Ben Stein's Diary

I’m Not Afraid of NSA

There's a very simple explanation.

By 8.20.13

So, I am lying in my sun room late tonight listening to the trains going by. Of course, it’s dark and I can see stars, but I feel a deep peace being in that bed in North Idaho, far from Iraq, far from Afghanistan, just happily lying in bed in peace with my wife a few feet away.

Tonight, we had an upsetting night at a restaurant we usually love. A stupendously large waitress kept making strange gestures and interfering with my viewing of the lake. The food was extremely slow in coming out. A guest we had invited to dinner had the insane suggestion that after dinner we all get into our hot tub nude. “You are seriously suggesting my wife get into a jacuzzi nude with you?” I asked this man, who I had not realized was mentally ill. “Are you crazy?”

He apologized and backed off but I don’t think I can be friends with him in the future. Gosh, there are a lot of wacky people out there. Well, let’s be charitable. Maybe he was joking. He’s basically a good guy. But way too flirtatious around my wife.

But lying in my bed listening to the trains -- that was glorious. My wife’s sweet, caring face as she read her novel in semi-darkness. That was paradise. I only see sanity in a few faces and hers is by far the main one.

I am well aware that there were other trains in Europe between 1939 and 1945 carrying Jews to their deaths, to slave labor, to medical experiments. Trains to hell. By the grace of God, I get to just listen to the trains in North Idaho as they roll past all through the night, carrying oil and coal and autos, not Jews condemned to death for the crime of being.

Gratitude is how I live moment by moment.

By the way, I am not at all alarmed about “the security state” or about the NSA or listening to calls. I like my privacy, but I also like living in peace. I know there are a lot of bad actors in government. But I also know that I trust them more than I trust al Qaeda. Besides, show me the harm that’s been done by all of this surveillance. I don’t see any.

My wife said it well tonight. “I have nothing to hide,” she said. “I’m not afraid of the NSA.”

I actually am nowhere near the person Big Wifey is, but I am not afraid of the NSA either. I am very afraid of the terrorists. It’s that simple. 

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.