Confused Bush Wants Anti-Freedom Policy to Preserve Freedom!
Big Neighbor is watching
Here are portions of a recent commentary on Bush's big government authoritarian policies. Thanks to the Geonomy Society for pointing it out. The full commentary originally appeared in The Oregonian.
by Stew AlbertHe's a friendly guy, and you let him into your house because he is delivering an air conditioner on a sweltering summer day. He makes some amiable conversation, he loves your house and when you show him around, he's blown away by all those old '60s posters on the wall.
"Must have been a great time," he declares.
The delivery guy leaves, and you forget him and concentrate on the air conditioner and getting cool. But the guy doesn't forget about you; on the contrary, he makes a full report about your posters to Homeland Security.
It seems he has another job that runs parallel to his deliveries and installations. The friendly man who loves your house is an informant volunteer for the Justice Department's new nationwide program of participatory dictatorship called TIPS.
This paranoid scenario hasn't happened yet, but Bush's proposal is going to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain.
All over America, all sorts of delivery people, repair workers and truck drivers would be recruited and trained in the frightening practice of reporting on the "suspicious" or "unusual" behavior of their fellow citizens. It may become the most terrifying of the various tyrannical anti-freedom measures that have been employed by Bush since Sept. 11 in order to ensure the preservation of American freedom.
Getting citizens to spy on their neighbors in large numbers -- and the Justice Department hopes to beat East Germany's record -- involves the destruction of our civil society and the replacement of communal sensibility with chilling paranoia.
When Big Neighbor is watching, the necessary distance between society and state is pushed aside and we are left with massive mistrust, fear and a sense that "1984" was much more than just a scary book.
Usually repression does not base itself on the mass recruiting of ordinary workers. But in this lazy consumerist age when so many people have their objects of desire delivered to their doors and a multitude of workers get to see where you live, it makes sense that at least the most mobile members of the working class would be eagerly sought out for snooping and betrayals of trust and the old good neighbor policy -- parlaying friendly smiles into amateur espionage.
To keep things fair, everyone in the country, even rich people, would be encouraged to spy on their neighbors. The TIPS informants would have stickers prominently displayed on their vehicles offering phone numbers where the stray snoop and gossip could call in information about any observed offbeat behavior and eccentric happenings.
And of course, this will be a great way to settle a grudge. Get back at someone who offended you!
The U.S. Postal Service, under the embarrassment of public exposure, has decided, for the moment, to drop out of the TIPS program. [But they might quietly re-enter the program at any time, when publicity has cooled.] There may be enough bored, restless and angry Americans, the kind who want to do things that will be described as being significant and of vital importance, enough desperate homeland volunteers, to turn TIPS into a smashing success -- and a horrible new way to be an American.
Stew Albert of Portland was a '60s peace activist and one of the original Yippies. His memoir will be published this fall. Reach him via the Web site http://members.aol.com/stewa/stew.html
Bigger, more intrusive, more authoritarian government -- that's what Republican leaders are seeking. And the Democrats are doing little to offer significant alternatives. Why are mainstream politicians are rushing to embrace the same policies as the old failed Communist governments? We need to hear more from parties that support truly American values of freedom and decentralism -- we need the Green and Libertarian parties. What do you say? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
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