Monday, June 10, 2013

Dear NSA: Nothing to See Here

One of my very closest friends asked me to post my views on PRISM, the phone records sweep, Edward Snowden, and our modern surveillance state. I should be feeling more outrage, as the Fourth Amendment is now quite obviously dead and gone. Actually, it was killed with the passage of the Patriot Act but we now have official confirmation of the death. "American Freedom" was a grand experiment, but it's no longer practical due to "terrorism", you know. "Civil Liberties" are fine, as long as they remain within the bounds of what is considered "civil", and it's all helping to keep you "safe" from the boogeymen.
Actually, this all should come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention. Corporate America figured out long ago that data mining is an effective tool in manipulating the masses in the digital age. The government is now a wholly owned subsidy of Corporate America, which never really respected privacy anyway, so any and all information has now been made accessible (note: Snowden worked for a corporation as a contractor to the government). Nothing to see here, citizen; just keep consuming.
The only thing that is being revealed is that the surveillance is no longer hidden. Anybody with any sense knew that there was no privacy on the internet (duh), but we liked to think that our phone calls, texts, and emails were private. And in reality, almost all of them are really boring. We're not criminals, right? So, 'nothing to hide', right? Well, that "sex chat" with the mistress or the pic of the pubes sent to a lover might be a bit embarrassing...imagine the poor, bored NSA watcher sifting through millions of messages. I'm guessing that the sexy communications are the only thing that keeps them from sleeping on the job. After a few billion messages, I doubt they'd notice a terrorist communique unless it included a crotch shot. Which is why computers are doing the actual monitoring, sifting for "keywords" and such. Good luck with that when it comes to text messages, which are making "words" a thing of the past. And any attempt to make sense of Twitter is doomed to failure.
"Slavery" was ended in America, but over time in the quest for cheap, controllable labor the rich elite developed a subtle system of "wage slavery" to harness the labor of the masses. When you own the media, the market, and the government, you can sell "freedom" to the populace in the form of "consumer choice" at a massive profit. Keep the public poor and uninformed, but afford them enough of the modern version of bread and circuses to keep them pacified.
And Corporate America has already shown that they know how to handle dissent. Remember the "Occupy" movement? Remember how the media portrayed it? "Look at the 'occupy' freaks with their drum circles!" for a 45 second spot, then take the microphone away. Mock, marginalize, and ignore; the 'public' wasn't interested anyway. "American Idol" (or whatever show is popular on TV now; I don't pay attention anymore) will keep everyone distracted from their poverty. A few corporations did cash in by selling "occupy" t-shirts, obviously. Bradley Manning? The main thing the media will tell you about him is that he's gay, and then move on to a story about a missing white woman or a murder trial full of soap opera sexiness. Mock, marginalize, and ignore. While Edward Snowden (and/or Glenn Greenwald) may be prosecuted, it is far more likely that some embarrassing fact from the past will be exposed, and then the media focus will move on to another story. Within a couple of months, very few will remember their names.
Despite all the dystopian fiction ever written, this is our modern dystopia. Anything you say can and will be used by your corporate overlords to sell you the velvet chains that bind you. The one percent have built a system which keeps them virtually invulnerable, and we masses of drones will be kept powerless to change it. The revolution will be mocked, marginalized, and ignored, and the general populace will be too distracted to notice.
Yeah, I should feel outrage. But, and perhaps this is just a symptom of my depression, I only feel a cynical resignation to a reality beyond my control. It's not like I was using that "freedom", anyway.