On a recent trip to South America I spent some memorable moments around an Argentinian barbecue eating and drinking with some younger folks from seemingly all over the world. Australian, European, British, Dutch, local Mendozans, somehow two old farts had booked a hostel and wound up staying with the United Nations of all hostels. Germany would leave, and in would walk Spain, England checks out and in comes Ireland. Anyway, about a dozen of us were at this particular collective effort and the subject of discussion became at first the subject of surveillance cameras on British streets, and from that, the subject of privacy.
Now my traveling partner at the time and myself are children of the 50s and 60s. Privacy, particularly the right thereto, has long been for us a staple of our protective Constitutional nourishment. We still will fight tooth and nail for it. But, shocking to my friend and myself, since primarily we seemed to like these kids (they ranged from 18 to about 30), was that they almost unanimously expressed a total disregard for anything like privacy. I was amazed. They did NOT object to the cameras on the streets. Later, by conversation I would find out that neither did most of them have any qualms with their bank account amount being public knowledge, or even, being constantly tracked by GPS. We even extended the argument, and asked about surveillance in showers and bedrooms. My friend and I were, by the shocked expressions we met each other with several times during the dialogue, simply flabbergasted at what we were hearing. Apparently, not just the ideals of free speech and free press and “public servants” are dying, but also the right to privacy is under threat. How can it be? What can make a proud free man be willing to give up his privacy, or his free speech for that matter?
Luckily, seeing as this “Banquet” was stocked with armchair philosophers, good reasons (allegedly) exist. We even found out the nauseating extent of human natural rights folks would give up in the names of “security” and “protection” and utilitarian principles like “The Greater Good.” It’s as if what’s yours is mine and mine is yours is now almost considered OK, and so everything is just one big swap. Of the situation in his town where two sisters married two brothers, then got divorced and switched mates, only to a year later split and have children with other spouses, my uncle quipped “They’re just one big happy family.” He was fond of the phrase, but remembering the appropriateness of the remark in that instance still nearly floors me.
We live in an age when all the natural rights of man are being footnoted and asterisked. Despite their being etched in stone in America their meanings are being slowly eroded and watered-down to where they are almost meaningless. Because of the invented conceptual term “Hate Speech” and the like, our speech is no longer really free. You are told you have it, but try to use it to say something significant or controversial that many people will hear or read and see where that leads you. YouTube, Yahoo, Google, “disorderly conduct,” “spreading falsehoods” – like the poor people in Germany who on penalty of imprisonment cannot even question Jewish claims about WWII – are infamous for selectively deleting and so censoring whatever they in their collective wisdoms deem unacceptable. According to the US Constitution you have the right “…to be secure in your persons and effects” yet confiscations of property, searches and seizures based on “probable cause” (which should really be called “Possible Cause” if you consider how warrants are issued on slight evidence), and drug testings are today every-day occurrences. Forget the effects, you are not even really “secure in your persons” as what you ingest and what you can do with your bodies are both under some sort of control. You can be forced by authorities to give blood and urine and be tested. You are told you have free press, but anyone with a slight bent toward honest research will soon find out that the sources of the news, the sources of the “facts” we are so often given, are a select few, and these carefully controlled as to what type of news appears, where, and when. Powerful syndicates and media moguls retain the “free” aspect of the press only in that they are “free” to say and make you believe anything they want.
Well, I don’t like this communal if not communist direction one bit but from my experiences I am prepared to declare that it is the way the sheep seem to be going. They don’t care for proof, they want fantasies. They would be willing to give up a digit for a monthly check. They will let you implant their kids with tracking chips, and let the cameras in their showers if it means they will be “safe.” They will laugh at you if you say there is a God, and laugh at you if you say there is no life on other planets. Yet they will believe whatever cockamamie yin-yang theoretical science puts on their plate, talk to you about extraterrestrial life and living, and be happy in a virtual world of virtual experience. They just don’t care. They are happy being just one big happy family.