Growing up in the early 2000s, I was naturally privy to the tide of screeching concern over mass surveillance and the Bush-approved “police state.” Being at least nominally Republican, I felt predisposed to the apologetics typical of the time. We needed these tools to defeat the terrorists, even if those stopped were seldom ever showcased to the public. Opposition to them was suspect, indicating potential sympathies with the vile forces aligned against American democratic freedom, and “all that stuff.”
With age I outgrew those assumptions, perhaps sooner than others who were plugged into the happy ecstasy as Obama entered office, when liberals suddenly believed fighting terrorism was a glorious cause. Nevertheless, it has stuck in my mind to this day that we are in small ways encouraged to extend compliance towards such policies from a young age. If you came from a family like mine, there was precious little room for privacy, regardless of its desirous status. What you did, who you spoke with, where you went, every last bit would be relayed back to the head honchos, and only after an upward dissemination to each branch. The same was true regardless of how clearly something was designated as private. Journals or diaries were all fair game, because family.
That lack of genuine refuge can certainly lead a person to become insular, trying to preserve what limited autonomy they possess before it is grab-bagged away. On the flip side, it may merely create a conditioning where one feels almost obligated to report broad swaths of their life in order to stay within the bounds of “appropriate” behavior. Failing to do so feels almost criminal, and unless you’re a rap fan, probably not ideal.
Rather than being restricted to youth however, it begins to metastasize outwards into everyday life. Social media shifts from a silly hobby to a duty of sorts, reminding whatever handful of denizens are viewing the profile that you exist, and are acting accordingly. After all, one cannot fulfill his expected objectives as a human being by showing life to random strangers in the park, or whichever acquaintances he comes across on an average day. The internet must be informed, or else it’s somehow less legitimate.
The State is quite plainly the culmination of this youthful trend. If the family, the community, the church, coworkers, and social media sycophants are all definite targets for news delivery, then how can good behavior not also be transmitted to the government authorities? No doubt they will appreciate seeing proud citizens observing their gallant goober role in the open realm. A spirit doing it in private is likely anti-social, with secrets that are lies. Likely to be guilty of untoward attitudes regarding the democratic-mandating syndicate in Washington, D.C., London, or Beijing. Worthy of skepticism and close study.
But the programmed revealers? They aren’t worried, because they, “have nothing to hide.” Nothing. Not a scratch or second-guess. Only the sounding signal of an honest life.