A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
Not too long ago, I stood in a parking lot of one of the nationally known Big Box stores and counted twenty-two cameras surveilling the parking area. Now that was OUTSIDE the store. Inside, they were everywhere.
But that is a private business. It doesn't bother me today as much as it did when they had those signs on the doors telling us they were watching us with their cameras -- "FOR YOUR PROTECTION!" No they weren't! They were looking for thieves! Even before a customer had entered the building -- that customer had been lied to! Heck of a way to do business, right?
Now we have police/government cameras spying on us 24-7, 365. I sometimes feel as though I'm a specimen in a Petrie dish!
Now we learn of this: "The FBI's Next Generation Identification system would use photographs and biometric data to help law enforcement entities nationwide identify possible persons of interests.
Privacy advocates fear the FBI will indiscriminately mash together biometric and photographic records into a searchable database, not taking the time to separate the wholly innocent from former convicts, the arrested-and-acquitted, and persons of interest.
The controversy lies in the grey area surrounding information outside the bounds of arrest records or mug shots such as pictures from social networks, fingerprints from background checks for job applications, or even photographs taken of folks just walking down the street."
What we've here, people, is a police state!
Today, Americans are living is a society I used to read about in science fiction books when I was a kid. (George Orwell, eat your heart out! America has far exceeded your expectations and predictions!)
I was thinking, just the other day, that on those "Welcome" signs at the entrances to small towns and villages, maybe the city councils ought to add: "We're watching you -- for your own protection, of course!"
Ridiculous? Absolutely. What's even more ridiculous is that we, the citizens, have allowed this to happen. What? Are we sheep? Are we mice -- or men? How have we come to be so cowed by Big Brother?
So, I thought, why not take to wearing a mask outside my home? You know, sorta stick my finger in the government's collective eye(s). I had even thought of acquiring an Obama mask -- just for that purpose.
Well, guess what? Turns out -- it's illegal to wear a mask in public in my state (If you are over the age of 16 years)!
Here's the law in North Carolina:
禮14-12.7. Wearing of masks, hoods, etc., on public ways.
No person or persons at least 16 years of age shall, while wearing any mask, hood or device whereby the person, face or voice is disguised so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, enter, be or appear upon any lane, walkway, alley, street, road, highway or other public way in this State. (1953, c. 1193, s. 6; 1983, c. 175, ss. 1, 10; c. 720, s. 4.)
禮14-12.8. Wearing of masks, hoods, etc., on public property.
No person or persons shall in this State, while wearing any mask, hood or device whereby the person, face or voice is disguised so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, enter, or appear upon or within the public property of any municipality or county of the State, or of the State of North Carolina. (1953, c. 1193, s. 7.)
How about them apples? Huh?
Look. There is something fundamentally WRONG when a government can photograph you or record a video of you, whether digitally, tape, film, or any other way, without your consent or knowledge and without a legal warrant from a judge -- and yet, YOU are not allowed to deny them that intrusion into your privacy by wearing a mask to conceal your own God-given visage. In other words -- it's just plain wrong! (Besides, I thought we fought a war about this once, already! If memory serves, it was called The Revolutionary War.)
Somewhere in the archives of the US there is rumored to be an old document, not much referred to these days (nor remembered), called the US Constitution. In olden days in America it was the law of the land. It is said, by the elderly among us, that that old document actually protected the citizens from the government. How quaint!
Now that we live in "post constitution America," there is nothing to protect us from the state. But, then, as we are so often told, the government is here only to help us, and they watch us for our own protection.
Most puzzling, however, to old codgers, like me, is WHY the American people just seem to ACCEPT the intrusive creep of the government into their private lives -- not to mention the blatant takeover of America's public life. I just don't get it!
I sometimes think it must be a generational thing. And it may be. But I also think part of it can be laid at the feet of the American culture which has undergone a devastating reformation. What with multiculturalism and the feminization of America, it's as though America has been subjected to a strict regimen of saltpeter. America has been emasculated.
Think about it. My generation had John Wayne as a cultural icon. A man's man. Today "The Duke" has been replaced with cultural icons such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp. (I don't think I need to elaborate here.)
Even our President insists on slinking to the rear with his "lead from behind" foreign policy. And Obama's inability to understand "American Exceptionalism" is a symptom of how America's national self-esteem has wilted and gone flaccid. America's national will is no longer strong and robust and we seem incapable of exertion or endurance -- especially when it comes to protecting our own liberty and freedom.
I have concluded that we have been "conditioned" to accept a more "homogeneous" way of life suitable more for a socialist/communist/Marxist society than for a free, capitalist society, the likes of which made America the greatest country on earth.
SOMETHING happened -- and it didn't happen overnight. No. I'm pretty sure we were "conditioned."
The very fact that we ALLOW the government to gather all that information on us is evidence that there is a new "Normal" in America. The "rugged individualist" is a thing of the past, and anachronism, having given way to a "socialist" who is incapable of caring for himself/herself without constant supervision by the Big Brother government.
Don't think so? Well, if you thought my remarks above -- about wearing a mask in public -- was simply evidence of an old codger ruminating in a state of dementia from advanced age -- just remember I have not been conditioned. My generation was ahead of the tsunami of socialism that washed over America from the early 1960's forward.
When all is said and done, I can offer only pity for those of you who came after my generation. You don't understand freedom. You do not miss freedom -- because you never HAD IT. And, may God have mercy on you -- you probably never will.
J. D. Longstreet