Dec 262009
 December 26, 2009  Posted by  Non-U.S., Surveillance

Paula Simons writes about life in Edmonton:


Call this decade — this decade without a name — the decade of surveillance. The decade when we abandoned our long-held cultural notions of personal privacy. When we surrendered some of our most basic civil liberties, not just in the name of security, but in the name of consumerism and fashion.

Part of the blame, of course, must go to the defining crisis of the decade, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The post-9/11 hysteria gave governments around the world, including ours in Canada, licence to nibble away at fundamental civil rights, including privacy rights, all in the name of keeping us safe from al-Qaida.

But it didn’t stop there. The climate of fear that settled over North America in the wake of 9/11 gave social authorization to all kinds of other state intrusions, all kinds of other erosions of social trust.


Whatever our conscious, or unconscious, reasoning, I fear we’ve made a deal with the devil. In our quest to feel safe, to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves, we’ve willing given up the most fundamental human freedom of all. The right to be alone. The right to be private. The right to be treated as responsible, independent adult citizens.

Over the course of this decades, subtly and insidiously, we’ve infantilized ourselves, turned ourselves in a society of oversized babies who need to be monitored and protected and babysat 24/7.

As this strange and awkward decade comes to an end, maybe it’s time to consider turning off all those baby monitors. Time to consider reentering the 21st century as adults, with all the right and responsibilities adulthood entails.

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