Britain – Shit at Cricket and Democracy
Reader “Wanderer” brings to our attention an article in The Independent about internet privacy in Britain. Included in the article is this section:
Big Brother’ Britain: Private data under threat
* The mobile calls, emails and website visits of every person in Britain will be stored for a year under sweeping new powers which came into force this month. The new powers will for the first time place a legal duty on internet providers to store private data.
* Privacy campaigners warn that all this information could be used by the Government to create a giant “Big Brother” super-database containing a map of everyone’s private life. The Home Office is expected shortly to publish plans for the storage of data which it says will be invaluable in the fight against crime.
Why would we care? It’s Britain, after all, and they’re shit at cricket. But, you know, Britain was one of the hotbeds of the revolutionary transfer of political power from the aristocracy and other ruling elites to the people at large; a hotbed called the Enlightenment which has resulted in what we enjoy today and proudly call Western Democracy – almost as smugly as if we’d invented it ourselves – and which Tony Blair so recently touted as Export Quality Democracy. And yet here come the British, leading the way in undermining the fundamentals of that system supposedly in the name of “security” and the war against “crime” and “terror” (recently rebadged by the US as “Overseas Contingency Operations”).
Two things to say about this.
1. The only “crimes” are – in law – those acts which are defined as crimes by acts of parliament (or similar) … stick with us here … The evilness of the crime is not the act itself but “breaking the law”. And that is a movable feast. Crime, as postmodernists would say, is “relative”. Crime is not absolute. It is a matter entirely of definition, and those who make the definitions are the new ruling elite.
2. In any case, democracy is under threat as never before because the forces that influence the world are increasingly corporate. Corporations, famously, are not democracies. In fact what is? Home? School? Your religious establishment (if your are unlucky, or foolish, enough to belong to one)? Work? The Public/Civil Service? They are all authoritarian and hierarchical. They are all undemocratic. They are where we learn our relationships to others, how groups work and how to survive in them. And they are where we spend almost all of our time almost every day. So this democracy thing is an aberration, isn’t it. But that’s what makes it so precious because despite all of that it is so powerful. And yet it is always under threat. This latest story from Britain is just the most recent example.
But what do you think, readers?
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