Is there a limit to how much control the government can have over citizens? When the United States was founded, it was constructed to “restrain men from injuring one another, and otherwise leaving them free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread they earned,” but as time passes they have began to become more involved in issues that do not serve the well being of the people. Today, problems economically and socially flood the nation leaving the government in disarray.
Before one can determine the limits of government, one must define the role the government has and what it is responsible for. Friedrich Hayek defined a government to be responsible to offer a minimal social safety net, and provide limited correction for failures of the market. Clearly, government is also responsible to maintain domestic peace between citizens in order to protect itself. Throughout the history of the United States, government has gone to extensive measures to carry out these responsibilities, which many citizens question the legitimacy of.
The government would not have to look far for programs that do not suit this purpose. Agencies such as the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and the nations seventeen spy agencies propose not only the largest impact upon citizens, but also are some of the most costly and corrupt to the country. The Department of Justice has an annual budget of $28 billion which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigations which accounts for over $8 billion. Not only has the Federal Bureau of Investigations been practicing illegal surveillance tactics for several years, the organization has not been successful in catching any terrorists for over thirteen years. This may be because the Federal Bureau of Investigations has been overlooking the major crime that takes place within government itself and spending money in areas that involve silencing individuals that speak out against the government. Taxpayers also contribute another $55 billion to spy agencies annually including the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and fifteen other spy agencies. These agencies account for the privacy each citizen of the United States has lost throughout history.
The National Security Agency is responsible for the creation of Prism, a network of supercomputers that store information transmitted through cell phones and websites that can be used for communication. President Barack Obama admits that it is a modest encroachment on privacy, but believes it is worth doing to protect the country. The program also will mainly be suspected to monitor activists who speak out against the country which has been an activity the government perceives as being acceptable.
It is impossible for any country to be an absolute sanctuary for all citizens. The more security you add, the less freedom the people hold. Although no one wishes for criminal activities to...