Why Snowden and the NSA’s Dragnet Should Matter to You

I’ve become sickened by the Conservative pundit’s response to the Snowden revelations. Percolating the opinions of Limbaugh listeners and Hannity hearers, the consensus has seemingly shifted from, “this is a heinous breach of our 4th amendment rights” to “I have nothing to hide, so it doesn’t affect me,” or the more frustrating, “there are privacy compromises we must make when considering our safety and the safety of our country.” I think the conviction associated with either of these conclusions makes it difficult to argue the counterfactual. Neither of these are reasonable opinions, but they hit that sweetspot in the hearts and minds of their adopters. Touting one of these opinions makes a person able to argue their reasonableness, their ability to seek out the middle-road. They are arguments dripping with all the pretensions of moderation.

But there is another side that you must consider in these revelations. We are not simply handing over the keys to our privacy; we are not simply letting the government subpoena the contents of our mind; we are giving away the farm. We have ensured the demise of the United States, and your every word of support is complicit in bringing a blight upon the economy of the United States. Before you get skeptical, this is going to be particularly applicable to ye ol’ Reaganomics types.

The traditional way that the United States has avoided the mires of depressions, or recessions, or whatever the official word is for what we have just been through, is to eventually grow out of it. As jobs return, as interest rates decrease, whatever the incentive that is laid out is, the economy slowly but surely returns. Under Clinton, the rise of the internet and the tech industry at large turned what could have been some years of mediocre economic gains into boomtown era exponential growth. And during the last 10 years, the biggest drivers of our economic uprise have been tech geeks. You want innovation? You want efficiency? Silicon Valley has been where we look. The creation of these Highfalutin engineering jobs that have brought on a new wave of content creation, and (what I would argue) a world that should look a lot more appealing to Marxists who argue that we should all strive to have ownership over our means of production, the US has positioned itself to drive the world into a new era of efficiency and growth and production.

Sure, the economic outlook looks a lot different than it used to, and economists are making the prediction that jobs will be few and far between as they are taken over by robots. History has continued to prove this sort of flaccid Luddism to be nothing more than pedantic narrow-mindedness. One doesn’t need a degree to be able to predict that even if it were true, the human need to feel productive would drive large swoths of the economically productive to begin to do things like art, jewelry making, and other lost arts of the middle ages.

But what you must realize is that this meeting of the minds, this world where Conservatism leads to the Marxist dream, where everyone might have a shot at owning their work and being captain of their life, is not going to happen any time soon. The work that we have done in the last 15 years has all been lost. You just wait. The great migration is coming. Tech companies will begin to leave the US for greener, less intrusive pastors. They will opt to put their servers in places we have perceived as being more totalitarian (like Singapore) or freedoms havens (like Hong Kong). They will do it because the mantra that has been the Siren’s song of the US, the freedom we have claimed is the right of every human being is not only called into question anymore, but is utterly laughable. The world will no longer trust our oversight of humanity’s most powerful creation and tool of collaboration, the internet. Silicon Valley is about to go the way of Detroit, and the US’s technical innovators will slowly disappear into the global ether. This is what they call brain drain, and thanks to the NSA, secret FISA courts, and every government official that has been complicit in their ability to steal our privacy without regard for what we have believed are our fundamental rights, we have written our fate. Like a young man riddled with the agony of an early cancer-death, the US is bound for the premature tagging of the her toe, and we have begun our incredible descent down the stairs of a lost decade or more.

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