24 June 2013


Arriving at my destination after a recent international flight, I opened my suitcase to find it had been ransacked. In it was a nice note from the TSA which said: "You have no privacy. We can open your luggage, listen to your phone calls, read your mail and all electronic communications, even kill you if we deem you a threat to our agenda." Actually, that's not what it said. It assured me that my bag had been pillaged for my protection, and that the government was here to help.

Meanwhile, one of the biggest current news stories of the day is the revelation that the NSA (an agency of which most Americans were unaware) has been snooping wholesale into all of our electronic communications. Incredibly, when queried, most people respond that they have nothing to hide, which misses the point entirely. Most if not all of the people that were blacklisted in the McCarthy Era had nothing to hide, yet their lives were ruined. J. Edgar Hoover used personal information to blackmail many people, including presidents. If you have nothing to hide, is it ok that we watch you undress in the bathroom? After all, we must verify that you have nothing to hide, since you cannot be trusted. And I'm sorry that we had to listen to that personal phone call in which you were talking to your paramour, but it's in the name of national security. What's that you say? You don't want genetically modified products in your food? Sounds like you are an enemy of the state. You object to the polluting of the Gulf Of Mexico by BP? Arrest that man.

Power corrupts, as has been proven again and again. After the world trade centers were destroyed (watch this doc from Colorado Public TV) we allowed an unprecedented intrusion into our lives in the name of security. Since then, as we are engrossed in our smart devices, the government and the corporations that own it, have increasingly invaded your house, your communications, and your health, with little objection from the public. As our world moves daily closer to the reality laid out by George Orwell, that lame defense, "it's ok, because I have nothing to hide," will soon become, like Winston Smith, "I have one corner in my house free from the eyes of Big Brother, in which I can go to read the banned books about genetic modification or the children that are maimed around the world in our name (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan)."

On the first Earth Day in 1970, masses of people were in the streets protesting. Last year, most people did not know it was an important day, and the few announcements of it were made by companies trying to sell "green" products.

Privacy matters. Not because we have something to hide, but because it is our right. If we relinquish that right, then, when the government oversteps, (McCarthy Era, Nazi Germany) then it is our obligation to set it back on track. That will not be possible if they have already incarcerated the dissenters.

1 comment:

ostrich said...

Bravo! 'Our government and the corporations that own it' is one of the main missed points by the general public.