July 18, 2013

To Look Back, in Horror

Until a few minutes ago, I hadn't reread the very short fictional story that opens "Accomplices to Murder" since I published it last October. (As I go on to point out in that article, the story is not fiction at all with regard to the principles and policies it dramatizes.)

I'd forgotten some of the details I included in the story. In light of all the recent articles about the NSA and the State's ceaseless, constantly expanding surveillance activities, I myself was slightly taken aback by the accuracy of my descriptions. For example, these remarks by the man from the Department of Internal Security to Mrs. Hamilton:
"Our Department didn't have any particular reason to be aware of you. It was just the result of the random searching we do, through emails, comments on websites, things like that. I'm sure you've heard about all those programs. There have certainly been lots of stories about them. At first, we didn't like all that coverage. But when we saw that people quickly got used to the idea that we kept track of so many things, we decided the publicity was a great advantage. People didn't protest all that much, not in ways that we might have cared about. People understand that we're just trying to keep them safe. You understand that, don't you, Mrs. Hamilton?"
The story has quite a bit more of that kind of thing.

I view it as a tragedy beyond measure that one of the key points in that short speech is what I am convinced will be the final effect of all the recent articles (and the articles that we are promised are still to come, in the manner of breathlessly announced "coming attractions"). I see nothing to indicate that the recent revelations will result in a scaling back of these surveillance policies to any measurable, significant extent. To the contrary, and just as was true of the deliberately "leaked" stories about the State's Murder Program and Kill List, the ultimate effect will be resignation, acceptance and even, in some cases, enthusiastic approval. As the murderer in my story says: "we decided the publicity was a great advantage."

But I have much more to say on this subject, and I want to explain the reasons for my strong conviction on this particular point. I hope to get to it soon.