What was it exactly that we despised and feared from the communists? What was it that made us start seeing the bogey man around every corner? The biggest difference between “us” and “them” was our belief in God. We held life to a much higher worth. Communism worshipped the state and those who led it, and we worshipped God. To us, our freedoms were sacred and God given, as were our lives. They belonged to every man, and were not revocable. The communists had a different outlook. They kept their people shackled on short chains, lest they taste the freedom we savoured daily. Freedom and life were gifts of the state. As such, the state claimed the right to rescind either of them at its will.
While people such as Winston Churchill clearly had the gift of clarity, being able to see the truth as easily as we can see the beam of a flashlight in the dark, most of us do not possess the same vision. There was a time, however, when North Americans clearly saw the difference between us and them, between good and evil, freedom and oppression. Our two cultures were so starkly different that a blind man would have seen the difference in a heartbeat. Things do change though, don’t they?
After a few generations of trying to outpower and outmanipulate the West, the communists had a brainstorm. “If we can’t beat them with might, why not simply infiltrate their open societies? If we can get to their children, we can defeat them.” To defeat the West, three major obstacles had to be overcome; God, Rights, and Sovereignty.
The obstacles, which to the East must have seemed higher than the mighty fortified Berlin Wall, are indeed collapsing. Our own laws, the Constitution in the United States, and the Charter of Rights in Canada, are being used to eradicate any mention of God. Where our politicians and elected representatives used to pray openly to open each session of government, now they are castigated for it, and a lack of integrity has become a prerequisite for success. Our moral foundation has been chipped away, leading to an increase in crime and a decrease in personal respect and responsibility. These are the cornerstones of the nations our parents built. While we are apparently striving to respect ‘other’ religions, we are destroying the principles which governed us in the process.
Our rights are being eroded as well, and at an alarming rate. In communist Russia, and other countries like China, the activities and speech of the citizens are closely scrutinized and controlled. The people have no protection from the state. China is even now collaborating with Microsoft, the first act of an American corporation that I have deplored with all of my being. Microsoft is helping China to police the internet, blocking any mention of a host of topics that the government deems as subversive. One of these topics is freedom. As well, any religious beliefs in China are outlawed, as are the groups which promote them. For an American company to sell its own soul to profit off of the oppression of over a billion people is unconscionable.
While we are sitting at our computers a strange thing is happening to our liberties. They are being chiseled away, incrementally of course, but still eroding. There was a story in the Washington Post this week regarding secret coding being found on most printers. The printers were date stamping every piece of paper printed, as well as providing the serial number of the printer the document was made on. This in turn was easy to trace, with most consumers registering their software and hardware for warranty purposes. As well, when you purchase anything such as a printer at a big box store, they scan the serial number on the box, thus it matches up to your credit card, should you happen to use one.
While this may not sound like a big deal, it truly is. We are being tracked. It is being done in the name of crime fighting, but it is invasive none the less. It is impossible to go anywhere anymore without being recorded digitally, whether with your debit card, or through a video surveillance system. Our communications are able to be filtered and monitored like no other time in our history. Our cars have black boxes in them which can be used against us in a court of law. Our police can fly over our houses with instruments that can see through our walls using heat registers, telling how many of us are home, where we are, and even give them a general idea of what we are doing. We no longer enjoy privacy.
We should maybe change our disclaimer of law, the rights that are read to us. “Anything you say, print, type, think, thought, or have ever done, anywhere, at anytime, can be used against you.” Indeed, while some will espouse that those who lead an honest life have nothing to fear, I nonetheless feel uncomfortable knowing that there is hardly a place in the country I can go to get away from everything, perhaps even the government.
READ PART III tomorrow.