Viewing the events capturing most news headlines, one finds that they possess great importance. This is not always the case, as often seen in times of elections. Some of these important events include further controversy involving the attacks on the Benghazi consulate, the IRS “targeting conservative groups,” the Justice Department’s obtaining the Associated Press’s phone records, and the allegations that the EPA’s acts unfairly in regards to its fee policy. While these stories themselves command attention and value, we must go beyond these stories. In doing this, we view the matter from a conceptual and philosophical perspective.

But to connect these events and observe the greater implications, we first should examine the controversies individually.

The Benghazi controversy is, in media terms, an old one. Its origins lie when Islamists attacked the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. (Another attack occurred the next morning on a CIA annex, separated from the consulate by roughly a mile.) Four Americans died in the attacks. But these are the event’s roots and not the controversy’s roots. Controversy shadows the entire incident. I will list three major, but by no means all, controversies. First, the attacks’ motivations appeared unclear. Initially, the White House claimed the attack happened because of a video posted on YouTube. This position was questioned and later shown to be false, but an act of terror committed by Islamists. Second, a further lack of action to defend the consulate while under attack caused more controversy. Third, some alleged that the CIA used the Benghazi consulate as a means to arm Syrian rebels. This clearly changes the situation, heaping more guilt upon our government.

The second major controversy involves the IRS and politically conservative organizations. Like Benghazi, this is a complex issue that we, in context, have to condense. The IRS demanded absurd amounts of information from these conservative groups. Additionally, the IRS gave “confidential information” about these conservative organizations to members of the media. As an interesting side-note, the IRS did not subject charity belonging to Barack Obama’s brother to the same Kafkaesque demands.

Third, we find the Justice Department’s “secretly obtaining the AP’s” phone records. TheBlaze notes that the Justice Department’s harvest includes “incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and home phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.” In response, the White House denied any knowledge of the Justice Department’s doings. Oddly, Attorney General Eric Holder affirmed how civil liberties’ importance and that he doesn’t “know all that went into the formulation of the subpoena.” And, finally, Holder claims to have no idea how often such leaks occur.

Finally, another government entity has been playing favorites and abusing its power. This controversy, though, involves the Environmental Protection Agency. The details of the controversy constitutes the EPA’s “normal” policy in regards to fee and certain groups. While the EPA generally waives fees for “media and watchdog groups,” it was found that “92 percent of requests from green groups were waived by the EPA.”
But now we must connect these controversies. And, no, the message and theme we see is not one of a grand and looming conspiracy. If such were the case, the situation would be much more cheery. For then, the problem would be less complex and the solutions simpler. But the world we inhabit shows greater complexity, implications, and obstacles.

To lovers of liberty, connecting the controversies shows an obvious truth. But to those not of this philosophy or the unenlightened right-winger, the truth might not be so apparent. Let us consider, then, for a brief moment how all these controversies came about.

The sheer existence of the IRS and EPA almost guarantee such abhorrent actions. For, what else could we expect from government? Additionally, these bureaucracies are not filled with elected politicians. That is not to say, though, that the government should hand these offices over to elected politicians, a group hardly more trustworthy than these bureaucrats. Rather, this is to point out that within these departments, there is no oversight. At least politicians face elections.

The Justice Department’s actions show another natural progression with the size of government. Government of any size will act unjustly and produce controversy to a certain extent—it is merely logical—but bigger government only further promotes these. Therefore, we should not be surprised at the Justice Department’s actions in regards to the Associated Press’s phone records.

The final example we examined requires slightly more of an explanation. There is much more to Benghazi than what is normally discussed. Also, there is some background information necessary to understanding the attack and its implications. As I wrote earlier this year, the CIA could very well have affected the situation in Libya. This seemingly absurd statement shows more credibility as we unpack it.

In my article on Benghazi, I noted several facts about the CIA. The Libyan rebels, including many jihadists and Islamists in their ranks, received aid from the United States, likely in the form of the CIA. Also, the American government is helping recruit a special operations force in Libya. Finally, I noted that William Boykin, a retired general and Delta Force veteran, claimed to have evidence showing that the CIA used the Benghazi consulate to covertly arm Syrian rebels. Therefore, we gather from these elements that the Benghazi consulate attack, and the subsequent four deaths, present more than an isolated attack. And further, government’s involvement in matters it has no legitimate part in, such as arming rebels, could have changed the consulate from a mere diplomatic building to a rich target.

If big government is the problem, then what is the solution? At the moment, the only rational course of action is to further educate and inform. To try slashing government’s size by the political process and using government cannot be the solution. For that  assumes that the political system acts as its own basis. But if one looks at the Constitution, our government’s foundation, one sees that concepts of natural rights form its basis. It is these ideas of liberty that are supposed to act as our government’s foundation, not a Kafka daydream come to life.


Christian Lopac | Wabash College | @CLopac