On Liberty, Wikileaks and Sullen Paranoia

“We in this country, in this generation, are — by destiny rather than choice — the watchmen on the walls of world freedom.” John F. Kennedy
In America, we pride ourselves on freedom, first amendment rights and the ability to have extensive privacy protection.

Yet, Wikileaks, Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, Big Data and other intersections between the government and corporations sharing information to either get us to buy more, spend more, or to just watch us more, has put to lie some of these freedoms.

Enough Americans still see this country as the “Home of the Brave,” but less and less so over the last few years.

However, there is nothing that couldn’t be recaptured about the freedom to be left alone, inherent in our American freedoms, by replacing a few legislative leaders and by rethinking how we look at the cultural and social implications of privacy.

Two articles, one from Jules Polonetsky  and one from Peggy Noonan make the point that, while personal-public behavior may change in the short-term, due to surveillance and monitoring, in the long term, such efforts serve to create a nation of, in essence, sullen, paranoid, people: Angry and pessimistic at being watched constantly, but unable to stop it and believing that it is everywhere.

The balance between the result of every click, search and posting being held against me and government and corporations being able to interrupt me constantly with marketing and appeals to buy or support more and more stuff, has not been worked out fully in the American public sphere yet.

Fortunately for all of us, the American public will figure out how to resolve the tensions in this conflict, long before the laggards and late-majority in governments—local, state and federal—will.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
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