The U.S. government has built robust programs to track terrorists and criminals through warrantless access to commercial data. Many vendors now provide global location information from mobile phones to intelligence, military and law-enforcement organizations.
It doesn’t really matter how much protection from government overreach we write into the Constitution, if we allow companies to do the things we won’t allow the government to do, in the name of the Almighty Dollar, and then let the government get the power we deny them in the Constitution through those reprehensible actions, regardless. The whole thing has become a sham thanks to unbounded Capitalism, propped up by our government enabling Amendment-defying behavior by companies, and then looking the other way when it comes to regulating them, while reaching a hand out behind them for campaign contributions.
I just watched The Courier last night. Great movie. When I was young, I would find it so funny the way the Soviet characters would ridicule their Western antagonists, mocking capitalism and the community-destroying greed it produced. I don’t find these things funny any more, because it’s really hard for me NOT to see some truth in that kind of dialog now.
In the post-war, pre-military-industrial-complex, pre-Wall-Street-investment-bank days, I wouldn’t have argued it. Now, monstrous companies are running this country, trampling the balance of power enshrined in our founding documents, and the result has been the decimation of the middle-class, which is crucial to upward mobility. And this is, after all, the American “dream.”
We mock China for having a social score and sham elections, but we incarcerate more people per capita than any other country, and then revoke their right to vote in a system that aggressively prevents any serious change to the status quo. We fly the flag, spend millions on fighter jet passes over stadiums, sing the nation anthem, praise our armed forces, and it all seems to me to be just as jingoistic as military parades in communist countries. How is our system any better, in actual practice?
There is, at least, one important — perhaps critical — difference, but I’ll save that for another time.