Fifty-three percent of Americans believe the government is a threat, and 43 percent do not, according to a Pew Research Center poll. Three-in-ten Americans believe government constitutes a major threat. In a poll conducted October 2003, only 45 percent saw government as a threat to their freedoms. Fifty-four percent do not.
I’m not necessarily one to take public opinion as sacred (majorities of Americans support all kinds of horrible things), but it’s hard to blame the 53% of Americans who think the government is a threat to their liberties. The sectors of the economy in which the government is most involved are also the most dysfunctional (e.g., healthcare, banking, etc.). We live in an age where there is a bipartisan consensus that the government can secretly spy on Americans communications without a warrant from a traditional court; political activists are infiltrated with government agents; the President can wage secret wars with robots and can even kill US citizens without a shred of due process; American citizens may be subject to indefinite detention on the say-so of the Executive branch alone; and so on.
Granted, 70% of those who think the government jeopardizes liberties are Republicans, so many respondents are thinking about Obama taking away their gun rights and their Christianity. But 45% are not gun owners and 55% of independents are in the camp that believe the government is a threat to their liberties. And with the level of encroachment into people’s lives and liberties these days, it shouldn’t be surprising.