When George W. Bush and the GOP ran the government, Republicans were far more likely to support the kind of NSA surveillance that's just be exposed. Unsurprisingly, with Barack Obama in the White House, Democrats are now more fond of government snooping than they used to be.

"The virtually unyielding preference for partisanship over principle," writes Nick Gillespie, "explains why regardless of which party controls the government, the surveillance state continues to grow. It’s totally different, don’t you see, when my guy is running the show!"

Gillespie argues that if and when the surveillance state gets beaten back, it will be do not to partisan apparatchiks but to a small band of libertarians and leftists - the Rand Pauls and Bernie Sanders - in Congress who agree on little more beyond this issue.