I wonder if eventually, the surveillance state will end the police state.
As surveillance technology rapidly advances—with cameras everywhere, and NSA spying on every single electronic communication of every single American, and even smart phone apps that allow neighbors to easily report each other’s “suspicious activities” to authorities—it seems to me that eventually, everyone will be caught doing anything that is presently considered even remotely “against the law” (and how many millions of laws—or thousands of pages of laws—are there again?) and as a result they will all be fined, assaulted, jailed, or even killed by the state.
Take, for instance, the new Event Data Recorders, (or “black box”) for vehicles, which has been mandated by the feds to be installed on all new vehicles manufactured in 2014 and beyond. Imagine, if you will, driving along a street with a posted speed limit of 35, but you take it at 45. Today, no harm, no foul—but in the future, your black box could sync with your GPS, transmit the information to the “authorities”—and you could receive a speeding ticket in the mail.
Too far-fetched? I doubt it.
Then consider that 30,000 surveillance drones are slated for America’s skies over the next 6 years, by 2020; soon there will be, as Glenn Greenwald entitled his new book: No Place To Hide.
At the rate surveillance technology is advancing, it follows that the state will necessarily become mired in an absolute law enforcement nightmare. It could actually become so absurd as to lend credence to the saying:
“Soon half the population will be in prison, and the other half will be working as prison guards.”
And, when we factor in the “cycle of the state”, as pointed out by Dan Sanchez in his recent article—in which domestic tyranny stifles liberty, thus stalling the economy and bankrupting the state (or, more simply: the tumor grows and grows until it kills its own host), and you have a substantial recipe for economic and societal collapse brought about by the state’s mass surveillance of the citizenry, which in turn prompts the state’s mass persecution and prosecution of the very people whom it depends upon for its funding.
In other words, with a large proportion of society either murdered or in jail—who would be left to support the murderous jailers?
It seems to me that the state, and society at large, would eventually be faced with a choice: either leave everyone the hell alone, and only prosecute true criminals—people who commit crimes that actually victimize people (others, not themselves)—or face complete economic and societal collapse, as the state would be chasing literally every single citizen around, fining, assaulting, imprisoning, and killing anyone and everyone who did anything at all that was on the books as “illegal”.
I think the choice would be clear, even to statists: our collective survival would depend upon our return to the principles of human rights and liberty.
So perhaps technology will, finally, enable human liberty, and end the state—even if simply by giving the state enough rope to hang itself.