Troubling Times: The Rise of Big Brother

“The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.” – Edmund Burke

I don’t normally blog about political and world affairs as I tend to be more focused on what individuals can do inside themselves to change the world as a whole. However, I am becoming increasingly troubled and alarmed at what I see happening in America, specifically with regards to security measures being taken by Homeland Security to “protect” America. While we are being protected from terrorists, who is protecting our personal freedom and our personal dignity?

We often joke about Big Brother, a reference to the George Orwell book, 1984. But really it’s no joke anymore. Ever since the 9/11 attack on America we have been moving steadily and inexorably towards a society that strips people of their personal freedoms in the name of personal safety. It started with having to take our shoes off at the airport. An inconvenience to be sure, but we were riding the wave of terror and taking your shoes off didn’t seem like too high a price to pay to ensure our safety. Then we weren’t allowed to bring liquids on an airplane, even if they were in a sealed container. So we invented the 6 ounce bottle to carry our hair spray, grumbled a bit, and moved on.

Today, as you no doubt have heard or even experienced, personal body scanners are now being employed to x-ray your body. People are also being taken aside and given a very intimate and thorough pat down by TSA employees. People feel violated and sexually assaulted. Is this where we are headed? In order to protect ourselves from terrorists we must violate and assault the innocent? Is this too high a price to pay for security?

I think we can agree that the vast majority of people in America are not terrorists, yet we are now treating every citizen that walks through an airport security station as if they are plotting potential terrorist action. Do I want a terrorist on MY plane? No. Is it worth assaulting, violating, and restricting our freedom to ensure that no terrorist gets on a plane with me? I say no. It’s gone too far. We have given our power to the ephemeral terrorist, the one that lurks in our minds, not our airports. We have given our power to fear.

September 11th was tragic. People lost their lives. It was a realization that we in America are not safe from terrorist attack. Outrage and fear prevailed. Homeland Security was created. And loss of personal freedom ensued. Someone is preying on our fear and stealing our liberty in the process. And the worst part is, we’re handing our power over on a silver platter. “Protect us!” “Save us!” “Don’t let them get us!” But what is the price? And are you willing to pay it? Do you see what it’s costing you?

And now something even more troubling is brewing. I saw the billboards go up all over Las Vegas recently. “See Something, Say Something.” There’s a big eye in between the phrase. Yes, Big Brother is watching. The eye in the sky is becoming more ubiquitous. I’m all in favor of reporting criminal activity, when I see it. I’ll be the first to call in the authorities when I see a crime in progress. But now we are being asked to report suspicious activity, not criminal activity. Can the average person discern terrorist activities while out shopping in the mall?

We’re about to recreate the witch hunts. “His skin is dark and he’s carrying a briefcase. I should report him.” “There’s a bulge in his pocket, he might be carrying a gun. I’d better call someone.” “He’s traveling alone and won’t make eye contact with anyone. I’d better have him checked out.” Better to be safe than sorry. So what if innocent people are detained, interrogated, imprisoned, or investigated? We must protect ourselves!

If the goal of terrorists is to get us to live in fear, they have succeeded. If we are being asked to expend our energy looking for bad guys on the ridiculously off chance we’ll actually find one, then the terrorists have won. Fear controls us. We are ruled by suspicion and fear.

What’s next? Cameras in our home? Microchips in our bodies? Mandated by the government to “protect us?” Are we not asking our government to protect us? Aren’t they only doing what we ask?

How can we stop it? We ask for something else. Let us revolt, not with violence, but with love. Let us take back our freedom and liberty by placing a higher value on love than fear.

It begins inside each one of us. Instead of seeds of doubt and suspicion, sow the seeds of love. See the good in others. Support, love and care for your neighbors. Choose abundance over scarcity. Compassion over greed. Justice over profit. Begin to create a world around you that revolves around love, trust, and faith in your fellow man. Infect people with joy and gratitude. Contribute instead of taking. Just do not let your liberty and freedom be taken right out from under you. If we are to prevail, we must awaken to the agenda of those who seek to control us through fear, whether that be terrorists or our own government.

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