Libertarian Party: Phone-Hacking Scandal Shows Dangers of ... Government?

File this with the near-infinite litany of political observations that follow the standard rubric, "Tangentially related Event X proves exactly what I've been saying all along!" As Rupert Murdoch and son testified before the British parliament, U.S. Libertarian Party Chairman Mark Hinkle released a long statement explaining that the News of the World phone-hacking scandal demonstrates the dangers of government. Huh?

Hinkle draws a parallel between government and Murdoch's defunct paper in their consumption with violating privacy:

"... If it's so easy for journalists and private detectives to hack into our emails and phones, just think how much the government, with its much greater resources, can pry into our lives.

"If we find that Apple's iPhones are tracking us, we can stop using their service. And if we find they have harmed us, we can sue them. But if we find that the government is tracking us, there's not much we can do except protest -- and even then, the government often uses our tax dollars to pay for propaganda saying 'There's nothing to worry about.'

"It shows why it is so important that government be strictly limited in its power; and that the public have complete information about what bureaucrats and law enforcement agents are doing. ...

"Violating other people's privacy is addictive. It's human nature. Once people gain the power to spy on other people's lives, they want to do it more and more. They will constantly seek new ways to do it, and more excuses to justify doing it.

Legislators and prosecutors have stepped in to investigate News Corp. for its practices, so it seems government is doing its job, both here and in the U.K. But you've got to hand it to Hinkle. Technological privacy invasion is a major fear for some libertarians, and groups like the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier foundation have leapt to oppose warrantless wiretapping, not totally dissimilar from what News of the World did.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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