Kade Crockford, Director of Technology for Liberty with the ACLU points out Americans spend billions of dollars each year fighting the war on terror with failed systems. In the meantime, the only disagreement between the two political parties is about “how quickly we should dispose of our civil liberties.” (“Keep Fear Alive,” by Kade Crockford, The Baffler, #30, pg 52.)
Crockford insists the reason we fail is that we make no distinction between national security and personal security. The two are not the same though they overlap at points. Worse, we have forgotten the criminal predicate that guides this country: the government must have a reasonable cause before it is empowered to investigate a crime. (Ibid pgs 52-53.)
When we allow ourselves to become frightened, we unleash national security forces that feel empowered to spy on its citizens. We saw this conduct with Japanese internment in World War II, with the government’s infiltration of the Labor Movement, with the war against communism and now with our with never-ending war on terror. Some agencies have become so rabid in their pursuit of public safety that the public has risen in protest, as in the case of “Black Lives Matter.” (Click)
Despite the billions we have poured into security systems, we are not safe. Consider the number of terrorist attacks that have occurred on our soil since 9/11. (Click)
Rational minds might want to reconsider the effectiveness of our methods, particularly in the case of citizen surveillance. Perhaps we should address the root cause of discontent in this country: economic inequality, our crumbling schools, a growing number of homeless people and a patchwork public health system. Beefing up the spy systems at the cost of these social services isn’t a good plan, particularly when we allow government to investigate the innocent as if they were criminals.
Surprisingly, a technology company has stepped forward to say, “enough.” Apple has challenged the government’s right to know all things all the time. The real decision about freedom, however, rests not with the courts but with ourselves. Where is the line between personal freedom and national security to be drawn? Whatever we decide, let that decision not be based on fear. “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” (Click)