Monday, November 26, 2007

The Surveillance Society Continues

And now, our firefighters are being asked to spy on Americans.

That’s right. Now, when you call the fire department because your house is on fire, they aren’t going to focus on saving you and your loved ones, and protecting your property from total destruction. Nope! They are going to snoop to see if you might be a disloyal subject of the Empire.

I guess, if there is any consolation, if you do have some "unAmerican" materials in your home (stored, of course, right next to those blueprints of the building you are planning to bomb), they’d most likely get destroyed in the fire that is consuming your home.

But all kidding aside…what sort of things might be deemed "suspicious"? What if someone has some politically incorrect books or magazines on their shelves? What if someone has some pornographic items, or perhaps a water bong lying around? Or…what if someone has just a few too many guns stocked up in their basement?

Oh wait, those ARE the things they are looking for!
When going to private residences, for example, they are told to be alert for a person who is hostile, uncooperative or expressing hate or discontent with the United States; unusual chemicals or other materials that seem out of place; ammunition, firearms or weapons boxes; surveillance equipment; still and video cameras; night-vision goggles; maps, photos, blueprints; police manuals, training manuals, flight manuals; and little or no furniture other than a bed or mattress.

So if you object to having your home intruded upon, you are now a terrorist suspect. If you have politically incorrect views about politics, you are now a terrorist suspect. If you are not familiar with the proper place to store "unusual chemicals" (whatever that means), you are now a terrorist suspect. If you are a gun collector, or enjoy cool "spy gadgets" that you can purchase at any Radio Shack, or maybe you are an avid outdoors "survivalist" type, you are now a terrorist suspect. Or, if you are just flat out poor, you are now a terrorist suspect.

(I won’t even comment on the fact that I have a couple that live in the apartment beneath me who are from some mid-east country – my guess India – who, for at least two months had absolutely no furniture in their home. My guess is that they were new to America, came here with nothing, and now, having been working for a couple of months, have started accumulating enough resources to buy various things…like a couch and a TV set. So… should we suspect they are terrorists?)

Sure, fighting terrorism may be the cover for such information gathering, but the question needs to be asked: How is this information really going to be used?

In Communist East Germany, the secret police had hundreds of thousands of informants on its payroll. It was a society based on suspicion. You never knew who you could trust, or who would turn you into the authorities based on their suspicion that you were a threat. This is the society modern Conservatives, and the Bush administration are attempting to recreate. I hear it all the time on shows like Sean "Conservatives Believe in A Welfare State" Hannity. We should all be on the lookout! Report anyone who gives you the creeps to the cops, so that they can go hound and harass them. The object of it all is to keep everyone alarmed and on guard, and yes, to look to the State for safety. It's the perfect breeding ground for totalitarianism.

Brings to mind a quote from H.L Mencken:

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

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