Late last month President Obama told the American people the War on Terror should start winding down. Unfortunately he forgot to tell the NSA.
But the president’s oversight was no mistake. As Robert Higgs documented in “Crisis and Leviathan,” government uses crises to amass powers that it continues to wield long after the crises have passed. Higgs’ insight was not original — he simply provided historical support for William Pitts’ observation (“necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom”) and Madison’s admonition (“free men must guard against the old trick of turning every contingency into a resource for accumulating force in government”).