While reading an article on the evolution of wiretapping technology, and listening to my favorite Rush album (Hemispheres), a synapse circuit overloaded, and I felt compelled to record my thoughts for posterity. Here is my hastily written correlative shotgun thesis.
With the emergence of digital and cell phone technology in the 90’s, the spooks were losing the capability of spying on Americans. Something had to be done to ensure that 4th Amendment violations would continue unabated. Not to worry, a ball-busting series of negotiations between communications industry titans, the Feds, and supposed civil libertarians (the ACLU), paved the way for the current and future privacy erosions.
Jerry Berman was a veteran of the privacy wars, seemingly born for the role of liberal, dogmatic activist. After earning his bachelor’s and master’s, and, in 1967, his law degree, Berman began lobbying for the American Civil Liberties Union. He became an authority on the intersection of national security and technology, schooled by the exposure of illegal FBI spying operations aimed at political organizations, war protesters, and leftist activists. In 1978, Berman helped to craft the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which set new restrictions on the government’s domestic intelligence-gathering.
He was present at the creation of several important pieces of surveillance legislation, and he helped secure individual privacy protections. In playing his role, Berman didn’t adhere to a hard-and-fast position but instead embraced his own brand of “principled pragmatism.” By his logic, the interests of privacy and national security were not incompatible. If all sides — government, industry, civil-liberties activists — could find ways to “maximize the good and minimize the harm,” as he liked to say, they could strike a satisfactory balance and create workable laws.
This idea guided his work on FISA and other legislation, sometimes to the consternation of more-ideological activists who employed him to lobby Congress on their behalf. Perhaps that was because principled pragmatism recognized an unsavory reality: In Washington, those who show up to play the game make the rules. Negotiation requires sacrifice. Sacrifice requires flexibility. Some people would rather break than bend. But compromise is how things get done, and Berman accepted it. (source)
So as I am reading about that bit of sordid recent history while listening to Rush’s song The Trees. In the song, competing factions (the maples and the oaks) are having a bit of a squabble over collective vs. individual rights relating to sunlight and airspace. The maples formed a union, demanded equal rights, and the state intervened to police the dispute by way of force (hatchet, axe, and saw).
There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.
The trouble with the maples,
(And they’re quite convinced they’re right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light.
But the oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made.
And they wonder why the maples
Can’t be happy in their shade.
There is trouble in the forest,
And the creatures all have fled,
As the maples scream “Oppression!”
And the oaks just shake their heads
So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights.
“The oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light.”
Now there’s no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw ~ Rush (The Trees)
I see these two battles as roughly synonymous. The maple’s cry for the right to more sunlight is akin to the psy-op brainwashed masses demand for more safety and security (through government surveillance). Both must be implemented through the use of force, effectively subjecting the right of the individual to the will of the majority. All hierarchal governmental structures operate in this manner. Forcible interferences with human nature (i.e., natural rights, and individual liberty) are the inherent destructive by-product of any democratic system.
In the natural order of things, the animal and plant kingdoms resolve their disputes with prompt efficiency, as dictated by the laws of nature. Human be-ings haven’t embraced universal homeostatic equilibrium. Consequentially, a perpetual tug-of-war pits one group against another in an endless battle royal of individual rights vs. the mob-rule subjugation machine.
The maples’ demand for more sunlight prompted the invocation of authoritative power as a balancing mechanism. The security of the people is the justification employed to erode the privacy of the individual (a form of psychological violence).
Which prompts the question – do we still have a shared human nature?