It can’t be wrong because everybody does it

It is rapidly becoming conventional wisdom, because of the determined effort to repeat it at every opportunity by supporters of the NSA and the national security state in general, that all these revelations of government spying is no big deal. Didn’t these people’s mothers’ tell them what mothers all over the globe tell their children when they ask to do something because all their friends are doing it: “If they jump over a cliff, are you going to jump too?”

Stephen Colbert takes on this idea.

(These clips aired on October 28, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)


  1. says

    I would say, in some respects, the news is no big deal, but the facts are, and the way some parts of our government behave are, and always have been, a big deal.

    I don’t know which angles are worse: The idea that what the NSA (etc.) do is good, that it is no big deal, that people are too jaded to care, that there is no point in caring because it has been going on forever, or that this is some new terrible thing that OBAMA DID IT just last week. They are all such terribly stupid mindsets.

  2. doublereed says

    There will always be complacency about secret policies. They’re secret, so how are we supposed to vote about them or change things?

    This is why espionage needs to be open and honest. We need to be tell the American people what we’re spying on and to what extent we’re spying (obviously the actual information/methods can be secret). This is the only we’d be able to decide as a society what we want to do.

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