Here Thar Be Monsters!
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Participating In Your Own Demise
Back in my idealistic youth, when I used to think it was worth fighting 'the system', I was arrested a lot for exercising my right to travel. Didn't matter, since I always won in court, but it did give me quite an insight into the world of the police state.
Back then, in the early 1990s, I was being transported from one jail to another (just to give the lazy bastards something to do). The cop drove most of the way at 90+ miles per hour down city streets, and at a red light that he couldn't run, he spotted an attractive young woman in the car next to us. He delayed a bit at the green light and typed her license plate into his on-board computer, getting her vital stats and home address, among other things.
Supposedly, this type of thing was supposed to be illegal. But so was careening at high speed down city streets when there was no emergency. He did it because he could. He had power, and who was going to do anything about it? His colleagues who were doing the same thing?
You see, that's the thing about having power - the temptation to use it is overwhelming. Especially when the only people who can stop you are doing the same thing.
When the NSA was given the power to spy on everyone, foreign and domestic, all that did was legally sanction what they had been doing for decades. Snooping on people's private lives is what the CIA and NSA were designed to do from the get-go. The FBI was doing it on American citizens since it was founded. That agency was used by presidents to keep tabs on various critics and J. Edgar Hoover's files have been 'discovered' many times over the years.
It all started with drivers' licenses. That one item allowed state governments to build databases of photos, vital stats, home addresses, and signatures. Those files were appended with any notes and records the state cared to keep on you. Then a law back in the 80s authorized the states to share that information with each other and the feral gummint in the name of catching 'deadbeat dads'.
They always couch these things in terms of a greater good: licensed drivers (safe roads), deadbeat dads (The Children), mass shootings (gun control), terrorism (snooping). And it doesn't matter the original intent. It only matters that they have the information and can use it with impunity for any purpose.
What's more, the NSA and its ilk have all the latest high-tech stuff, including super-computers and massive backbone internet lines. If Goldman Sachs has the ability to front-run stock market trades, then you can bet the NSA has it. In fact, it was probably developed for the government's crash prevention efforts, but with that kind of power lying around, who needs Iran-Contra to fund your black projects? Just play the market for a day or two and *POOF*, you have tons of money to fund coups, secret incursions and any other hobbies you have picked up over the years.
Just like the cop I saw illegally getting information on a private citizen just because he took a liking to her, being able to manipulate markets for personal and departmental profit, not to mention just for the hell of it, would be a rather tough temptation to resist. If you could push a button and make the stocks in your 401(k) skyrocket, would you think to yourself, "No, that wouldn't be ethical, even though all my co-workers are doing it and getting rich."
The fact is that ANY power in the hands of government is destined to be abused, as history shows. Things as innocuous as census questionnaires and passports are being used to delve into people's personal lives and track/control their movements. No amount of power is without the risk of abuse by government, any more than it is safe in the hands of individuals. All power is subject to abuse, and greater power is subject to greater abuse, to paraphrase Baron Acton. The most frightening abuses come when power is centralized, as it has been over the past century in the US.
The only solution is the complete dissolution of large, centralized governments, but that hardly seems likely. Concerted efforts on the part of people to regain their power and rights might work for a time, but governments thus denuded will begin almost immediately retaking the same ground. A neo-Luddite solution is also doomed to fail, as folks like their gee-gaws.
The only realistic solution is for people to stop participating in their own enslavement. Let you driver's license expire and don't renew it. Stop using taxpayer numbers for any reason. Stop filling out the census questionnaires. Don't use real names or data on any social media or electronic devices. Try using hushmail.com or following some of these suggestions.
Whatever you do, spend at least some part of each day throwing as many monkey wrenches into the works as you can. It is our civic and spiritual duty to start unraveling this mess. After all, we are at least partly responsible for allowing it to happen.
As a vast number of people are starting to realize, freedom is something that is earned each day and in each generation. We can not trust ANY government to protect our rights, no matter how benign it may seem or how many flowery words are written into the law. All governments are enemies of peace and freedom by their very natures. Don't they enforce their existence with guns? It is the threat of violence that keeps people in line, so what's to stop them from taking more and more power from the same people at whom they point guns?
Governments are like unruly chidren: they will continue to misbehave until they find the limits of tolerance. As long as we allow government to ride rough-shod over us, it will continue to increase the abuse until we finally put a stop to it.
The problem is, once genies are out of the bottle, they can be awful difficult to stuff back in.