For a conservative who seeks to conserve the tradition of constitutional liberty bequeathed to Americans by their Founders, the spectacle of self-sworn apostles of liberty in the so-called “conservative” media calling for Edward Snowden’s head on a platter is a painful one to behold. Yet neither is this sight particularly gratifying to those of us who prize sober thinking, for the logic underwriting these calls is as woeful as the rhetoric is irrational.
If, as Snowden (to say nothing of legions of other Americans) believes, the NSA has acted unconstitutionally, this means that it has acted illegally, for the Constitution is the fundamental law of the land. Those (including sympathizers such as Rand Paul) who think that Snowden should be punished for “violating” his contractual obligations as a government employee speak nonsense, for no employee, in any profession, is legally bound to perpetrate, either directly or obliquely, an illegality. It is exactly and only because Snowden believed that the NSA was acting illegally (unconstitutionally) that he blew the whistle in the first place.
To accuse him of being a traitor or criminal is to beg the question here.
To the objection that no federal court that has looked at the NSA’s methods have yet found them to be in circumvention of the Constitution, we need only note that the objection boils down to this: The federal government has declared that the federal government is acting constitutionally.
The objectors should take our reply for what it’s worth as they ponder that the federal courts have also declared the constitutional rights of slave masters to their slaves, women to abortion on demand, and state governments to force racial segregation.
This notion that Snowden is a “traitor” is also puzzling. Who did he betray, and how did he betray them?
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