...let's talk a little bit more about yesterday's post. There seems to be a consensus (which includes me, now that my tongue is no longer poking into my cheek) that our government can't be trusted not to misuse technology that might otherwise be beneficial to us. Doesn't that just scare the pants off you?
Maybe I've been reading too many spy novels. A few months ago it was John Grisham's The Broker and David Baldacci's The Camel Club. In the next night or two I'll finish Baldacci's sequel, The Collectors. These books are fiction, I know, but they all involve governmental agencies spying on each other or on private citizens and eliminating anybody who gets in their way. That seems to me to be a rather extreme system of checks and balances.
Does anything like that happen in real life? I don't know. I look at the representatives of both major political parties battling it out with big words and distorted facts on TV and with legislative maneuvering and manipulation in Congress, and I wonder how far they'd be tempted to go in their efforts to achieve and maintain power. What lines are they willing to cross? Thinking about it gives me the creeps.
Here we sit in the land of the free, home of the brave, afraid that the government we voted into office might stick it to us, given the opportunity and the technology. I don't mean for this to be a political commentary, as I don't think our fear of Big Brother applies exclusively to the current administration. I think it's timeless and universal.
The truth is, I'd venture a guess that if there were suddenly a mandate to microchip the entire population of the world, we'd more willingly put our trust in our own government to administer the program than in that of any other country. Our government is flawed, but it's what we know.
So maybe our vigorous protests against the idea of microchipping and monitoring people aren't as much about distrusting our government as they are about protecting--not taking any chances with--our personal freedom. That's what we've all grown up with. Even if freedom isn't something we think about often, even if we sometimes take it for granted, we value it beyond measure. And it's what we know.
Things haven't looked too good lately, but they could be a lot worse.