls “the totalitarian nature or the authoritarian nature of this administration,” and homes in on the NSA revelations: “The main question is, why is such a gigantic surveillance operation even necessary? What is really going on here? Who is the enemy? The tea party, we know, is an enemy of the administration. We know that conservative Republicans — and I could give you names — are enemies of this administration.”
Let me stipulate that the IRS targeting of tea party groups is deeply disturbing and Eric Holder’s Justice Department is politicized, swaggering and incompetent. Distrust of government is deep in the American DNA, and the Obama administration has often managed to justify it.
But asserting that American intelligence agencies are part of a conspiracy that somehow includes a national gun registry, drone surveillance and Lois Lerner crosses a line. It is one thing to oppose the policies of the administration; it is another to call for resistance against a “regime” and a “police state.” It is the difference between skepticism about government and hatred for government. And it raises the question: How is it even possible to love such an Amerika?
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