New Jersey governor Chris Christie has recently called Senator Rand Paul “dangerous” for Paul’s views against the NSA’s broad and intrusive surveillance program. At a Republican governor’s forum last Thursday, Christie stated that, “This strain of libertarianism that’s going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought,” and added that “you can name any number of people and (Paul is) one of them.” Christie is clearly part of the political establishment (made up of Republicans and Democrats) who believe that the government should have unlimited superintendence over the personal lives of American citizens, all in the name of preventing another terrorist attack. Senator Paul and others who believe that government surveillance of citizens should be constrained by our constitutional rights pose a direct threat to those who think that we should give up our liberties without asking questions. Another issue at hand is that politicians engage in a concerted effort to unnecessarily frighten people by tapping into their memories of 9-11 and capitalizing on their fears to justify a police or military state.
One might surmise that Americans are growing weary of the likes of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey governor Chris Christie using 9-11 to both deflect criticism of their ideas and policies and to bolster their big-government, anti-liberty, progressive agenda. Whenever Giuliani or Christie is asked a tough question about often unrelated issues, they invoke the families directly impacted by the attacks on September 11, 2001 to silence their critics. This is a shameful political tactic designed to keep people like Christie immune from being held accountable for his language and policies. His supercilious attitude suggests that because he shared in the pain and suffering of his people on 9-11 that he has the moral or political authority to do what he pleases. Christie was quick to deflect criticism of the NSA spying program by suggesting that Senator Rand Paul would not have the courage to explain his views in front of the families of the 9-11 victims.
Governor Christie does not have any defense of a program that empowers the federal government to monitor its citizens’ e-mails, phone calls, conversations, and movements without a warrant or without suspicion. Incapable of explaining why Americans should sacrifice their liberties in exchange for government protection, Christie takes us back in time to the crumbling of the Twin Towers in the hope that we will remember the fear and the uncertainty of that day and, consequently, conclude that personal privacy and liberty is unnecessary in these dangerous times. Christie’s method of coercing citizens to accept his premise while rejecting those of Rand Paul and other defenders of liberty is both sinister and manipulative. It is a strategy summoned from the darkest depths of our human nature and is blatantly disrespectful to those who suffered on that fateful day. That Christie has prostituted himself in order to bolster his political capital and set up a potential run for the White House does not mean that he should use whatever despicable means at his disposal in order to acquire power. Christie is wrong in calling Rand Paul dangerous. What is truly dangerous is a tyrant who will violate any sense of decorum or dignity in order to advance his political career, especially by invoking the deaths of American citizens to make his case.