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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

conservatives for surveillance

Rich Lowry praises our loss of privacy in "Caught on Tape":
Cameras won’t deter suicide bombers — what will? — but they can tamp down other criminal activity. Cameras in Britain are credited with discouraging the IRA bombing campaign in the 1990s. On a less serious front, San Francisco — one of many jurisdictions, including New York, Houston and New Jersey, that have cameras in their train systems — saw vandalism drastically decline on subway cars after the installation of surveillance cameras.
Lowry goes on to praise other cities that have helped implement the total surveillance state and mocks those who bring up privacy claims but both Lowry and civil libertarians miss the real problem with non-stop monitoring by the State. So many things are against the law that virtually everyone is a criminal. Add massive surveillance on top of that and you really do have a recipe for totalitarianism. My concerns about cameras would be ameliorated if neocons like Lowry weren't also aggressive defenders of criminalizing everything at the Federal level. To Lowry's credit, he has occasionally spoke out against the drug war, but rolling back leviathan at the Federal level is something that he and his fellow conservo-statists seem to have little enthusiasm for.

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