But here's the good news. We can still fight back. Today, tomorrow, next month and next year. A website (here) set up for you to call or email your legislators is still operational. I know, because I clicked on the right buttons a day late this morning, and my message was sent to my congress critters. Not that it will do much good, but it still felt good. It's something.
Tens of thousands might seem like a lot of protesters, but their outrage is a mere whisper amidst the submissive roar of the 7 billion other complicit global souls for whom privacy is not only a lost right, but a state of being which is no longer even desirable.
As Henry A. Giroux puts it in his latest Truthout essay, Totalitarian Paranoia in the Post-Orwellian Surveillance State, we have more to fear from public apathy than we do from the evil machinations of the NSA:
Surveillance has become a growing feature of daily life. In fact, it is more appropriate to analyze the culture of surveillance, rather than address exclusively the violations committed by the corporate-surveillance state. In this instance, the surveillance and security state is one that not only listens, watches and gathers massive amounts of information through data mining necessary for identifying consumer populations but also acculturates the public into accepting the intrusion of surveillance technologies and privatized commodified values into all aspects of their lives. Personal information is willingly given over to social media and other corporate-based websites and gathered daily as people move from one targeted web site to the next across multiple screens and digital apparatuses. As Ariel Dorfman points out, “social media users gladly give up their liberty and privacy, invariably for the most benevolent of platitudes and reasons,” all the while endlessly shopping online and texting.7A This collecting of information might be most evident in the video cameras that inhabit every public space from the streets, commercial establishments and workplaces to the schools our children attend as well as in the myriad scanners placed at the entry points of airports, stores, sporting events and the like.
Yet the most important transgression may not only be happening through the unwarranted watching, listening and collecting of information but also in a culture that normalizes surveillance by upping the pleasure quotient and enticements for consumers who use the new digital technologies and social networks to simulate false notions of community and to socialize young people into a culture of security and commodification in which their identities, values and desires are inextricably tied to a culture of private addictions, self-help and commodification.
Surveillance feeds on the related notions of fear and delusion. Authoritarianism in its contemporary manifestations, as evidenced so grippingly in Orwell's text, no longer depends on the raw displays of power but instead has become omniscient in a culture of control in which the most cherished notions of agency collapse into unabashed narcissistic exhibitions and confessions of the self, serving as willing fodder for the spying state. The self has become not simply the subject of surveillance but a willing participant and object. Operating off the assumption that some individuals will not willingly turn their private lives over to the spying state and corporations, the NSA and other intelligence agencies work hard to create a turnkey authoritarian state in which the "electronic self" becomes public property. Every space is now enclosed within the purview of an authoritarian society that attempts to govern the entirety of social life.This is a chilling, insightful piece of writing. Read the whole thing. Then, fight back for the rest of your life.