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Big Blogger: Toward a Safer World?

Posted by Rick · May 23rd, 2006 · No Comments

Yahoo! reports that a high school in Illinois is going to start monitoring students’ blogs.

On the one hand, I understand this. People want to feel safe. They want their children to be safe. Yet I can’t help but wonder what the world would have been like if the Founders of this nation — who after all tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to create a limited form of government — had had attitudes similar to those held by large numbers of Americans today.

Technology makes it easy — or at least easier — to track just about everything under the sun these days. Radio Frequency Identifier Chips allow for tracking dogs, cars, clothing inventory (and the wearers of that clothing). Cameras positioned throughout our cities and living spaces, police hope, will make their jobs easier and reduce crime.

But is that really the goal? Is that seriously the kind of world in which we should want to live? If so, why not just assign half the population to be police officers on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and half of Saturday? The other half of the population can be police officers on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and cover the other half of Saturday. Or maybe we simply have assigned pairs: you watch me, I’ll watch you. We can take turns following one another around everywhere and making sure no one does “anything wrong.”

To prevent alliances popping up which allow for collusion in the protection of privacy, a computer can randomly re-assign who tracks who on any given day — taking into account geography, of course. Naturally, more of us will be arrested for various infractions, misdemeanors and possibly even felonies. So we’ll need more prisons — and a way to re-assign watcher-watchee pairs mid-day to account for breaks due to arrests.

I don’t really think anyone wants to live like this and, yet, we’re close to being there. The only difference is that a smaller number of law-enforcement-oriented types — I don’t say “police” because we have to include quasi-officials like Mayor Alan “Bubba” Autry of Fresno — assisted by the aforementioned technological devices, are increasingly doing the tracking for us.

Meanwhile various institutions which previously focused on other assignments are being co-opted to carry out the social programs of folks like Autry. Schools no longer focus on education — maybe that’s why more of us are too stupid to think this through — and our legislators, who should be responsible for creating the rules their constituents support, are increasingly caught up with currying corporate favor(s).

To a certain extent, this is understandable. As I said before, everyone wants to feel safe and to have their children be safe. Everyone wants some sense that the world is controlled and/or controllable. And as parts of our world become increasingly “devoted” to religiosity, it becomes all the more important to have Monitors because the reality of a christian world is that people become less moral. Call it the “christians-aren’t-perfect-just-forgiven” syndrome, if you will. The greater the appearance of morality — which is what about 99.9% of christianity is: the appearance of morality — the greater the need for societal controls to ensure that Reality doesn’t hurt, maim, or kill too many of us.

Still — call it nostalgia — I miss the old days, when parents parented their children, legislators legislated, governors governed and people were free to live their lives in peace without having their every daily activity monitored by theoretically-disinterested busybodies.

What do you think? Leave a comment!

Categories: Social Issues


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