On Wednesday, retired neurosurgeon and GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson told an Iowa Republican crowd that he wants to create a covert division of government workers to spy on other government workers. Carson’s secret army of government spies would have the job of tracking government employees to make sure they are being efficient.
Carson told the audience he was seriously considering adding “a covert division of people who look like the people in this room, who monitor what government people do”. He argued that government employees would work harder if they knew that some of their coworkers were spying on them while they worked. Then he exclaimed to heavy applause:
And we make it possible to fire government people!
While Carson has become popular with Tea Party Republicans, one has to wonder whether he or the crowds that cheered this idea have thought it through. Although it is understandable that anti-government Republicans would relish the prospects of having a way to fire government workers, surely they must see the irony in hiring an army of government spies to monitor their fellow workers, as a way of reducing unnecessary government employees.
Imagine if this covert division, which sounds a bit uncomfortably like the East German Stasi of the Cold War era, uncovers a few workers who are so inefficient they must be terminated. Let’s say for every four government spies, one under-performing employee is discovered and fired. Then Ben Carson’s brilliant plan will have saved the taxpayers the cost of paying one mediocre employee at the expense of having to pay four spies to track that employee. Great, the taxpayer just lost money, but at least that one lazy bureaucrat was unearthed and dealt with.
The plan is so Orwellian that even Republicans ought to shudder. Hopefully, one of the other GOP candidates, like perhaps Kentucky Senator and selective libertarian Rand Paul, will point out just how badly Carson’s idea clashes with the concept of personal liberty.
Hiring government spies to track American workers, even workers who are state employees, is exactly the type of government repression all Americans, including Republicans should be against. Ben Carson isn’t simply too amateur to be an effective leader, he is also too dangerous. Voters be extremely wary of Carson and his desire to expand the surveillance state into every public workplace.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.