Tag Archives: state secrets

Two big questions are in the news: Should mega-whistleblower Edward Snowden be pardoned? Should 9/11 victims be allowed to sue Saudi Arabia?


Both questions have to do with the nature of the state. By “state” I mean what most people call “nation” or “government,” not the kind of state we say when we talk about the sorry state we’re in.

Do You Love Snowden?

The new Oliver Stone movie “Snowden” makes a strong case for national hero status. In it, the central actor talks to journalists and directly into a TV camera. The earlier movie, “Citizen Four” was a documentary consisting almost entirely of those recordings that Snowden actually made with the journalists while all of them hid in his Hong Kong hotel room. Of the two films, the documentary is the better movie and makes the stronger case for hero status because Snowden explains, in his own words, why he did it.

It was for love and respect. He says he loves and respects himself and thus has the same regard for all others. We are, in plain truth, all pretty much alike. If we care about anybody, we have no excuse for not caring for everybody. Snowden realizes that. He explains it well to the camera. When he did, I was in love!

It’s Harder to Love the Saudis

A bill to allow 9/11 victims to sue any country that they think was involved in the attack on the Twin Towers in New York sailed through both houses of Congress. Then President Obama vetoed it. Then the congresspersons, whose collective wisdom has earned them the lowest regard of any Congress in American history, decided to override the veto. They did it, too, just today! (Click here).

Their argument was that the victims should get more compensation. The President’s argument was that they’re opening a can of worms that will end up with the United States being sued all the time by foreigners. The real question is whether or not individuals in a given state should be allowed to conduct negotiations with other states.

In Snowden’s case, the real question is whether or not an individual can reveal state secrets.

Unions Prohibit Individual Negotiations

If one were a union member, he/she would be discouraged from negotiating with any entity outside the union — especially not with management. Union members are also expected to keep silent about union business. If one were helping negotiate a contract, for example, one would be sworn to secrecy until negotiations had concluded and formal announcements were made. There’s really no other way to run a union!

So, if the analogy between a union and the United States holds up, citizens shouldn’t be suing Saudi Arabia and Brother Snowden should have kept his mouth shut.

It Depends on the State

Socialists believe that states will eventually wither away because they won’t be necessary once class divisions are finally behind us. So far, that has never happened, but it’s still the general idea. Socialists may be all in favor of unions, but not in favor of states.

So, if you love your state the way I love my union, Congress and Snowden are both wrong. But if you don’t think so much of this government, the opposite opinions prevail.

Let ’em sue anybody they want to! Let’s join the movement to pardon Edward Snowden! I wouldn’t call him a “national” hero, but definitely a world hero!

–Gene Lantz

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