April 17, 2002

      

A recent television commercial depicts a man walking through a grocery store taking things from various shelves and shoving them into his pockets. He looks suspicious, even frightening. Then without a thought, he walks toward the door.

As he passes through the door, an alarm goes off and a security officer approaches. “You forgot your receipt,” the guard says, smiling as the man leaves the store.

The shopper wears an implanted identification device. The door unit contains a scanner that reads the bar codes on all the products he carries and identifies him at the same time. The computer debits his bank account.

Does this sound like utopia, or could it be coming to a store near you? And more so, is it desirable?

The April issue of Whistleblower magazine, published by WorldNetDaily (http://www.worldnetdaily.com), focuses on emerging technology and its increasing role in our lives, today and tomorrow. From Digital Angels’ VeriChip to iRobot’s mini-robots; to robots the size of molecules that can be injected into a human body, and others that can build circuitry inside the human brain; all this, and more, is either already in use or currently being developed in science labs around the world.

Digital Angel designed the VeriChip, the size of a grain of rice, to be implanted under the skin. Loaded with personal identification data and using Global Positioning Satellites (GPS), the location of any such implanted person could be exactly pinpointed anywhere in the world. The VeriChips, because they become embedded in tissue, are difficult to remove. What a boon for those who provide security to persons worthy of kidnapping, or who carry life-threatening diseases. What a bane to those considered menaces to society, like criminals, terrorists…or political dissidents.

Previous generations of Americans are touted for their independence and rugged self-reliance; a can-do attitude that believed that anyone who wanted to could succeed at anything to which they put their mind and heart. Such independent thinking required maximum liberty. These earlier Americans looked to themselves and their families for support. They saw government as the protector of their right to pursue happiness.

More recent Americans have looked to government to be the source of their happiness. They insist that government schools ought to train students in meaningful work. They demand that government must be involved in health care, housing and provide their hope for the future.

The mere suggestion that an implantable chip would make personal identification easier would be anathema to those earlier Americans, freedom loving and God-fearing as they were. Such people believed that the more an institution of any kind knew about them, the less freedom they enjoyed. And they had a healthy skepticism of an all-knowing government.

Those early Americans had a righteous fear of God, He who saw and knew their hearts. They had a human fear of Big Government peering into their private affairs. They saw that where God liberates, government oppresses. God had their best interests in mind. Government wanted order at any cost.

Recent generations of Americans seem indifferent to their loss of privacy. Instead, they seem to long for someone to care for them. If providing electronic information on their every movement seems to make their life more comfortable, then they stand ready to line up for their VeriChips. Amazed that terrorists could fly into tall buildings, this generation seems ready to submit to whatever means seems prudent to government to track the bad guys – even if it means at the same time, tracking the good guys.

As Whistleblower so vividly points out, the technology crowd knows that attitudes have changed about government surveillance, especially since 9-11. Advocates of techno-tracking and identification systems speak openly that within 25 years, no one will worry much about implantable chips or even injectable robots.

This trend toward voluntarily accepting the loss of privacy should be alarming to those who value liberty. Without the right to be left alone in personal affairs, there is no personal liberty.

So why is this being allowed to happen?

The loss of liberty has been incremental, taken from us a piece at time. First small pieces, then ever larger. From no income tax, to a very limited income tax, to an invasive Internal Revenue Service that demands to know every financial aspect of one’s life, we have lost liberty.

From social security numbers for a forced retirement program, to social security numbers to track infants, to social security numbers required for nearly every financial transaction, we have lost liberty.

From the watchful eye of a concerned employer to computer tracking of every keystroke, we have lost liberty.

Before 9-11, Americans became alarmed at Digital Angel’s VeriChip. Today they find it accommodating and comfortable – thinking it to be a measured response to a real threat.

This is what happens when first principles are forgotten – when the Constitution is shredded by activist courts and citizen indifference; when ideas of subservience are substituted for ideas of liberty in our academies and schools.

Our children have awakened to find something unrecognizable to our founding fathers. And so, being watched at all times – liberated from privacy – will be no bother to them; it has become the way of things. They will know no better, because liberty will be an archaic concept held only by radicals on the edges of society, or in its prisons.



Who cares about privacy anymore?

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