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
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:
- Jail U.S. citizens indefinitely, without charges or access
to the courts
- Torture prisoners held in U.S. custody
- Eavesdrop on innocent Americans without first getting
a warrant to do so
- "Conduct "sneak n peek" intrusions into
- . . . the list goes on . . .
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 down-side
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:
Our species is the link between biosphere and what Pierre
Teilhard de Chardin called the "noosphere,"
the electronically mediated web of thought that had taken
crystalline form by the end of the second millennium.
This is a mind to which the whole species can contribute,
and a mind whose workings will have consequences for the
whole species - epic consequences of one sort or another.
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.