Government overreach? Are you really surprised?

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“Let me assure you that the trifling problem you brought us today is already put safely to bed... The memorandum itself is now being thoroughly and plausibly denied by its authors and blamed on an overzealous local bureaucracy somewhere in the barren Midwest.”

If the government were running surveillance on itself rather than the AP, this quote could almost have been taken from a wiretap at IRS headquarters in Washington, D.C., just after word of the agency’s targeting of Tea Party conservatives hit the street.

In the case of the IRS scandal, the “overzealous local bureaucracy” which was supposed to be the scapegoat for improper politicization of America’s taxing authority was a small department in Cincinnati, conveniently located in the barren Midwestern state of Ohio (barren, that is, if you conveniently exclude corn from the equation).

Actually, the quote is from Glenn Beck’s 2010 thriller, “The Overton Window,” and flows from the mouth of an evil PR genius who is spearheading the “transformation” of America into a post-constitutional nation ready to take “its rightful, humble place within the world community.”

The target “enemies list” which was going to be used to justify this radical transformation was none other than the “patriotic rebellion” movement and its various components: pro-life organizers, home-schoolers, “border defenders,” military re-enactors, “Tea Parties,” “End the Fed” proponents, state sovereignty proponents, and (you guessed it) gun-rights activists.

Gosh, it sounds almost like the membership list of any grange hall in Montana — just plain folks. But just plain folks can be dangerous when they get together and call themselves “we the people.”

That’s when the power brokers who call the shots and spearhead national transformations get nervous. Because despite our illusions about democracy, there is very little that you and I have any control over anymore. But we do still outnumber the people running the show, and if things get bad enough there is always a chance that “we the people” will wake from our slumber long enough to demand answers. Or maybe not. Sleep, after all, is a very pleasant alternative to reality.

I suppose if you were the kind of person who might be inclined to read a book by Glenn Beck — or watch his TV show or listen to his radio program — you would not have been surprised by the IRS scandal, nor by the Obama administration’s efforts to blame low-level bureaucrats for dangerous policy decisions.

Nor would you have been surprised by any of the other scandals that have beset the Obama administration in recent weeks and months. Benghazi is a natural outcome of a policy of appeasement in the Middle East. Fast and Furious is a natural outcome of a policy of willful blindness to the dangers of a porous border.

But it’s about more than just scandals. It’s about consequences. Almost everything going wrong these days could have been, and was, predicted to follow from the votes of Congress and the policies of the president just as night follows day.

A crisis in college loan rates? Who didn’t see that coming when the Obama administration pushed aside banks and assumed responsibility for the entire college loan program?

Rising health insurance premiums? Was there really anyone who didn’t know this was an inevitable result of government not just forcing millions of uninsured people to buy insurance, but also at the same time forcing insurance providers to increase benefits exponentially?

The Pentagon threatening to court-martial service members who share their Christian faith with other soldiers? Can anyone be surprised when Christians are already being forced to choose between their moral beliefs or breaking the law? If Christians are forced to support abortion or to hire people whose behavior they consider morally abhorrent, then why would we not expect the government to go one step further and prevent Christians from sharing their supposedly dangerous beliefs with others.

This policy change was eventually withdrawn by the Pentagon, but was initially provoked by the complaint of “religious freedom” advocate Mikey Weinstein, who wrote about “well-funded gangs of Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.” Talk about hate speech.

And speaking of the armed forces, is anyone shocked to discover that sexual assaults have been on the rise in the military? Isn’t the policy of the Obama administration to throw men and women together in the most intimate of settings and then legislate them to act as though they were not men and women? This is craziness, absolute pure insanity, but there is no other outcome possible as long as politicians think that political correctness trumps human nature.

The problem is that the people who understand all of this already understood it without being told about it by Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Ted Cruz, and the people who don’t understand it — who  laugh about it or dismiss it or distort it — those people will never care no matter how much our country is “transformed” because, after all, it’s probably just the work of some “overzealous local bureaucracy somewhere in the barren Midwest.”

Nothing to get worked up over.

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