When the British first sent colonies to America, the new arrivals were given a large amount of freedom to grow industry, worship as they saw fit, and expand territory on the continent under the ultimate authority and protection of the British Empire. It was only later, when bad kings and finance ministers began restricting the economic rights of the colonists, that rebellious tensions began to grow, creating a spiral that made revolution against England inevitable.
And at the heart of this force that drove the colonists to revolution was a small band of instigators, who like Martin Luther nearly three centuries before, raised questions through the written word that started a movement which would not only change the world, but force many who were content with the status quo to come to the realization that no government or organization can take ones freedom away unless the men under authority choose enslavement first.
For the colonists who would become the founders of the United States, the central figure that lit the fire for change was a man named Thomas Paine. Brought over to the new world with the help of Benjamin Franklin, Paine grew up to become many things, including a publisher, and pen one of the most important essays in American history. And like someone in the future who would be targeted as an enemy of the state for his speaking out against the establishment, Paine lived his life after publishing Common Sense with the threat of treason standing over his head, and forever looking over his shoulder for government officials to imprison or hang him for this crime.
239 years after the event that birthed the United States, and eventually, the great American empire, the people of this continent are once again at a crossroads where their appointed authorities are seeking to enslave the citizens through economic and political restrictions. And like in 1776, one man is again risking his life to sound the clarion call of the evils of an empire and is doing so through the missives of the published word.
That man is Edward Snowden, and because of his brave actions which were grounded in taking things the government wished to remain secret and nefarious, and publishing them for not just America but for all the world to see, his ‘whistleblowing’ is creating a movement that for the first time in decades is raising the awareness of the American people, and helping to create tensions that have the State terrified of its ‘colonists’ who may be finally waking up.
It has been two years ago since Edward Snowden released to the world a trove of proof that the NSA, the US’ top spy organization, had been focused as much on spying on its own people as on threats from abroad, in the process crushing countless constitutional civil and personal liberties. For his whistleblowing efforts, he was forced into self-appointed exile in Russia to avoid a lengthy prison sentence in the US.
Which is ironic, because on June 2, with the passage of the “Freedom Act” (which actually is an acronym for Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping,Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring Act), the NSA’s recording of US electronic communications officially ended, in effect validating Snowden’s efforts at halting the US conversion into a totalitarian police state. – Zerohedge
And on this two year anniversary of Snowden’s ‘Common Sense’ moment, the 21st century Thomas Paine had this to say in reflection.
TWO years ago today, three journalists and I worked nervously in a Hong Kong hotel room, waiting to see how the world would react to the revelation that the National Security Agency had been making records of nearly every phone call in the United States. In the days that followed, those journalists and others published documents revealing that democratic governments had been monitoring the private activities of ordinary citizens who had done nothing wrong.
Within days, the United States government responded by bringing charges against me under World War I-era espionage laws. The journalists were advised by lawyers that they risked arrest or subpoena if they returned to the United States. Politicians raced to condemn our efforts as un-American, even treasonous.
Privately, there were moments when I worried that we might have put our privileged lives at risk for nothing — that the public would react with indifference, or practiced cynicism, to the revelations.
Never have I been so grateful to have been so wrong.
Two years on, the difference is profound. In a single month, the N.S.A.’s invasive call-tracking program was declared unlawful by the courts and disowned by Congress. After a White House-appointed oversight board investigation found that this program had not stopped a single terrorist attack, even the president who once defended its propriety and criticized its disclosure has now ordered it terminated.
This is the power of an informed public. – New York Times
Americans today are less sophisticated, but have greater access to information than they did in the time of the American Revolution. Yet most Americans are also more reliant upon the government for their existence than the colonists were in North America nearly 240 years ago. But because of the mathematical truth that only a small portion of a whole can cause change while the rest of the equation remains the same, the only question becomes… is there a 3% out there now to parallel the 3% that physically stood against the British Empire and won out over the most powerful entity of the day?
That answer remains to be seen, but for certain, the effects of Snowden’s revelations are proving out to be the same catalyst that Common Sense was for the people on this continent in 1776.
Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for Secretsofthefed.com, Examiner.com, Roguemoney.net, and To the Death Media, and hosts the popular web blog, The Daily Economist. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.