the loss of our civil liberties to a high-tech big brother...

john grigg (
Mon, 06 Dec 1999 14:30:35 PST

Charlie Stross wrote:
>Whatever you think of Hitler or Stalin or Mao, the worst >dictatorships of
>human history probably haven't happened yet -- and >when they do happen,
>they will wear a very different face.

>What innovative openings for tyranny do _you_ see appearing, prior
>to, say, 2025?

I found your post very powerful and unnerving to say the least. I had already read about England's surveillance cameras but had no idea on what scale it is to be deployed.

The point about how "good middle-class folks" are preoccupied with just trying to make a living and care for their families is so important. They can be taken in by politicians and other government officials who in the name of "safety and security" will subvert our civil liberties to an extent never before seen if allowed. But will the public awaken in time?

I tried explaining this to a very right-wing friend of mine who kept on saying, "if you have done nothing wrong and are a good citizen then you have nothing to fear from the government." He just would not recognize how this is such a slippery slope.

I agree with you that most likely the most terrible totalitarian governments have yet to be. As an American citizen my deepest hope is that my own nation will not fall prey to this.

Also a U.S. president could declare martial law in a time of severe crisis, thereby suspending the constitution and becoming a dictator over the military. In a time of fear and violence(repeated terrorist strikes or an epidemic) things could really get out of control but I would hope the checks and balances of the other branches of government and public opinion would take hold. A common scenario is shown in the film "The Siege" but I see a much more likely and less explosive and incremental loss of American liberties done for "our own good."

It looks like parts of Europe may be heading down this road now. What do the Europeans on this list have to say?? Or do you feel what the English are doing is not so threatening?

Again, I found your post very thought-provoking and thank you for it. I find it ironic that the extropians might find themselves in future decades(especially after cryonic reanimation) in a world where governments feel the need to know everything(and they basically could) and you have "rights" as long as you behave yourself. I look forward to reading the responses to your post.

best regards,

John Grigg

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