I must admit that as I grow older I have become more “Zen” with the world. Or maybe it’s just that I pick and choose more carefully what I worry about. Or… maybe I just care less. Either way I worry less about things I don’t have the ability to change and concentrate more on the things I have more control over.
That being said… I have to also admit that this Snowden fiasco has me rather pissed off. An attention seeking high school dropout takes a job with amazing pay with a company charged with keeping secrets and chooses to not only expose those secrets, violating his contract, he runs to countries of questionable human treatment to hide out while exposing said secrets all under the supposed selflessness of wanting to alert the American people to a secret government program that is intended to actually keep us safer. And the gullible American masses, who, if you ask them point blank, already knew what our government was doing, now feign injury and indignence that their privacy has been infringed upon.
Are you trying to seriously suggest that at any point in time you have every really had privacy? Are you trying to seriously suggest that even though you give away more of your private life every single day than the government could ever want to collect on you that the government collecting the simple data it is, to try and catch future terrorist activities before they become deadly, is so much more invasive?
We daily give away our lives to anyone and everyone.
Use your debit card? How much data do you think a half dozen companies are compiling about you without you ever knowing about it? And who do you think they are selling that information to without your permission?
Have a homicide in your neighborhood? Does the police investigating a suspect put the suspect’s picture all over the news WHILE they are investigating him or do they secretly investigate the person so as not to tip them off they are under investigation?
There are reasons why something is kept secret. And our government has more reasons that almost any other person, company or entity. They are not only charged with keeping our shores safe from foreign terrorists but also domestic. We are not immune to our own brand of home grown terrorist. We have people creating bombs, making comments about shooting up schools and theatres, et al and if we don’t catch some of these people before they act then we will have many more acts of local terror than we currently do.
We cannot scream for our own ultimate privacy and also for complete government transparency. They cannot exist at the same time. Absolute privacy creates absolute secrecy. Absolute secrecy creates absolute suspicion. Absolute suspicion creates absolute chaos. As well as absolute transparency creates absolute exposer. Absolute exposer exposes absolutely, making security impossible.
There is a phrase that has been bantered around by those who scream and demand their “right” to privacy – and I paraphrase – “Those who would give up a little bit of liberty for a little bit of safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”. What a broad and incorrect statement made at a time when the thought of war brought to mind muskets and canons, not semi-automatic weapons and airplanes used as bombs. There is nothing wrong with understanding that in order to keep a country safe that the government sometimes has to do things the general public might not understand or agree with. But we don’t know what they know and we aren’t charged with doing what we hired them to do. We can say we would have done something this way or that way, being the armchair politician, but until we are put in that position, truly put in THAT position, we just don’t know what it would take to keep our country safe in this day and age. To speculate otherwise is naïve and asinine.
I also find the hypocrisy of the general public and media calling out our government for “invasion of privacy” and yet the same general public and media spend billions a year invading the privacy of the very same people you say you want to protect. Who has the right to privacy? Just you? Just the average citizen? Do politicians? Actors? Sports stars? Criminals? Authors? Who? If privacy is that all encompassing important to everyone in the United States why aren’t we prosecuting the paparazzi who invade the lives of the rich and famous? Or does the fact that they are rich and famous make them exempt from having their own privacy? Why do we scream for full discloser of politicians’ lives but balk at someone looking to ours?
Where is the fine line between “right to know” and “right to privacy”? And who gets to determine that line? And why is it a “right”?
So, before you get your indignant panties in a wad stop to think about what it is you are really asking for. And then be careful what you ask for. You might just get it and it might be worse that what you have right now.