Friday, March 25, 2011

Why We Should Have Access to All Government Employee Emails

Paul Krugman has come out against government snooping. As per usual, he has everything backwards.

The government should never, ever, be allowed to look at private emails of private citizens. As I have written before:
Quite simply private correspondence is at the heart of freedom, no one should have to think twice about whether some government authority will at some future date demand copies of a person's emails. Correspondence is an extension of our minds and our souls to others. If we are not free to correspond without the threat that some regulatory body may look at such emails in the future, people will start hedging on what they write. They will fear an email getting into the wrong hands. How are we to then know what others really think, unless we meet them in some dark ally and whisper?
It is no different than other types of government snooping and monitoring, of which I have written:
One of the most oppressive aspects of any totalitarian regime is the inability to talk freely. You just don't know who is a snitch and when something said innocently can be twisted into sounding criminal, especially with all the regulations in a totalitarian regime. It could be a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend, or even your child, indoctrinated in totalitarian propaganda at school, that could turn you in.

I contend this is one of the cruelest parts of totalitarianism for the average person. It creates a paranoia about speaking freely. For your own safety, you must keep things bottled up inside. It is a form of solitary confinement.
On the other hand, emails of government employees should always be available for the public to see. Afterall, it is government employees that have the power and capability to interfere with the lives of private citizens. We need to see what they are up to.

I can ignore any person in the world that I don't want to deal with, except for government employees, since, bottom line, they have the armed power of the state behind them.

We should always have the right to monitor them in any way we choose, including reading their emails.

Krugman is up in arms because Wisconsin Republicans have demanded access to the emails of William Cronon that he wrote and received using his University of Wisconsin email account. I am no friend of Wisconsin Republicans, but in this case they must be supported. The University of Wisconsin is a Wisconsin government organization and therefore Cronon's emails at that account should be open for all Wisconsin residents to see.

Krugman writes:
Republicans aren’t looking for some abuse of Cronon’s position; they’re hoping to find some statement that can be quoted out of context to discredit him. At the very least, they hope that other academics will henceforth feel intimidated. And somehow, we can be sure that people like, say, Richard Vedder of Ohio University wouldn’t be subject to equivalent scrutiny.
Krugman misses the important underlying issue here, if an email account is used for government purposes, and by definition an account in a government email system is being used for governmnet purposes, (though, say, a gmail account could also be used for government purposes and thus fall under the same principle) residents in the jurisdiction of that government have every right to view the emails of such a government employee.

Further, because Krugman doesn't get the important principle here, he believes that no one would think that access to the emails of Richard Vedder at Ohio University makes sense, but since Ohio University is another government institution operating under the government of Ohio, I would have no objections to any resident of Ohio demanding the emails of Vedder that are in his Ohio University email account.

Lest someone think I am not serious about my view, please know I am. The views of many in the United States are right now the opposite of the views of those who founded this country. The government continues to expand the reasons and size of private emails that it can monitor. This is decidedly opposite the way things used to work. To this day, it is illegal for a government employee, without a search warrant, to open the surface mail of a private citizen, whereas deliberations held by publicly elected officials are held in open forums. This country was founded on the belief of privacy for the individual and transparency of the government. We are moving away from this founding belief and should return to it immediately. It's the only thing that will prevent us from having to eventually deal with a totalitarian dictator.


  1. Americans have had a totalitarian dictatorship especially since the institution of the income tax, in which everyone MUST REPORT their private financial business, all information regarding their employment status and other earnings to government bureaucrats. That private, personal information is none of anyone else's business, and no doubt such private information has been used by conniving government bureaucrats against innocent citizens.

    With ObamaCare's mandatory insurance matters reporting and other disclosures of what used to be private relationships between citizens and their doctors, the government snooping-abuse and tyranny will only get worse. Soviet Union on steroids.

  2. Dictators come from the right - I researched this posting and have lost alot of the respect I was starting to build for your blog. You are just another elitist, sociopathic financial type. You could not have read the professors side of the story and been unsympathetic unless you are completely biased. Bye-Bye.