How to create a surveillance state
In our technological age, we've all participated in creating our surveillance state, whether as enforcers or self-censoring victims. Thanks to the technology in our smartphones, each one of us has the capability to contribute, and many on the left seem to revel in the power.
The rest of us must weigh every action we take, every word we say. If we say or do the "wrong" thing, we may no longer have the right to earn a living. If our vigilant self-censorship fails, an idle thoughtcrime might occur publicly. All it takes is a few ill advised words or actions, caught on video, to ruin us. Censorship is swift, aggressive, and irrational, without regard to either facts or effects.
Here are some simple examples: a mellow country singer, Morgan Wallen, was summarily canceled from every aspect of his creative life (airplay, recording contracts, award shows, etc.) for having been overheard, in a private moment, and while seemingly inebriated, making a "racial slur," using the "N-word."
It was recorded because what isn't these days? We've been taught by the tech giants that make it so convenient to be a de facto arm of their surveillance state. Not only was it recorded, but the person doing so made a conscious decision to post the video. Why?
The news reported that a San Jose gym that stayed open got dozens of complaints from "the public"' and was fined $500K. People are turning into self-righteous tattletales, and those in charge of the companies and social media platforms that created the means for recording and for tattling automatically side with the tattler, without any thought to due process. We no longer have the right to make our own decisions. No state entity must prove that keeping that gym, or any business, closed does any good.
This policing flows only in one direction. I wouldn't dare complain about the guy down the block with his big BLM lawn sign, complete with a raised fist. In our current culture, he has the "right" to plant signs like that in his yard. I mind my own business and say a cordial hello when we pass one another. There are homes nearby with pictures lined up outside of all the popular victims — you know, Justice for George Floyd, et al. Nobody says a word against them.
Yet if I were to put a "Who killed Ashli Babbitt" sign up, I would be persecuted. What the left does is fine. Any other viewpoint will not be tolerated. It's stunning to realize that most of us had no idea, when we got the fun new phone with a camera, what extraordinary power tech companies and the media would gain over our lives, or how easily half the country could be gaslighted.
I was shocked a few weeks ago to walk into a little Asian restaurant to pick up our take-out lunch and find it half-filled with diners. All over our state, restaurants have been closed for indoor dining for nearly a year. This brave little place, which has maybe a dozen tables altogether, no doubt ignored the directives to survive.
They nevertheless acted responsibly and exercised common sense based on their best knowledge. They had family groups at half of the tables and an empty table between each group. My thought at the time was that somebody would inevitably report them. Yet they bravely stayed open, risking that chance.
I would never have dreamed of turning them in, but I can't imagine that everyone was like me. There are too many people — the ubiquitous "Karens" — invested in their own self-righteous indignation these days. I haven't been back to see if they are still open, but I hope they are.
The nanny state and the surveillance state have merged, and we play dual roles, as both the victims and the enablers. It obviously makes some people feel powerful to record what they see and hear, make assumptions that twist intentions, and ruin other people's lives. Likewise, it's easy for the government to ignore anything other than its power when making rules for all the little businesses that enrich our culture and just want to survive another day.
Ceding our personal responsibility to people with little moral sense and no real-life business experience, as is the case with most of our political class, spells disaster for both common sense and personal integrity. It destroys all that is good in our culture. My examples are relatively small, but this will inevitably grow worse. More people will lose their livelihoods and their autonomy, as our once free country drifts away. I hope this trend will become so blatant, obvious, and horrifying that it can't be ignored.
Image: Photo by Zakaria Zayane on Unsplash.