David Brooks impresses me with his piece in The New York Times on Edward Snowden. I don’t agree with a lot of his conclusions, but I like that Brooks doesn’t leap at the chance to use Snowden as a blunt instrument against President Obama, as some conservatives are doing.
More importantly, I think, is that Brooks takes aim at modern libertarianism, which has often been a strange bedfellow with today’s Republican party.
If you live a life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society, perhaps it makes sense to see the world a certain way: Life is not embedded in a series of gently gradated authoritative structures: family, neighborhood, religious group, state, nation and world. Instead, it’s just the solitary naked individual and the gigantic and menacing state.
This lens makes you more likely to share the distinct strands of libertarianism that are blossoming in this fragmenting age: the deep suspicion of authority, the strong belief that hierarchies and organizations are suspect, the fervent devotion to transparency, the assumption that individual preference should be supreme. You’re more likely to donate to the Ron Paul for president campaign, as Snowden did.
Brooks does not overtly condemn the Tea Party but I can’t help but think he has them in mind when he writes the following:
But Big Brother is not the only danger facing the country. Another is the rising tide of distrust, the corrosive spread of cynicism, the fraying of the social fabric and the rise of people who are so individualistic in their outlook that they have no real understanding of how to knit others together and look after the common good.
Cosmo Explains It All For You…
Cosmo puts the Edward Snowden/NSA leak story into perspective… not an especially rational one, mind you, but a perspective nonetheless.
Will “Cosmo” finally crack the secret to “mindblowing” sex?
According to a new profile of Snowden in The Guardian, before he made the decision to come forward, Snowden was a contractor for NSA with a cushy paycheck (about $200,000) and a long-term girlfriend in Hawaii. But, as he’s said in interviews, knowing about the encroaching on the private lives of citizens was weighing heavily on him…
So he told his clueless girlfriend — you can only imagine what she might be feeling now — that he had to take a trip, and bailed. Considering he’s deep in hiding now, it is safe to assume that this is probably the first she’s heard about him since. It’s understandable why he would not want to involve her, but difficult to imagine your boyfriend being caught up in one of the largest scandals our country’s ever seen. She’s probably terrified that the government will question her due to her affiliation with Snowden, even if she knows nothing about his plans.
Maybe she’s turned on by his commitment to transparency. Maybe dating a fugitive long distance will make the heart grow fonder. But if not, this is going to be one dramatic breakup.
The author lists Snowden’s “long-term girlfriend” like one of the nifty accessories he sacrificed for principle, along with his “cushy paycheck.” Because the author has done nothing resembling journalism, she asks us to “imagine what (Snowden’s girlfriend) might be feeling now.” Like Han Solo, I can “imagine quite a bit,” but I’d hope that a professional publication wouldn’t rely on my imagination to fill in the blanks. This isn’t Muppet Babies.
And it’s it possible that Snowden’s girlfriend admires and respects his decision rather than it simply “turning her on” like some Pavlovian dog with a fetish for candor: “Blow the whistle, baby! Blow it!”
Anyway, I’m glad that Cosmo pointed out that aside from facing possible charges of treason, Snowden might have to re-enter the dating pool.
Posted by Stephen Robinson on June 11, 2013 in Political Theatre, Social Commentary
Tags: Cosmopolitan, Edward Snowden