Here at Modern Life Survivalist, we are humbled by the great champions of our rights that are active today. Fearless reporters who risk their lives and reputations for the truth such as Alex Jones and Matt Drudge blow our minds. Also among them are Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and a slew of other whistleblowers that came before them who often go unrecognized, such as William Binney, who was featured surprisingly in the documentary about Edward Snowden, Citizenfour. There is so much tyranny and subtle undermining of our freedoms going on right now, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with. Beyond joining the cause of the aforementioned, the only thing you can do it seems is write it down so as not to forget, and shout it from the virtual mountaintop (or hilltop) you create for yourself in hopes that someone will notice. (Hopefully the wrong people won’t notice too much…)
And no one seems to be listening (besides the wrong people). Everyone I talk to about this usually has a shrug-and-say-“what-can-you-do” response. My Facebook feed posts are deserted, haha. Not only do the people who you’d expect have this response, but those you thought were adamant about liberty are joining the ranks of the apathetic by the droves. But you have to speak out, regardless of how pointless it seems and how little it seems you’re reaching people.
In an effort to avoid buckling under the pressure and enormity of this charge to spread these truths—things that are right out there in your face—I’m just going to launch into it, despite any insufficiency in knowledge or eloquence in explanation on my part. All that matters to me is being some sort of conduit for the message.
By Writing This Article, I Qualify as an Extremist
Get a load of this one. This kind of sets the tone for the whole article. Sadly, this is from 2010 yet I just became aware of it:
The Department of Justice published a guide for investigators of criminal extremist groups in 2010 identifying constitutionalists and survivalists basically as terrorists. The document serves as a glossary of terms that are commonly used by extremist groups. So, if a DOJ enforcer reads a term like Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, New World Order, etc., in the guide and does not have prior knowledge of it, they will automatically associate these phrases, when seen online or heard in public, with terrorism.
The mere fact that constitutionalists and the patriot movement are referenced in this kind of list is already a scary proposition, because someone who upholds the Constitution should not be automatically regarded as violent, threatening, or a terrorist. More likely, these are former cops or military individuals who have sworn to protect the innocent (Oath Keepers), or they’re an independent citizen who would bravely step in when some desperate individual was attempting to carjack, mug, kidnap, or rape you or your loved ones.
The demonization of such people is beyond the pale. However, beyond this, it is even more disturbing in light of recent revelations that police departments have been using a program called Beware to troll for “offensive” and “political” comments online to determine an individual’s threat level—green, yellow, or red. This can be pulled up by a requesting officer, so I guess it’s not like they’re trolling for new leads on individuals of interest (at least not yet). However, the Minority Report parallel drawn in the linked Reuters article is definitely merited.
When I really think about it, though, even if they aren’t actively trying to identify individuals of interest, it’s still a little disconcerting to have a cop pull your “threat level” if they’re pulling you over at a speed trap. I doubt these designations are a very elegant assessment of overall online demeanor, so it probably won’t help for me to include in this paragraph that I generally respect the police and try to be as cooperative as possible as they carry out their duties at such a traffic stop. I really do!
China, Internet Censorship, and Mark Zuckerberg
The public is blissfully ignorant of how good they have it living with an unregulated Internet. There is this incredible documentary about Chinese Web censorship called High Tech, Low Life that everyone, especially bloggers, would do well to see. Beyond showing the injustice of not being able to speak freely and examples of persecution of bloggers who try to get around it, the film treats us to an excellent description of reasons we must have the ability to say what we want on the matter of censorship itself.
Basically, the message of the movie is that to have a good government, the public needs to be privy to bad news. We need to be able to criticize officials openly, without fear of retribution. Sounds a lot like the First Amendment, I know, but they don’t have anything like that over there.
And if we don’t act soon, neither will we.
There are so many instances shown in the film of government covering up their mishandling of and fallout from bad construction in the wake of natural disasters. It also covers clear instances of government’s collusion with corporations and industry, quite literally steamrolling over people’s homes, farmlands, and lives to achieve their construction and zoning plans. Independent bloggers are featured, old and young, who go around trying to give a voice to victims in desperate need of one.
High Tech, Low Life really helped me to understand that China’s status as “more free market than the U.S.,” which I used to think was a good thing (because I love the Free Market), in combination with their censorship of individuals and the manipulation of the mainstream news, makes for a perfect vehicle for corruption in the corporate and public sectors. The pendulum of government control can swing the other way towards laxness; lack of regulation on corporations run amok can hurt people and the environment; and censorship of the consequences can lead to an almost irresistible tyranny.
Ultimately, after coming to this realization that unregulated industry combined with the government-provided veil of censorship, it clicked for me that essentially the U.S. isn’t really that different. Think about it: Our mainstream media definitely has its one-sidedness at times, and corporate initiatives get pushed through on both sides of the aisle because of special interest groups and lobbying, even with the allowance of criticism by the public. However, our censorship plays out through our ignorance and apathy. The approach of tyranny here is different. We’re so distracted with the pleasures of the Internet, movies, TV, GMO foods, football, and sexual entertainment that most of us don’t really care about what’s going on in politics or with the environment and our health.
On the other hand, we are still better off than China, because we have a relatively unregulated Internet. I can still criticize politicians and point you to pamphlets that the U.N. and U.S. government agencies are indoctrinating officials and workers with. This article is trying to point out how we’re on the cusp of something different than an unregulated Internet, and we—Republican, Democrat, or otherwise—need to do everything we can to raise awareness and stop this change.
AiWeiWei: Never Sorry also gives us an in-depth look at the corruption of the Chinese government and the persecution inherent in their censorship of the people. The subject, artist AiWeiWei, is almost a too-big-to-fail institution, as he designed the Beijing Olympics “Bird’s Nest” stadium, so his high-profile stature affords him a platform on which he can raise awareness without being assassinated by the Regime. He is most notorious for his Twitter account, where he posts pics of himself flipping off sacred monuments and otherwise supposed-to-be-revered objects of interest in China. Sound familiar? Yeah, we based our whole approach of flipping off (ring-finger style) GMO and fast-food crap on his work. We figured, “yeah, sometimes it’s all you can do when you’re pissed.” AiWeiWei has been put through the ringer of government harassment and apprehension several times. He cranks out documentaries about cover-ups by the government, such as earthquakes that killed hundreds of citizens.
Terms and Conditions May Apply is also an absolute must-see if you want to learn about the state of individual privacy rights online. Apple, YouTube, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook are the major targets of the film, as they go through the history of privacy policies and show how your rights have been slowly stripped away update after update. This is the documentary that taught me that when I delete something on Facebook, it is not really gone. And as we’ve all already learned from Edward Snowden (among many other revelations), anything you send or post using your phone or laptop is pretty much forfeit to inspection by the government.
Speaking of Facebook and China, Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly been cavorting with the Chinese Internet Censorship Czar, Liu Wei. This is significant, because Zuckerberg is the owner of the largest social network on the planet, and this official is in charge of persecuting, imprisoning, and perhaps executing those who use the Internet in a way that undermines the State. It’s also extremely ironic, because Facebook has been blocked since 2008 in China.
I don’t know what else to say about this one, because it kind of speaks for itself. It’s unconscionable how a person who has benefited so much from the free market and lack of censorship in the U.S. can so readily sell their soul and buddy around with a flunky of the tyrannical Chinese regime. It’s redundant to describe my disappointment and dismay any further.