Why we don't trust government

  • 19 November 2014
  • NormanL
Why we don't trust government - Big Government

For 50 years, Gallup has polled Americans about what they see as the biggest threat to the country in the future. In 2013, a whopping 72 percent said "big government." Even a majority (56 percent) of democrats">Democrats agreed.

When do we hold government in such low regard? Starting with revelations that the FBI was behind an effort in the early 1960s to convince Martin Luther King, Jr. to kill himself, Reason's Nick Gillespie offers a few recent examples of why we just don't trust the folks in D.C:

In the 21st century, we worry less about the government ratting out our sex lives and more about it tapping our phones, reading our emails, secretly dispatching drones abroad, sending “desperate and dumb” mash notes to Iranian fascists, and generally lying about its true goals and actions. “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles” announced the Times in 2012, clearly uncomfortable with the implications of its own expose (“Secret ‘Kill List’ Reveals Obama’s Principles” would have been more accurate).

So it’s fitting that the letter to King, one of the government’s most despicable acts of domestic surveillance, has only fully come to light in the age of Wikileaks, Edward Snowden, and what Barack Obama promised was going to be the “most transparent administration” in U.S. history.

Alas, when it comes to openness, Barack Obama  neglected to mention that the most disturbing revelations would happen in spite of—not because of—his actions. We didn’t learn that the president’s former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, former CIA director Keith Alexander, and current CIA director John Brennan all lied to congress">Congress because the administration suddenly decided to come clean.

Americans have always had some level of distrust toward the federal government. But as government has grown even bigger, and attempts to dictate (and spy on) more and more areas of our daily lives, it's only natural that our distrust would grow along with it.

It's time for us to turn that distrust into concrete action -- and put the government back inside its constitutional box.