Stand Up and Be Counted
Opinion by Lorenzo Hagerty, January 26 2006
The other day I heard an elderly matron, the wife of a prominent Banana Republican businessman, tell a reporter that she couldn't understand why people were so upset about a little domestic spying. Of course, she was laboring under the misguided belief that only dark skinned people were being spied upon. I wonder if she would change her mind if she thought that her life was also an open book to the spooks at the NSA, which it is by the way.
People who work on the front lines of information technology development have been telling us for years to forget about privacy. Once the financial institutions and credit reporting agencies became entangled in the Internet, all of your private records became available to any good hacker who wanted to dig deeply into your private life. And it is a good bet that the FBI, NSA, DIA, and a lot of other nefarious government groups have also been availing themselves of this easily-accessed information.
It would be a mistake for you to believe that a few Senate hearings, or even an impeachment, will put an end to government snooping into your affairs. Wait until you see what they are planning on doing with the new RFID technology that our corporate masters are rolling out. In a few years, not only will your credit cards pinpoint the time and place you use them, records of who is standing near you when you make a purchase will also be gathered, thanks to this nifty new technology. And that is one of the more benign implementations that Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre describe in their important new book, Spychips: How major corporations and government plan to track your every move.
Instinctively, most people's first reaction to learning of this state of affairs is to recoil in horror. But there are two sides to every pancake. So let's take a look at the flip side of this final lament for privacy. But first, I'd like you to consider how much the concept of freedom has changed under Mr. Bush.
Shortly after the attacks on 9/11, Mr. Bush made a dramatic speech in which he said that the terrorists hate us because of our freedom. He then went on to say that the best way to stand up to this threat was to "keep shopping." At the time I thought his reasoning quite strange, but his words have now become very clear. Mr. Bush thinks of freedom only in terms of being able to continue on the downward spiral of conspicuous consumption that he calls "the American way of life". He obviously doesn't think of freedom in the terms of preserving the Bill of Rights.
It seems logical to assume that if Osama bin Laden wanted to eliminate freedom in America, then an important part of his strategy would be to:
Interestingly, Osama's list turns out to be the same as Mr. Bush's list of steps he has already taken to cancel the Bill of Rights. So what do we call these two guys, cronies, bedfellows, partners in crime? I would love to be able to call them indicted co-conspirators. But my fantasies no longer include any hope that The System can fix itself.
Fortunately there are other forces at work. Indigenous and ancient cultures from many parts of this planet have long foretold of a moment in time when human consciousness will undergo a momentous increase in its state of awareness. Teilhard de Chardin, the Christian theologian, described the event as an awakening of the noosphere. Verner Vinge, at a NASA symposium in 1993, called it a technological singularity. It doesn't take much of an imagination to connect a few dots between an increasingly digitized world and a version of Teilhard's prediction of a super psychic ability in humans, once we reach what he called the Omega Point.
What I'm getting at here is that we shouldn't be so worried about all of the spying the U.S. government is doing on its own citizens. Instead of buying more privacy software, why not Stand Up and Be Counted? Post your opinions on your own blog, add comments to stories that catch your interest on other blogs, participate in email discussion groups. In other words, add your voice to the ever-growing global discussions that are already shaping our deeply interconnected human future in millions of unseen ways. Why not let the neo-fascists see exactly what We The People think about the death of democracy in the U.S. Those poor fearful snoops might also be surprised to discover how many of us there are. Thanks to the Internet, large numbers of Americans have finally begun to cleanse the doors of perception and see through the slimy lies that pass for mainstream news these days.
There really isn't any downside to becoming evermore public with your ideas and opinions. Your privacy is already gone. The U.S. government has already sent its automatic robots out to gather up the details of your personal electronic activity. What have you got to lose?
If you are one of the millions of people who sense that there is something different, something truly unique about this new millennium we have just begun, then you will fully understand one of the conclusions Robert Wright comes to in his brilliant book, Nonzero:
The Empire be damned! Let their secret police spy on us if they dare. We have nothing to hide. Let's stand up and be counted as an integral part of this great global brain that has already begun to take form on this beautiful little planet called Earth.
opinions by Lorenzo Hagerty