Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The disconnect on the surveillance state

This explanation, from Fred DeBoer, of why so many pundits are cravenly defending the overreach of our ever-growing surveillance state, seems right on the money. It's not just careerism, it's identification with the overclass:

Marshall sees nothing to fear from authority and the state, because he is one of the Chosen People of authority and the state. Meanwhile, those who are not among the elect fear and distrust authority, because it daily oppresses them. This fear and distrust is as rational as a thing can be, but Marshall cannot bring himself to believe in it. Marshall has that in common with Jeffrey Toobin, Richard Cohen, and David Brooks: no reason to fear the police state. Why should they? They are, all of them, American aristocrats: white, male, rich, and properly deferential to anyone with a title or a badge or authority or an office. Of course they don't know why anyone would worry about limitless surveillance. They themselves have nothing to fear because they are the overclass. They can't imagine what it might be like to be Muslim or black or poor or to have any other characteristic that removes them from the ranks of the assumed blameless. But the story of America is the story of people with reason to fear power. It's the story of how very dangerous it can be to find oneself outside of the overclass, how relentlessly the state and the moneyed work to crush difference. Marshall's notion that men like Manning and Snowden should simply have backed off and played by the rules is one of the most consistent and dishonest messages in American political history. It was the message delivered to the AIDS activists who are profiled in How to Stop a Plague. It was the message delivered to Martin Luther King and the rest of the Civil Rights movement. It was the message delivered to the suffragettes. It was the message delivered to the abolitionists. It was the message delivered to the American revolutionaries. In each case, self-serious men told those who perceived themselves to be oppressed and suffering to get on board and play by the rules, in deference to the community.


dbshotz said...

This really does make a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing with us, Ulysses!

Ohioflora said...

The gap between these wealthy, elitist "opinion makers" and the rest of us working stiffs is getting wider and wider!

mlee33 said...

The blogger you cite here is pretty interesting. Thanks for turning me on to him!