Cash and carry

Over at The Belmont Club Richard Fernandez in a post titled “Lying King,” remarks:

A friend wrote asking whether “the IRS scandal makes it necessary to consider the call not to pay taxes, or not to file returns, or participate in the all cash economy? People are thinking these things.” Of course they would be thinking of those things. It would unnatural if they didn’t. If you destroy trust in the institutions then people do business outside the institutions.

The President has made it hard to do business — even for the Left. Nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in the administration’s decision to spy on the Associated Press. That essentially cheapened the meaning of “political friend”. For if the administration could do that to its water-carriers then what was the point to being his friend? Liberals, like anyone else, feel the pain of being stabbed in the back.  It has the same effect as Obama’s assurance to allies than Iran will never get the bomb. Rrr-right. Sure. Of course.

The emotional impact of Benghazi was probably this: if he could do this to Stevens and to SEALS then he could do it to anybody.

A policy of lying debases the trust that makes it possible for governments, institutions and society itself to cohere.  At the very time that the organs of government are destroying their own trustworthiness they are making every effort to become ever more ubiquitous, ever more observant, ever more intrusive in the lives of ordinary citizens.  If my previously respected right to privacy and non-interference are being eroded, and my unhappiness with the government that constantly surveils and regulates my life is criminalized I will hide.  Thousands are hiding already, millions more will follow.  Black markets in all sorts of goods and services will spring into being, which the government will more vigorously attempt to detect and force into the government approved and controlled framework.  A war, in other words, between government and governed.  All we can say about that is, it won’t end well.

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