The New Era of Surveillance is Here

surveillanceSome have said it’s better to make decisions under the influence of alcohol than under the influence of fear.

But in late 2001, Americans made an entire set of decisions under the influence of fear… and created a monster.

We all remember what happened: A frightened public allowed politicians, secret agencies, and militaries to spend any amount of money and build any kind of system they wanted, to “protect us from the terrorists.”

To cash in on the new zeitgeist, new TV shows practically worshiped military and police forces; thousands of churches gave themselves over to the glorification of soldiers; and corporations scrambled for government money to build these new systems.

10 years on, it’s not just the “paranoid crackpots” anymore who can see that Orwell’s Big Brother of 1984 is terrifyingly real and more sinister than even he could have imagined.

The reality is this: Americans now live under the largest and most invasive surveillance state in the history of the world. This has been confirmed and admitted, even by the talking heads of the mainstream press.

I know there have been too many stories, passing too quickly, for most people to see this in all its gory detail, so I want to clarify and simplify a bit.

First, I’ll give you a list of recent stories (all since mid-May), with links, so you can check any of them you want to. Then, I’ll give you a brief, simple summary of where Americans stand now.

To Sum Up

The list above contains only recent and major stories. There are many others, but I want to keep this brief.

So here’s where we stand now:

  1. There are no more legal protections that matter. The 4th amendment is (was) “the law of the land,” and it is very clear. But that doesn’t matter: A pile of court rulings have been given precedence, and the Constitution no longer applies.
  2. The US military can – if and when it wants to – arrest and imprison anyone (foreigner or citizen) for as long as they want, without a trial.
  3. Acts of torture (“advanced interrogation techniques”) are legal, and secret courts are in regular operation.
  4. The US government (through many agencies, most notably the NSA and FBI) is collecting nearly every email, text, chat, phone call, and web site surfed. This information is already being used in government prosecutions.
  5. Government officials lie to citizens with impunity. Citizens who lie to officials go to jail. (Ask Martha Stewart, and a thousand less-famous people.)
  6. You are physically tracked 24/7 by your cell phone and car license plates.
  7. Large corporations are helping the US government run the most complete surveillance state in the history of the world.

Is this is something you would agree to, if given an option?

Is this what you want your children or grandchildren to grow up in?

Do you think Thomas Jefferson would agree to this? Would Abraham or Moses support this? Would Jesus?

What Now?

The first thing we have to do is to gain moral clarity: to be clear on the fact that this is morally wrong. Not legally wrong, but morally wrong.

Because if it is morally wrong, then it remains wrong, no matter how many high-and-mighty authorities proclaim it to be right.

In other words, you need to believe that morality is more important than legality, which is really the core of the Judeo-Christian ethic that underpins our society. (You can deny it if you want, but that doesn’t make it false.)

Once we are morally clear on this subject, the rest follows naturally. But you have to get clear on this, inside of yourself. Writers like me can provide you with facts, but no one can do your internal work for you.

So, do you think this is morally wrong? And if so, why?

Be clear about the answer to this question. It’s the starting point to the struggle for personal freedom.

Paul Rosenberg

2 thoughts on “The New Era of Surveillance is Here”

  1. I fully agree with P. Rosenberg’s views although I do not live in the US parano world. Laws have to be created where morality fails but ethic should be The rule and not laws which are but a complement and should not superceed The rule.

    A sentence I liked (from whom?) was pronounced in a French movie: “2 things impede from living, the lack of order and the excess of order”.

    This is one of the reasons I am living in Africa for 30 years but things here are turning the same way as in US/ EU because US/EU are a kind of model in all domains for other countries and, for fear of freer countries where the “bad” is coming from, they recommend to freer countries the same security/control system to be implemented.

    All that is a chain that quite nobody can cut without destabilising the whole system, in
    which not everything is bad.

    I have to say that EU is less paranoid than USA but everything is also too square. Life turned binary, live or die, black or white, yes or no, on or off, guilty or not guilty, rich or poor etc… there is no more middle term, grey color, nuances, finesses in any way of thinking and surely no more morality because everything is ruled by money and “security”laws.

    The power of Govenments is growing everywhere and become a kind of cancer
    sucking the strengths of the nations they are living on; “Hell is the others” said Sartre so everything outside the country is devilish and more laws are created, affecting people abroad and inside the country.

    In my view ethic is disapearing from education and this is the basic teaching of any hollybook but it seams that nobody cares anymore because power and money are prevailing and if you do legally something immoral it is now simply considered as acceptable for not being illegal.

    So in other words the Law superceeds the Ethic. We are living in a lawyers’ world; you are apparently “clean” as long as nobody can prove legally the contrary.

    As I said I am living out of my country for 30 years and I am sad seeing this type of evolution of life gaining more space and I feel that for lack of mutual respect and excess of greed (power and monney) people are killing their own freedom allowing more space for laws.
    Governments make believe people have more liberties (principally in France) but in fact people are missing more and more The LIBERTY.

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