This is Rand Paul’s hour or moment or whatever designation of time you wish to give. All the revelations of government invasion of personal privacy, whether it be in journalism or tax records or phone calls and web searches all come back to the argument both Rand and his father for even an longer period of time and that is the driving engine of the growth of the federal government is the national security/military/industrial complex. There is no other way around this argument.
Considering the scope of Federal government’s power and the potential abuse of that power over millions of citizens of this country, the idea that a laissez-faire philosophy towards the economy can be maintains while the Feds can happily snoop into your mail or harass your civic group in complex tax law is ridiculous. It is a Sam Francis version of anarcho-tyranny where businesses are free to hire illegal immigrants but you as a citizens are being watched 24/7 to make sure you don’t violate the law. You can be felt up by the TSA at the airport but fellow in business class can plan his tax shelters with his lawyer on the flight. Or governments can seize your land for private developers under eminent domain laws yet put you in jail for protesting such actions because you made a terrorist threat.
The natural absurdities in such a system are perfect targets for Rand Paul and others to both attack and create a standard to rally around in opposition. But all these “scandals” of the omnipotent state are also valuable educations to those well-meaning citizens who don’t want to be treated as a potential spy or enemy and yet seem to also want some sort security for their lives as well. Total security is not possible, certainly not when PFCs or young hipster IT people can leak classified information almost at will. Yet you will get the total state in return for this impossible dream and then they will tell you in order to get one you have to accept the other and chase it like a hamster on a wheel.
It’s also a wake up call for Rand to realize and understand what he is getting into. If elected President someday he will inherit all of this apparatus and it can easily control him if turn him into a limping capon as it has done to President Obama. If being means being a Prisoner of the State, then it is not worth it. The disillusion which would follow would be almost heartbreaking. The meaning of a Rand Paul presidency or even candidacy has to be the deconstruction of such a state. There is no other purpose, none that which a dozen other politicians could do the same. It is the meaning of the very movement which made Rand a senator to being with.
Say what you want about President Obama but at least under him the Democrat Party is starting to make sense: total security at home and total security in economy. This wasn’t always the case. In fact the opposite was true before the Clintons and Obamas occupied the White House. This only made the party look as silly as the GOP does now, pretending you can reduce government while keeping the same level of surveillance over the citizenry. If there is going to be an internal GOP conflict it will be between those who truly wish to reduce the power of the modern state and those who have come to terms with it (even if their rhetoric still lies), not between imaginary moderates and conservatives or the “establishment” and the Tea Party. Even if a Republican doesn’t win the White House the nominating process for President will be important if only to establish who is going to ultimately win this struggle. Either the party will be a true opposition to what the Democrats have become or be it’s “me too” shadow which so many Republicans are doing right now, falling all over themselves in agreeing with the President on the need for the total state. Rand can lead this opposition but he has to overcome his own fears of politics.