Monday, Debtember 09, 2002
Chills from the Cold War
I'm thinking a lot about privacy today. I had a conversation with someone this morning which left me in an internal debate. We were talking about holiday shopping that he needs to do soon so that he can mail presents and I suggested he just buy stuff at Amazon and have it shipped already wrapped. He said he doesn't want to have his every activity tracked by the new Homeland Security database and so uses cash now. It's not that he's sending people uranium for Xmas; he just believes that consumer tracking is America's form of totalitarianism.
My first thought was that he was being a little extreme, but on further explication his reasoning seems sound. It goes like this: If all your consumer activity can be tracked, a profile can be developed and you can be more effectively marketed to. The more you can be convinced that you have needs, the more you will spend your time and money meeting those needs, and the less of your time and money will be available to activities which corporations or government would consider undesirable, such as self-sufficiency or activism. Further, if all your online reading can be tracked, the profile can be expanded to associate the consumer profile with an intellectual profile thus permitting easier identification of those whom the government finds to be intellectually of concern. …
It's an interesting conundrum. Vanity makes me reluctant to abandon the site (and believe me, I'd make a ridiculous number of backup copies of all this work). However, realism is bringing it home to me that I'm sticking my neck way out. Should I consider it activism? Am I providing a useful service in being visably opposed to the Bush administration? In publically stating that I'm a woman who has no intention or need to bear children? In reminding the world that not everyone believes in God? In saying that my life and personality would change very very little if I was suddenly male instead of female? In being, in short, a stinkin' liberal freak?
I was with friends yesterday and the topic turned slightly towards politics.
I mentioned article I
read where a man got 37 months of jail for making a comment about a burning
of someone pouring a flammable liquid on Bush and lighting it.
Someone (and I'm not naming the group of friends at all) mentioned something
that, while I suspect most of the group involved felt sympathetic towards
(or at least could understand the sentiment), would
have, in public, netted him 37 months in a Federal pound me in the ass prison if not
It certain puts a chill on things when you are … “concerned” about what you say, even in the presence of friends.
Something is rotten in the District of Columbia; it appears that even though the Cold War is now over it seems as if Washington (or perhaps the Beltway Republicans would be more precise) can't comprehend that it's over. Done. Dead. We won. The pinko-Commie Ruskies lost. Get over it. First, we get old Cold War Warrior Dick Cheney (Deputy Chief of Staff during Ford's Administration), then Donald Rumsfeld (Chief of Staff during Ford's Administration). And more recently, we get John Poindexter appointed as head of the Information Awareness Office, and über Cold War Warrier Henry Kissinger to lead the investigation into 9-11. And don't forget that our own President's father headed the CIA during the Cold War.
This isn't the fox guarding the hen house—this is a pack of hungry wolves guarding the hen house (and them, along with a lone sheep, voting on what's for dinner).
What next? Alexander Haig shambling back from the Cold War grave?
Growing up, thoughts of nuclear armageddon in my head (after all, Ronald Reagan was in office, one finger on “The Button”), New Zealand sounded like the perfect place for the nuclear weary expat to live (it didn't hurt that in 8th grade I had to do a “political report” on New Zealand and couldn't find a darned thing bad (or political) about the country—consequenty I received an “F” on that report but I wasn't lucky enough to get a country like Cuba or Lebanon or Iran). Now, twenty years later it's not nuclear anihilation that's scaring me, but biological armageddon and corporate slavery and New Zealand is still looking nice (just look at the exterior shots in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring just to see how beautiful New Zealand is).
Will the Cold War ever end?