06 January 2008


In Social Science literature it is called the Surveillance Society. Emails are sifted electronically for particular keywords. More cameras in public spaces will be installed, like they have in London, that scan faces. Google admits that our Web hits are stored to sell to advertisers. If someone wants to know about us, the miners for data can get to them easily.

On an ideological level, it seems that in a climate of insecurity government begins to see its primary purpose as "security." The more insecurity in the world, as interpreted by governments, leads to more focus on "security." It's a dialectical process: There's no "security" (as conceived and actuated by government) without insecurity. One begets the other.

Remember Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, in which there was perpetual war on the periphery, where the government was "securing" the peace by fighting the continuous war against "insecurity?" Is this the same tautologous situation that we find ourselves in? War equals peace? Shades of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four?

When were people fooled into believing that government was securing their safety?

Am I speaking about the fictional Brave New World or the present one? Consider this Brave-New-Worldlike exhortation from Cheney/Bush: We must fight them there, so we won't have to fight them here. This is fictional government "security" in the face of phantom insecurity.

This is not to deny that there is considerable insecurity in present conditions, but to suggest that governments will create their own milieux of "insecurities" for the purpose of consolidating and centralizing greater power in the name of security. Our ports are not secure, but we have killed perhaps a half-million innocents in Iraq in a war of "security" on the periphery. Habeas corpus has suffered a direct hit. It's all justified, even if we lose some freedoms, in the pretense of making us feel secure.
I believe we are witnessing a runaway reaction of government-created security/insecurity

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