Readers, I could spend a post and then some spewing acidic bile about the NSA, and as much as I am tempted to, I’m not going to. It’s not that the NSA doesn’t deserve to be lambasted, it’s just that this is a culture blog, not a political one, and it’s mentality we’re gonna be talking about here today- the attitudes (and people) which are giving this psychotic system fertile ground to grow in.
“It Protects You, So It’s Good For You…”
This isn’t the first time that stupid slogan’s been trotted out by whatever ******s are in power, but since it’s rearing its ugly head in public again, it’d be remiss of us not to take some shots at it.
That’s a quote from Californian representative Dianne Feinstein, defending, last Saturday, the NSA’s continued invasion of the privacy of both citizens and non-Americans alike.
I actually agree with the Congresswoman on this one. It’s why I’ve got my family encased in bubble wrap and locked in my basement. Supposing I let them out and they got hit by a car? I’d never forgive myself.
That was stated by the aforementioned Mike Rogers (also the **** who introduced CISPA as a bill).
I’m trying to come up with some jokes here, but honestly there’s just nothing I can say. Feinstein’s statements might be cringingly dumb, but Rogers? That’s just plain evil.
Seriously, apply that statement to every day life. You can walk through someone’s home, rifle through their most personal or prized possessions, cheat on your wife- so long as none of ’em find out, “it’s not a violation.”
Again, this amoral slimeball is making decisions that affect billions of people. On the upside though, this would seem to mean that Congressman Rogers is giving us all permission to spit in his food, just so long as he doesn’t see it happen.
“Do You Think You’re So Special That The NSA Is Spying On YOU?”
This is the response we seem to be getting from the administration’s most die-hard supporters (it’s even the topic of a Key & Peele sketch). You don’t have anything to worry about, you’re not doing anything wrong. Cut down to size, it’s just the same defenses used by Bush’s supporters of his invasive, rights-robbing policies- but seeing as most folks just say “It’s only bad when they’re doing it,” let’s cut right down the core of the issue.
Is the NSA listening to my phone calls and reading my e-mails?
I grew up under an Orwellian dictatorship where we were monitored and spied on. What was our greatest fear? Not that we’d be arrested for saying something against the government, but for saying something that could be seen as critical. That’s what these measures do.
It’s like looking for Bigfoot- not only are you going to insist that he’s still out there (your job depends on it), but you’re going to start to interpret any and all findings as evidence of his existence. If it can be used as justification, no matter how weak or circumstantial, it will.
Just look at the TSA’s stellar track record of having caught exactly 0 terrorists since their creation. I’m not being protected and my junk is being alternatively fondled/irradiated (depending on how “random search-y” the guards are feeling that day).
It’s a lose-lose situation. If terrorist communications get picked up, we’re still ruthlessly spied on, if nothing gets picked up, they just assume that the terrorists are getting better at hiding. One way or another, the level of surveillance is going to be heightened and the process is just going to get worse. It’s a vicious cycle of paranoia.
So what do we do about it?
Well, there’s been a few different tactics people have suggested to deal with this madness. Technology is already being developed for the sole purpose of foiling government spy software.
Of course, plenty of people have recommended that we just take the electoral route, voting out psychopaths (like Feinstein and Rogers) and getting in leadership that actually has a sense of basic human decency. While I’m not giving up hope on that, others have pointed out the flaws in the electoral process…
One way or another, people, this problem isn’t going to just go away. Not only that, but you know this kind of stupid and/or depravity isn’t going to limit itself to the question of your privacy and security. One way or another, we’re going to need to confront these concepts head on, and if these advocates won’t respond to reason, maybe revulsion will work instead.