Before going on to my post, I want to announce that I am back bloging for netWMD on my usually erratic schedule, which, even so, is more stable now that I have finally found a very rewarding and good paying job. No more horrible stress and distractions. I will also be quite busy but not too much to keep me from dropping by here and there to raise some hell. I thank my dear and life-long friend and netWMD colleague, Drew, for making this forum possible for me and others. Kudos to him, as always, for his hard work. He also has a full life beyond this blog but manages to find time to make it work full-time. Don’t know how the man does it!
Now for a ltitle business.
There’s a lot being said about Bush’s wiretapping without a warrant. However, this intrusion into our privacy is nothing new. According to Drudge, Clinton did it and so did Carter. Clinton “authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order” during what it now falsely deemed the golden age of peace during the fat 90s, when our current and real enemies were planning death in secret. So why did Clinton seek such a broad extention of his executive powers? Bush at least has done so with the war against Islamism as an alibi. Ditto for Carter during the Cold War.
Goverment intrusion into our private lives is a serious problem, especially during wartime when we want our government to protect us against our enemies. But the bigger problem, I think, is something none of us really wants to entertain for too long, and that is, we live in an age of instantaneous communication and intrusive information-gathering: citizen to citizen as well as government to citizen. It is in the nature of our current technologically progressive age (perhaps unprecedented in world history over the past 50 years?) that we have less and less privacy. There seems to be no way to reverse this trend, which will most likely continue with every advance we find good for the betterment of our material lives.
If we live in an age where information and communication are literally at our fingertips and promises to make them only more so in short order, then are we not also all the more vulnerable to being the “object” of information-gathering? To what degree can we keep our government, any government, from using against us the very technology we hold dear? We seek and are sought, we query and are queried, we snoop and are snooped on—in an instant. We will be harmed by what benefits us. Our new gadgetry of luxuries and accumulated necessities will turn on us at the most inopportune time and when we least expect it.
The stakes are high because we are fighting a war and the government does need to gather intelligence. Bush is shrill to claim the New York Times is aiding the enemy by exposing his abuse of wiretapping. That kind of rhetoric will get him nowhere. Better for him to have his political enemies vent and rave. That always seems to work with middle-roaders like me who realize the Dems have no way of knowing how to win office and have every chance when Bush looks bad to bring him down but only manage to look more stupid in trying to do so.
Back to the future: technology is here to stay unless a critical mass of people become Luddites and smash the computers. Fat chance. I love mine and am using it now so you can read this on yours. Just so you don’t get too carried away with this now taken-for-granted luxury, remember that there are other pairs of eyes watching you. . . .
Do I mean to say throw up your arms and do nothing? No, of course not. Yet let’s not forget that the sword has two edges and that it is wiser in this case to keep the sharp side away from us as much as possible. I don’t feel less safe that Bush’s wiretapping has been exposed. We can still find and kill or capture the enemy. I just want to make sure a wartime necessity is not abused so we can secure as much freedom for our lives as possible after our enemies are already dead and buried.
Related: General Commentary