In 1755, Ben Franklin wrote: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
There's a continuum implied by this statement, with "Liberty" on one end and "Safety" (Security) on the other. Most people have no desire to live at either extremity (Liberty w/o Security = anarchy; Security w/o Liberty = police state), and striking the correct balance between these two has been a centuries-old pursuit of civilized peoples.
Yet, when Franklin penned this aphorism, there were plenty of people living in the same land as he who were not only denied liberty, their enslavement certainly gave them no reason to feel secure. At any moment, those who were champions of liberty could, on a whim, utterly destroy these unfortunate unfree souls, and feel utterly secure in knowing that they would suffer no negative repercussion for doing so
Though the Founders of this nation wrote and spoke of liberty as if were something greater than life itself - "Give me Liberty or give me Death!" - in complete opposition to their words, and in order to reap material wealth, the Founders erected boundaries to limit liberty to those of their own kind. All others, being less than human to the original 1%'ers, deserved neither liberty nor security.
Generations on, those who have benefited from the privileges of liberty have seldom wavered whenever they have felt that liberty threatened. Willing to sacrifice essential security to ensure that their posterity would continue living as free peoples, these latter generations even pass laws to free the previously enslaved. Unfortunately, the laws of emancipation could not ensure that, though free, the previously enslaved, and their descendants, would ever experience essential liberty. Actually, over 150 years after the fatal flaws of the Founders were corrected, these descendants still lack both essential liberty and safety.
And so there developed divergent views between those who have liberty as their birthright, and those who have to continuously fight to attain it, as to the value of liberty, and the value of security. Little wonder that their views would diverge, as their frames of reference do not coincide.
They have inhabited the same physical nation, but have lived lives that are worlds apart - as if in two different castes.
So far apart, in fact, that these different groups still do not see eye-to-eye on matters regarding liberty and security. What feels like a direct threat to those whose birthright is liberty often seems inconsequential to those who have been systematically denied liberty. And what feels feels like a direct threat to those who have been systematically denied Liberty, often provides security to those privileged to have been born Children of the Founders.
They have inhabited the same nation, but have lived lives that are worlds apart - as if in two different castes.
Are you aware that the descendents of these distinct groups, these two distinct castes, diverge on these matters?
Perhaps this reality can be made clear to you. Perhaps then you can come to understand how Kos, himself, could make the following statement:
I don't give a shit (183+ / 0-)So was this just a flippant statement by Kos uttered only to generate debate, or are there facts to support it?
Seriously, I just don't care.
NSA spying is bad! So is stop and frisk. So is splitting up families by deporting children to countries they've never been to and don't speak the language. So is harassing American muslims.
Government overreach is bad. But to act like having the government track who you call is the height of government abuse is a very white privileged view of the privacy issue.
But as for Greenwald and Snowden? Seriously, I don't give two shits.
Yes, there are facts to support Kos' "thesis". On the other side of the Kosschach ink blot we'll see if these "facts" are enough to validate Kos' claim.
A July 10, 2013 Quinnipiac poll stated that over the previous 3 years there has been a "massive shift" in the public's attitude regarding the impact of the government's anti-terrorism efforts on civil liberties. According to an earlier Quinnipiac poll from January 2010, 63% of Americans then stated that these efforts didn't go far enough to adequately protect the country, while only 25% then believed that they had gone too far in restricting the average person's civil liberties. Now, according to the July 2013 Q-Poll, 45% currently believe that anti-terrorism efforts have gone too far in restricting civil liberties, while only 40% believe these efforts don't go far enough to adequately protect the country. That's a 20 point increase in those who are in the "gone too far" group, and a 23% decrease in those in the "have not gone far enough" group. These changes in attitude over the past 3 years seem to indicate that there has been, indeed, a massive shift in the public's opinion regarding the Fed's anti-terrorism efforts; however, the devilish details below the top-lines revel that maybe something else is afoot here.
The cross-tabs of the July Q-Poll revel that different ethnic groups are not in agreement as to whether civil liberties are being harmed by the government's anti-terrorism programs, with 46% of Whites believing so, while only 35% of Blacks, and only 37% of Hispanics agreeing that our civil liberties are being harmed by these programs. These are not insignificant differences - 11% difference b/t Blacks and Whites and a 9% difference b/t Hispanics and Whites - and they provide a basis for the idea that Kos may be on to something when he states that "But to act like having the government track who you call is the height of government abuse is a very white privileged view of the privacy issue".
As White people make up over 65% of the population, and over 70% of the electorate, the 46% of Whites who believe civil liberties are being harm constitutes the lion's share of the 45% of Americans who agree with this sentiment. Also note that Blacks and Hispanics are much more in agreement with each other on this issue than either of them are with Whites. Sorta like on election day.
As for the "massive shift" reported in the July 2013 Q-Poll, a compare and contrast with the January 2010 Q-Poll, which Quinnipiac used as the baseline, shows that it is only amongst White people that this "shift" has occurred. In 2010, only 23% of White people thought that the Fed had gone to far in restricting civil liberties in the "war-on-terror" (now it's 46%) while, in 2010, 34% of Black people so believed (now it's 35%). The difference between the 2010 and 2013 poll results on this question, by race is: Whites, +23%; Blacks, +1%. So, in fact, the totality of the so-called "massive shift" has really only taken place amongst the people who have the privilege of "Liberty" as a birthright.
More support for Kos' thesis? I say yes, yes indeed it is.
The next few questions in the July Q-Poll concern one of the most contentious, and far-reaching, of all the "anti-terror" programs - the monitoring of all phone calls to see if any calls are going to a phone number linked to terrorism. This may be the most egregious violator of our civil liberties as it implies that all Americans are equally likely to consort with terrorists. Yet, this program is supported by majorities of Whites (51%), Blacks (55%) and Hispanics (55%). Not enough difference between Whites and non-Whites here to support Kos' thesis. But, although a majority of Whites believe that this program is necessary to keep Americans safe (51%), this is far less than the super-majorities of Blacks (66%) and Hispanics (67%) who believe that this program is necessary for national security. Again note how Blacks and Hispanics are more in agreement with each other than either are with Whites. Note also how those whose birthright is liberty are far less likely than Blacks and Hispanics to agree that the monitoring of all phone calls is necessary for national security. And here we have very large differences between Whites and non-Whites: 15% difference with Blacks; and 16% difference with Hispanics.
Still think that Kos is just blowing smoke with his "very White privilege" thesis. If so, there's one more Q-Poll question that may, for the open-minded at least, seal the deal.
The next Q-Poll question also exposes how White Americans and non-White Americans differ as to the impact this program has on civil liberties: "Do you think this program is too much [an] intrusion into Americans' personal privacy or not"? 54% of Whites answered YES, while only 47% of Blacks and only 37% of Hispanics agreed that it is too much an intrusion. Perhaps when one has "Liberty" as a birthright, one is more sensitive to all threats to this "Liberty" - be they real or imagined - than those who do not have this privilege. While the Black/White differential here is only 7 points, while the Black/Hispanic differential is 10%, it is only a majority of Whites who believe that the phone metadata program is too much an intrusion. Less than a majority of Blacks and Hispanics agree.
The question here for White progressives, who are at the forefront of those who believe the government is threatening their civil liberties, is why is it that they are out-of-sync with non-Whites on this issue? After all, the voting patterns of White progressives are more in-sync with the voting patterns of non-Whites than they are in-sync with the majority of White Americans - who, since 1968, have overwhelmingly voted Republican. Could it be that, being White, progressives have the same attitude towards "freedom" and "liberty" as White people do generally? On the other-hand, having historically been the victims of White people's "freedom" and "liberty" - the freedom to enslave; the liberty to commit genocide - non-Whites may tend to have a more nuanced attitude regarding the "sanctity" of freedom and liberty. Makes sense, does it not? If you are a member of an ethnic group that has its civil liberties denied by the very proponents of liberty, while also being subjected to horrific terrorist actions by these very same liberty-loving peoples, you realize that you can't lose what you never had (liberty), but you can lose your life - and not just at the hands of a terrorist organization such as the KKK. One can also be wantonly slaughtered by the security agents of the state.
How many White progressives live in a community that considers the local police department to be an occupying army hell-bent on terrorizing (stop-and-frisk) and murdering their young men )? I know. Few-to-none. That is, unless said progressive happens to live in a majority-minority community. I wonder how many innocent White males have been murdered by "the police" over the past 62 years that I have been alive? I'll leave that research to you. Not that the answer does not interest me, it's just that there are too many cases where innocent non-White people have been murdered by the security forces of this nation for no other reason than the security official "thought" the non-White person had a gun.
Sorry. My Bad. Didn't realize that your wallet/candy bar/open&empty hand wasn't a gun. And, damn it! I thought that was my TASER and not my Glock! Sorry Bro! Honest mistake... Wont happen again... Promise...
I know White progressive activist who are convinced that the overseas targeting of traitors implies that they, too, could be queued for elimination. I try to explain that, though they are certainly on a "kill list", those who are aiming to kill them currently lack drone technology so there's no need for them to keep an eye on the sky searching for the glint of an RPV out to terminate them. You're safe, I tell them. Far safer than I am, in any case. Because they will never have to worry about being summarily executed by security agents of the state for handing over your wallet or for flushing a bag of pot down a toilet in your own home, or for even committing the despicable crime of lying face down in a subway station with your hands "cuffed" behind your back. Hell, 'Whiteness" is so protective that even if you are caught on the battlefield fighting for Al-Qaeda, you will be taken into custody, given a trial, and sentenced to a mere twenty years for being a fucking traitor - instead of being summarily executed!
Because if you're a White person, being a traitor is considered nowhere near as great a crime as those committed by Amadou Diallo, or Ramarley Graham or Oscar Grant. For these three committed the ultimate crime - Living While Black and Male in the land of freedom and liberty. And it took no warrantless wiretap, no email sniffer, no internet tracking, no three-hop query of mined metadata, no GPS locating and no predator drone to kill them. It only took a member of the privileged group to decide that they had the liberty to murder one who was not of their own kind.
And the security to know that their system of justice would, by hook or by crook, find a way to free them as a reward for helping to maintain even the remnants of the caste structure that their Founders so assiduously constructed - where the non-privileged would have neither Liberty nor Security.
So it's not that non-White people do not think that current NSA/FBI surveillance of the homeland isn't a threat to their civil liberties. It's just that non-Whites face threats that are far more serious and immediate than those posed by a helicopter government. Or as Kos succinctly put it:
But to act like having the government track who you call is the height of government abuse is a very white privileged view of the privacy issue.