Times like this obviate those among us cursed with the authoritarian personality type. I’ve run into these inferior beings at all kinds of places: book stores, electronic shops, the office, on public transit, and, of course, online. They are the people with a handy set of answer templates in their brains which they spew forth whenever some brave individual questions the system, points out the corruption of those in power, or challenges commonly held beliefs. The recent revelations by a whistle-blower of the ubiquitous NSA spy program is just the sort of incident that stimulates these answer template instantiators to smugly erupt with their platitudes. The most common retort of these meat robots is “Well, I’m not worried about the Government spying on me because I have nothing to hide.”
The stupidity of this response sends shivers down my spine. Ironically, most conservatives supported a similar program started by George Bush: The Total Information Awareness Office while the liberals, who now support Obama’s spying efforts, came out in the thousands to protest Bush’s program. I know because I helped organize such a protest and thousands did show up, in Boston, many years ago, and surrounded Faneuil Hall, John Ashcroft’s venue, demanding that he leave. Where are these people now? And those conservatives I mentioned, they are the same conservatives that believe the government cannot do anything right. They oppose government run entities such as Amtrak and Social Security and turn into rabid dogs at the mention of universal healthcare. Nevertheless, while they don’t trust the government to run our trains, our pension funds, or our health care system, they have no problem with the government spying on our every move – this while they themselves are in the middle of an IRS scandal where the same government targeted them for their beliefs (and not for doing anything “wrong”).
Americans must be among the most dimwitted of people on this planet. Those that have lived under regimes that spy on their citizens know what cost this extracts from life, but Americans, despite the abundant evidence that their government can do no right, continue to lick the boots of those stomping on their heads. It shouldn’t matter whether it is the puppet leader of the Republican mafia or the puppet leader of the Democrat mafia that is wearing the fascist boot, what matters is that the boot is crushing your head into the pavement.
Violating our rights did not stop the Boston Marathon bombing. What might have prevented the Boston Marathon bombing is to have had a government that held truly life-affirming values. A government that avoids turning the people of the world against us by refraining from raining bombs down on the heads of civilians and children, a government that does not overthrow the legitimate governments of other lands because their internal policies shut the door to pillaging by American corporations and their greedy owners, and a government that does not arm to the teeth a vicious and racist government that systematically steals land from its neighbors and denies the people of occupied lands a right to live.
Getting back to “Having Nothing to Hide,” tell me, who do you think is spying on you? You think it is “the Government?” The Government has no ears nor has the Government eyes. ”The Government” is not some objective and omniscient God-like character seeking to protect you. ”The Government” is nothing more than the collective and individual actions of a vast array of millions of fellow Americans, some of whom are your ex-wife, ex-husband, personal stalker, enemy neighbor, frenemy coworker, kid from the past you knew in high school that now hates you, the guy that honked on you while you were driving home because he thinks you cut him off, the nosy chick that used to live down the street from you, the child molester that has not yet been caught, the misogynistic serial killer that hides out in the open sitting at his or desk at the FBI, and so on. These are the people working for the NSA, the CIA, the DIA, the FBI, your local police department or some relative of theirs that would love to stab you in the back, or steal your identity, or ruin your life.
The Government is not populated by Vestal Virgins. It is populated by the same kind of people that work in all of the offices you have worked in. Would you trust them listening to your telephone calls, logging your contacts, reading your email, and tracking your movements? If you would, then you are stupid fool or a boot-licking wuss. If the Government’s violation of your privacy does not send you into a rage, you really DO have something to hide, it’s called cowardice. You have been beaten down into a shell of a human being. I feel sorry for you.