Thursday, December 12, 2013

Time's Runner-up Man of the Year

This is not about Time magazine's Man of the Year, the compassionate and deserving Pope Francis, but rather the runner-up, Edward Snowden, who rocked the National Security Agency and the Obama administration in 2013 with his leak of secret documents about the government's surveillance activities. A trial, if there ever is one, will reveal if Snowden is a traitor for showing our adversaries what our spying capabilities are, or hero for telling us "Big Government" is watching.

In the meantime, let's remember William Allen White's letter To an Anxious Friend Published in The Emporia Gazette July 27, 1922.

You tell me that law is above freedom of utterance. And I reply that you can have no wise laws nor free entertainment of wise laws unless there is free expression of the wisdom of the people - and, alas, their folly with it. But if there is freedom, folly will die of its own poison, and the wisdom will survive. ... You say that freedom of utterance is not for time of stress, and I reply with the sad truth that only in time of stress is freedom of utterance in danger. No one questions it in calm days, because it is not needed. And the reverse is true also; only when free utterance is suppressed is it needed, and when it is needed, it is most vital to justice. ... So, dear friend, put fear out of your heart. This nation will survive, this state will prosper, the orderly business of life will go forward if only men can speak in whatever way given them to utter what their hearts hold .... Reason has never failed men. Only force and repression have made the wrecks in the world.
 Full letter.

No comments:

Post a Comment