Following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, the debate over gun violence, gun control and the Second Amendment has been inflamed anew, with those on the right scrambling to preserve and defend firearms rights and those on the left engaging in protests and regurgitating baseless anti-gun propaganda on a dizzying scale.
Of course, we’ve heard all of these arguments before. Those on the left, captained by progressive politicos who wish to render Americans unable to defend themselves against tyranny (the sole reason for the existence of the Second Amendment), include ideologues and the well-meaning deluded (useful idiots) rallying to manifest the impossible dream of a country without guns, except for those in the hands of the military, possibly law enforcement and those of sufficient stature and wealth to engage private security firms – you know, politicians, Hollywood celebrities and such.
It doesn’t seem to matter that statistics from around the world bear out that gun violence and violent crime in general typically skyrocket and remain high in scenarios in which firearms in the hands of the public are prohibited or severely restricted. Those on the left handily ignore the fact that even in the former Soviet Union – one of the most hard-line totalitarian regimes in history – criminals were still readily able to obtain firearms. The fact that in nearly all cases – at least in Western nations – more guns in the hands of private citizens typically result in less crime committed with firearms rather than more is seldom even argued by gun-rights supporters.
I recently read Robert Draper’s article “They are Watching You” in the February 2018 edition of National Geographic, which addresses the proliferation of surveillance technology and the scope of its use on a global scale. NatGeo, which is generally on board with everything espoused by the hard left (from histrionics over man-made climate change to the legitimacy of gender-bending politics), did allow Draper some latitude when it came to peripherally examining concerns over government agencies summarily invading individuals’ privacy, ostensibly for the good of the collective.
“Even less quantifiable, but far more vexing, are the billions of images of unsuspecting citizens captured by facial recognition technology and stored in law enforcement and private-sector databases over which our control is practically nonexistent.”
– Robert Draper, “They are Watching You” National Geographic, February 2018
The NatGeo issue itself was entitled “The New Big Brother” and featured other fare on surveillance – but as we know, it is quite common for those on both the left and the right to demonstrate a dangerous tendency to accept government intrusion as long as they believe it will serve their particular ideological bent. Draper does cite both Orwell and Huxley in his comparisons to emerging Western surveillance states, as well as the ubiquitous nature of technology in the hands of private organizations and individuals; indeed, there have been high-profile instances wherein misfeasance and criminality on the part of government representatives was exposed by technology in the hands of private citizens, such as the 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police.
That said, one still cannot render a compelling argument that surveillance technology in the hands of private citizens poses a greater threat to government (or our liberties) than the reverse.
As we know, it has been argued that even the rise of Islamic extremism in the U.S., which of course became a national concern on Sept. 11, 2001, may have been entirely orchestrated by globalist progressives in our own government seeking to create a climate in which the citizenry would not only accept, but welcome the advent of the surveillance state. Whether or not one subscribes to “9/11 Truther” hypotheses, at this juncture, it should be clear to any thinking American that many of those who’ve held some of the more powerful positions in our national government are entirely capable of such action.
The point I am trying to make here is that there are still far too many Americans who possess an “it can’t happen here” attitude with regard to tyranny, when if nothing else, the last 10 years of political machinations have demonstrated that it most assuredly can. Certain measures initiated by the ostensibly conservative George W. Bush administration (the Patriot Act among them) to combat the aforementioned Islamist extremism problem were welcomed by many on the right, but these paved the way for monumental abuses by the Obama administration, most notably the domestic spying scandal that came to light in 2013.
On the bright side of the privacy issue, many actually are waking up to the potential for government intrusion into their personal affairs. For example, consumers in the U.S. and several other countries have been signing up in droves for the Defense Enabling and Assisting Framework, a state-of-the-art digital security technology that protects cellphone communications and is the only such utility currently within the average consumer’s price range. It bears mentioning that many of the company’s current subscribers are law enforcement agencies and personnel.
Still, despite revelations concerning closeted progressives in the Republican Party, the domestic spying scandal and the militarization of federal agencies – all of which contributed to the election of Donald Trump as president – it is clear that Americans are going to have to become far, far more scrupulous with regard to what power they give to government, whether it be local, state, or federal – or more accurately, what power they allow government to appropriate.
In short: Be careful what you wish for.