Point of View: Tut-Tut

Blake said there are two sorts — tyrants and the acquiescent victims of tyrants

    So, they say Edward Snowden is a traitor and yet they give those who reported on his public service work the Pulitzer Prize.

    The Obama administration admits that it has overstepped when it comes to its spying on all of us, and yet if Snowden returns to this country, they will leap upon him and prosecute him to the full extent of the law.

    And there were Mark Shields and David Brooks the other night, brows furrowed, tut-tutted, trying to reconcile the reporters’ prizes with the alleged infamy of what the source of the story did. But do they understand? They would probably not even be talking about this universal listening-in, which would still be going merrily on unbeknownst to us, had it not been for Snowden.

    Who cares? you may say. Obviously, we must give up some of our privacy in order for the state to do what it must do to protect us from those who intend us harm. When, though, does it get to the point — not that I’m saying it has as of yet — when those who are charged with looking after our best interests transmogrify into our betes-noires.

    It’s something to keep in mind. Blake said there are two sorts — tyrants and the acquiescent victims of tyrants. No, no, we don’t practice tyranny here, at least overtly. The income gap widens, ever widens, and yet we acquiesce in it. It’s not tyranny, it’s just the way things are in our democracy, you might say, where everyone has an equal say, as in one man, one woman, one vote. 

    Do we need a subversive Snowden to point out this subversion of system? He might risk jail time.

    As I was writing this, I discovered in the Sunday Times business section that there indeed is such a fellow, Thomas Piketty, who recently co-wrote a best seller that “debunks the idea that wealth raises all boats.” But he’s French.

    The Times followed up three days later with a front-page piece headlined “U.S. Middle Class Is No Longer World’s Richest.” While our richest still remain the richest, it said, our middle (I wonder if there still is one) class and poor have been outstripped by their counterparts in Canada and Western Europe.

    Oligarchs now reign in the land of the free. I think Aristotle said mob rule comes next.