This week's show on A World Of Possibilities is entitled "Tapped: Domestic Surveillance In The Age Of Terror". Do Americans care that they have given up one of their most basic rights, the right to privacy?
In the age of snail mail and hard wired telephones, it was very difficult for the government to physically put a tap on your phone or to get a warrant to open your mail, but in the age of electronic communication it is simple. Does knowing that people might be listening in on your cel phone or reading your email communications dampen the tendency for free expression of ideas especially if they are unpopular?
Of course it does.
We are increasingly living in the age of fear and anxiety. The government has us believing that there is a sexual predator, a rapist, a terrorist around every corner, and lurking in every conceivable space. If we are afraid enough, then we will become a nation of sheep and do what they tell us in return for their promise to keep us safe.
Having worked over 35 years in the mental health field, I am very experienced in working with people who have paranoid delusions, auditory hallucinations, and disorganized thinking. One of the most common themes that delusions and hallucinatory experience involve after religious delusions, are persecutorial delusions that the government is bugging, tracking, and gathering information on them, and other people for nefarious reasons.
With the current national climate of NSA spying, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the sane from the insane. And just because you might be paranoid doesn't mean that the government doesn't have you under surveillance.
Are Americans willing to give up their civil liberties and their freedom to idiots who promise to keep them safe. Are they really that stupid to fall for such disengenuous scare tactics?
If you think that your government has the competence and good sense to keep you safe look at the mess in Iraq, and look at the mess in New Orleans, and look at the mess of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.
This Republican Administration claimed to be the children of Ronald Reagan who said that the nine most disengenuous words ever spoken are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." Reagan and his brand of conservatives seemed to believe that the less government the better. Bush and his neo-cons seem to believe not only in unlimited spending and huge government, but government with expanded powers. It is ironic that the supposed new reason that Bush says we are fighting in Iraq is not because of WMD, etc., but to spread democracy and freedom around the world whether people want it or not, and whether the community of nations think it is a good idea or not. Iraq is certainly not better off today, and Americans, who perpetrated this immoral pre-emptive war, are not more free.
It is hard for me as a psychotherapist to understand how people will feel more free when they are surreptitiously under the surveillance of their government. I can understand how they might feel more safe, but I don't understand how they could feel more free. Iam reminded of the motto on the New Hampshire license plates, "Live free or die." I think the motto referred to external threats not to the loss of freedom to one's own government.
To listen to the show, click on the link below.
Link: "A World of Possibilities" This Week's Program.