Ten years ago, if you asked people if the government was involved in manipulating public opinion or leaning on social media companies or spying on presidential candidates, very few people would have agreed. Those who did think this was the case were branded conspiracy theorists. Today, most people just seem to accept that this is now the way things are done in our democracy.
It is hard to know if this is really the case, but the lack of public outrage over the stream of revelations about government pressure on social media companies suggests people are not surprised by it. Maybe most people are still processing it, as no one was raised to think they lived in a police state. Possibly the lack of mainstream coverage lets the public ignore what they would prefer not to face.
When you look back at the last time the public learned they were secretly being manipulated and spied upon by the secret police, the reaction of today feels like capitulation in comparison to how people reacted fifty years ago. …
This new version of the Church Committee that the Republican House is planning is sure to turn into a circus. The reason is the Democrats will go out of their way to make it as ridiculous as possible. They will appoint their craziest members to be on the committee investigating the secret police. The media will be tasked with discrediting the whole thing as an assault on our democracy!
Already the DOJ is telling the new Church Committee not to expect cooperation.
Of course, we can now see that the original Church Committee was a show to placate the public and did nothing to limit the secret police. When you look at the programs that were revealed during that time, you see that they never actually ended. They just became part of the standard operating procedure. In fact, the secret police are far more invasive and abusive now than at anytime in its existence.
Even so, it is a good comparison. Fifty years ago, the people in charge felt it necessary to convince the public that they had reined in their secret police. Today they think it is funny that the secret police are manipulating the media, pressuring social media companies and harassing citizens over their opinions. It either means they no longer think they need to maintain the lie or they are unable to do it. …
Maybe the lesson the secret police learned from the Church Committee is that they need better control of the politicians. The reason they are so brazen today is they know they have nothing to fear from Congress. If they can raid the villa of a former president, what can they do to a pesky congressman. Perhaps like the Praetorian Guards, the secret police have assumed control of the system.
With a dumber, more distracted, less informed population, the secret police can be afford to be less secret and more forceful. Will the trend turn around anytime soon?