Snowden says, I and I agree, that we have a short window of time to dismantle the government’s surveillance machine. If we wait too long it’ll be too late, and nothing the people of the world can do will be able to stop it.
But let’s say it’s already too late, and some of us make the decision to just live with it (I say this only partly tongue-in-cheek).
We don’t fret over the government knowing everything about us by collecting our online activities from willing corporate partners. We just live and enjoy our life, and try to avoid doing anything that might catch the attention of our government.
Like Robert Scoble, we simply revel in being surveilled. Hey, at least we know someone’s paying attention.
We just fade into the masses, so to speak. Don’t even think about things that might get you in trouble.
It’s not totally impossible. I visited the Soviet Union in 1980 with my parents, and there was some joy in that country. People find a way to survive.
But my biggest problem with all this is we don’t get a rule book, and the rules will constantly change. The Russians had it easy, all they had to do was support a single political party, without fail and for their entire lives.
We don’t have it nearly so easy.
We know that under this administration we shouldn’t associate with the Tea Party, oppose abortion, join the NRA, or make donations to the President’s political opponents.
That’s pretty clear. I can live with that.
But what if a republican gets into office next? The rules will change. People getting abortions may be targeted next. Or who support “common sense” restrictions to the Second Amendment. Or who donate to that president’s political opponents.
Sure, we can probably see some of that coming and change our positions on key issues deemed important by the new government. We’re not stupid, after all! We can see the writing on the wall and change our core beliefs right as the new administration takes power.
But we won’t be able to go back and change our history. They’ll see that a decade ago we donated to Planned Parenthood and voted for President Obama. Suddenly, going out and buying a gun or two won’t be enough. The new government will know we’re not true believers in the cause. We’re secret left wing or right wing extremists, and guilty of a new crime – engaging in personal behavior designed to fool the surveillance state.
Yes, I can easily see a future law that prohibits us from engaging in behavior that is designed to trip up the surveillance machine.
Knowing this, we know that we need to start being careful today in order to ensure our ability to live tomorrow.
That means the only rule to living in our particular kind of surveillance state (where the machine is permanent, but the targets swing wildly over time with the whims of democracy) is this – be completely apathetic. Support nothing and condemn nothing.
Do nothing to draw attention to yourself. Think carefully about every email, phone call, Facebook like and Twitter favorite and make damn sure that doesn’t conflict with our government’s goals either today or tomorrow.
And in the meantime, support the only political party that really matters, the NSA. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook now. It might get you a little lenience later on when they’re tracking you for buying that Prius.
The NSA is good. The NSA protects us. The NSA knows what’s best. They’re here, and they’re here to help.