Extended Stay Panopticon

We sort of knew we were in this prison. It was at least semi-self-imposed. But now it is harder to pretend that we did much of anything to frustrate the Obama administration’s normalization and legalization of this panopticon penitentiary (hat tip Jeremy Bentham, Michel Foucault, and just the other day Antonin Scalia).  Not so comfortable for those who hoped Barack Obama would do a better job upholding the Bill of Rights. Perhaps unsettling too for those who saw Dick Cheney do no wrong but find it hard to see Barack Obama do anything right (though the WSJ editorial today is typically in-your-face: “Thank You for Data-Mining”). It has been easy to see Senators Rand Paul and Ron Wyden as marginal figures up to now. With the cover blown on the scope of the dragnet, it is much harder to dismiss them as daft curiosities. Maintaining our own self-respect as free people is going to require more than most of us have yet given. Obama’s authority may have been pure-type charisma five years ago. Now we are compelled to face the prospect that he will be remembered (as he goes to meet Xi Jinping in California) as par excellence a mandarin bureaucrat.

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