Today's Chin Scratcher: Why Are People So Distrustful of Big Government?

| Fri Jun. 14, 2013 2:02 PM EDT

In his column today, Charles Krauthammer summarizes a talking point about the NSA's spying programs that's already getting a lot of air time on the right:

The object is not to abolish these vital programs. It’s to fix them. Not exactly easy to do amid the current state of national agitation — provoked largely because such intrusive programs require a measure of trust in government, and this administration has forfeited that trust amid an unfolding series of scandals and a basic problem with truth-telling.

To summarize: People are groundlessly suspicious of vital panopticonish surveillance programs, and this is all due to Barack Obama's weaselly ways, not to the Republican Party's relentless 30-year campaign to destroy the public's faith in domestic programs of all sorts, mock the very idea that government accomplishes anything useful, and pander to the black-helicopter conspiracy theories of the Glenn Beck crowd.

Sorry Charlie, that's not going to fly. If you spend decades inventing scandals out of whole cloth and insisting that big government is a menace to liberty, don't be surprised when it turns out that an awful lot of people no longer have any trust in government. You reap what you sow.

Get Mother Jones by Email - Free. Like what you're reading? Get the best of MoJo three times a week.