Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rising Allergies, Falling Freedoms

I just finished reading a book about Viktor Belenko, the Soviet MiG pilot who defected to the US in the mid-1970s. Sad to think it took less than forty years for that to reverse; now it’s Americans fleeing to the former Soviet Union to escape their oppressive government.

I’m still trying to figure out why NSA breaking the law, violating the constitution and spying on the very American citizens it’s theoretically supposed to protect is acceptable behavior, but Snowden’s calling attention to such lawlessness makes him the criminal here. How the hell does “standing up for Constitutional principles” make one un-American?

The real irony is that, with very few exceptions, the American patriots crying the loudest for Snowden’s head are the same people who, in other contexts, insist that the US is the bestest country in the world because, presumably unlike the rest of the planet, here in America we have Freedom™. A creepy, submissive, BDSM-without-a-safeword type of freedom to be sure, but at least we’re not living in North Korea so shut your piehole and be thankful you live in a free country.

Speaking of the Soviet Union, isn’t it funny how we did not have to suspend large portions of the constitution while facing the existential threat they posed as a nuclear-armed superpower with tens of thousands of warheads aimed at us? And in the 1970s, when airline hijackings were commonplace events, American passengers could still board their flights without being subject to sexual-harassment gropings in the name of “public safety?” Yet a handful of religious fanatics and pissed-off college students is supposed to terrify us all.

Theory: perhaps, ironically, this lack of a genuine threat to our country is exactly why both major political parties have moved “constitutional shredding” to the top of their respective to-do lists. You know how scientists say the rise in people with allergies these days is due to children being raised in sterile, too-clean environments? If your robust immune system doesn’t have real germs to fight, it isn’t going to go away; instead, it will pick fights with pollen grains or dust particles or similarly innocuous things. And if your giganto military-industrial-security state doesn’t have real threats to fight ....


Anonymous Steve said...

Well, well, a little common sense here. Exactly. I wondered after the collapse of the Soviet Union who the powers that be were going to settle on as the next BIG SCARY, and felt no little unease that it would turn out to That's right, you never know if that little old lady in the wheelchair wields the same existential threat to our national security and sovereignty as a sixteen year old kid sitting in a cafe half a world away does...pollen grains, indeed.

5:45 PM  

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