Where Do You Stand?
Are you outraged? Honest question. The answer is probably that you are not. In fact, it's probably along the lines of, "Of course not. Why do you ask?"
Probably much like you, I live a pretty normal, regular life. I get up earlier than I'd care to, shower and dress for work, get the kids ready for school, walk the dog, then drive to the office. I sit at a desk for a living, doing somewhat geeky things that pay the bills but wouldn't exactly make me ponder sticking around should I win the Powerball jackpot. I text my wife a few times, check up on my elderly mother by phone, email a few friends about lunch and holiday plans. Then I drive home, have dinner with the family, run a few errands, watch the evening news, and putter around until it's bedtime.
Except, in the back of my mind, I'm aware those texts, calls and emails are likely being intercepted and stored somewhere, as part of a great, unfocused "grab it all, read it later" policy. I'm aware of how many times I'm picked up on traffic cameras as well as satellite flyovers (this isn't paranoia, either - my geeky work is related to this data, what we can extract from it, and the pressure being put in the FAA to allow CONUS drone operations). I'm aware that, if those errands of mine include making too many cash deposits at my bank, I may open myself up to civil forfeiture. I know that there are places in this country where local law enforcement lies to court officers about the use of domestic spying technology - and that Federal agencies will go to great lengths to cover it up when those lies fall apart. I wonder about how my children's education will be impacted by the Common Core curriculum, which has raised a sense of alarm even among those who grew up under Mao's "Cultural Revolution" brainwashing.
I listen to representatives and fans of our two major parties rail against "the other guys' violation of our rights," knowing full well that both are equally as guilty and will perpetuate this cycle of infringement upon our rights and liberties. I'm aware that the Environmental Protection Agency has (for now) gotten away with random reclassification of "navigable waterways" to include ditches and essentially large puddles, in order to extend their authority onto private property. I've seen the Bureau of Land Management launch a still-ongoing attempt to seize over 90,000 acres of a Texas ranch by unilaterally declaring "the border has moved so now it's Oklahoma, where we own everything." I'm aware of the ATF's decision to give permission to citizens to manufacture machineguns, then threaten to arrest them for... manufacturing machineguns.
And it all concerns me, if you'll forgive the understatement.
It would be nice to think, "If I just got this information out to the public, the people would stand up with me and put an end to it." But that's not been the case, in my experience. There are - thankfully - pockets of citizens filing lawsuits, developing privacy-enhancing software, whistle-blowing where they see abuses, but I look out and mostly see nothing but the "If You Have Nothing to Hide Brigade" lining up to throw their - and our - right to privacy on the bonfire just to prove to an untrustworthy government how trustworthy they are. The information is out there for anyone not too willfully blind to see, yet the vast majority of "the people" really don't care unless it impacts them tangibly, immediately, and to a dire degree - and sometimes not even then.
Jonathan Gruber called us all stupid and admitted that it took manipulation of both the system and our apathetic ignorance to allowed passage of a law that now requires us to buy something whether or not we want it. You would think there would be a legion of torch-and-pitchfork-wieIding citizens demanding retribution. But instead, we collectively chuckle and shake our heads in self-deprecating acceptance, as though we're listening to a sharp-tongued stand-up comedian deliver social commentary. "Ha-ha-ha! He's right! We're so stupid." Why do we not take offense? Why do we not take action to reverse this?
Why do more of us not seem to care?
So... what about you? You live in the same world as I, you are subject to the same conditions that I see as threatening my and my family's continued freedoms and liberties. You are in the same populace that has its communication randomly intercepted, its daily life periodically captured on remote video, its political views deliberately manipulated through deception, and its life choices made for them by decree.
Are you outraged? If so, what are you going to do about it? If not... why not?