Digital Privacy Laziness and the Self-Surveillance State

There is an interesting dichotomy among folks who claim to be all about liberty. They’re usually also the same folks who claim that there’s no point in using digital security best practices, or no use in caring about their privacy. Even saying the phrase “gun control” in these folks’ presence and they’ll give you their best impression of righteous indignation, but ask them what they think about their privacy and they’ll shrug. “There’s no point, the feds know everything anyway.” Or they’ll tell you that they have nothing to hide. Or that it’s too difficult to learn the tools and practices. Or that they already have such a huge public face anyway that there’s no point in even bothering. Or they’ll even double down and pretend that it’s somehow braver to just be out in the open, insinuating by default that people who do choose to protect their privacy are somehow cowardly.

Quite frankly, that’s a load of crap.

I’m going to flip this a second, and put the whole thing into different terms that perhaps are easier to understand.

There’s no point in carrying a gun or even owning one. Criminals aren’t going to be deterred by it, all you’re doing is potentially giving them another weapon to use when they take yours. Besides, it’s expensive to get one, it’s hard to learn, and I just don’t have the time to practice with it. I’m also too old/set in my ways to learn another skill. I’m not going to carry a gun because that’s like saying I’m afraid. I’m not afraid, and only cowards need to carry a gun. If it’s my time, then it’s my time.

I would guess that most people who read this site would think the above paragraph is some of the stupidest drivel imaginable. But guess what? That’s what it sounds like when people give their litany of excuses why they can’t/won’t learn how to protect their privacy. That’s what it looks like when I hear people give me all the reasons why privacy is no big deal to them. What drives me insane is that these are the same people who claim they are all about freedom and liberty. Some of them even laugh at the knowledge that they’re living in a surveillance state. Because yes, haha, it’s so hilarious. And for those of you who claim that “all you can do is laugh at it,” I’ll just go ahead and tell you that you are wrong. There is much you can do. You’re just too lazy to do it.

You live in a surveillance state. Say that a few times until it sinks in. If you absolutely cannot wrap your mind around that, do some research. If you still can’t fathom it, let me know and I’ll catch you up. How is that even possible? How is it that we as Americans do not realize the extent of the control we are truly under?

One answer is self-surveillance. We as a society participate in our own surveillance. We submit data to the fusion centers, to the NSA programs, to the filters and machines that map out who we are and decide if we are a threat. WE do that.

The government figured out the Achilles’ heel of the human race: Humans love to talk about themselves. They love to tell you what they like, don’t like, where they’re going and what they’re doing. Who they’re with, who they love, who they’re fighting with…and that’s not even getting into the opinions on politics, religion, or anything else. How do you put a society under surveillance and control? You don’t even have to force them into it. They’ll walk right into it themselves, if you let them. Because they want to tell you all about how they’re doing. In fact, all you really have to do is create a mechanism for them to tell you all about it, and they will. In great detail.

Sure, the government has license plate readers and red light cameras and metadata and a hundred other things that provide a fairly cognizant view into your life. But who’s filling in the gaps? Who’s giving them the 3D view? You are, happily and without so much as a glitch. You can’t claim to care about privacy when your Facebook page is filled with a veritable date book of your activities in nearly real time. You can’t claim that you worry about facial recognition when you post a selfie every other day. You cannot complain about surveillance when you are actively submitting information about yourself and your activities to the surveillance engine.

What about liberty? Do you truly care about liberty if you absolutely refuse to even learn how to stop engaging in your own control environment? I’m not even saying drop all your social media (although I would hope you look into MeWe and Gab, both of which are FAR more privacy conscious than F-book and Twitter). But refusing to encrypt, posting all your travels on Facebook, publicizing all your activities, not using Signal or other more secure means of communications, plastering details of your life everywhere and then claiming it doesn’t matter anyway…that’s not liberty. That’s just lazy.

How can I say that? Because I used to be that person, and there are days I still catch myself. I know why I didn’t learn those skills for a long time, and it’s for the same reason I didn’t learn other skills I needed and didn’t have. I didn’t make time. I say I don’t have time for more things, but I do. We really all do. If you’ve got time to play games on your phone or watch TV, you’ve got time. If you’ve got time to post photos of yourself at yet another activity, yet another ‘fun’ thing, yet another “look at me! I’m living my life!” thing, then you’ve got time to learn skills you don’t have. I’ve already posted on how you can take in a lot more information throughout your day; there’s no reason why some of that can’t be on privacy and security. The more you learn, the more you will see how completely asinine it is to say it doesn’t matter. Trust me…I used to think it didn’t matter too, and I was dead wrong.

Bottom line: Stop making it easy for them. Stop plastering your entire life all over social media. Stop claiming you don’t have time, or that it doesn’t matter. It does. The more people who are actively working against the surveillance engine, the safer we all are–and there are a LOT of ways to work against it, use it to your advantage, and generally monkeywrench it, or at least compartmentalize your life a bit. You know how fiercely you care about gun rights? That’s how you should feel about privacy, because that also affects you in very fundamental ways. In short, quit claiming you’re anti-government surveillance and pro-liberty if you’re going to just hand them the info they want on a silver platter.

The Argument Against Patriot Rallies

In my latest article at TOWR, I talk about the argument AGAINST going to patriot rallies. This may seem like a departure from where I was about 18 months ago, and you’d be correct. I explain that too.

You might be thinking “so what—they can come and get me if they’re feeling froggy,” but you’d be missing the point; actually, you’d be missing several of them.

  1. Subject to search and arrest means exactly that. Getting searched means they go through every single inch of your house, your garage, your shed, your desk, etc. Maybe you don’t care about your own info. What about the list of group members you have? The list of frequencies your group uses? The list of critical information you made as a part of your OPSEC setup? How many people are put in danger if you get searched? If you’re not thinking in those terms, quite frankly, someone in your group should throat punch you.

  2. And what about the arrest part? As I’ve mentioned about a hundred times, if you get arrested, three things happen:

    • You’re out of the fight
    • You’re now in THEIR world, forced to play by THEIR rules, and subject to all manner of physical, emotional and mental torment from guards and other inmates alike.
    • You’re now forced to use whatever resources you have for your defense, plus now you’re asking for others to donate THEIR hard-earned resources they need for their families. Good job. If there is any possible way for you to NOT get arrested, you need to consider doing that.
  3. Having your associations and movements mapped is not a good thing either. Sure, we’re all being surveilled. But you don’t want the extra special attention of targeted surveillance. What do your associations and movements have in common? Yup…they both mean putting others in danger. If they’re tracking where you go and who you associate with, specifically, then everyone who works with you or associates with you is now fair game.

  4. One more thing…are you willing to bet your life that none of them, if approached, would flip on you? Are you willing to wager your kids growing up with their parent in prison?

Read the whole thing, then you can throw rocks.

Why RecoveringStatist?

After the untimely demise of PHS the other night, I realized that a good portion of the two years I wrote there, I was a statist. I certainly didn’t think of myself as one; I thought I was all about freedom and Taking The Country Back(tm). I knew we needed to Restore The Constitution and Stand For Liberty.

After the initial freakout session and repeated mashing of the Refresh button, only to be greeted by “This server cannot be found,” I sat back and thought about it all. Truth be told, except for the last year or so, most of PHS was statist tripe, and the world is better served with it gone.

Over the last 12 years I’ve been writing, I’ve seen my thinking evolve as I came into contact with more information, more truth, more things that I realized I was wrong about. I read everything I could find—and still do. It seemed the more I read, the more I researched, the less I knew.  I’ve found myself reaching out to many people I don’t agree with, and would prefer not to associate with, and asking them to teach me. Not because I’ve suddenly converted to their way of thinking, but because information is a good thing. Because I want to be certain that I have all the information before I stand up and yell that this set of beliefs is mine.

I look back at some of the things I’ve supported or been involved with over the years and I shake my head. I was always passionate about whatever I believed, but sometimes those beliefs were straight up wrong. The important thing, however, is to keep learning, keep reading, and keep thinking—even if it means I have to change more beliefs and hone more positions.

There are those who like to demonize those who came out of another belief system, who ‘converted,’ so to speak, after being active in another arena or supporting something else. They fancy, somehow, that because they have never changed their belief system, and they have always believed XYZ way, that they are somehow purer. They are the ‘true patriots,’ and those of us who came out of another place are trash.

Because lately it seems like it’s not really a Kit Perez article unless I say something controversial, I’ll say the following: If you, after many years, have not changed a single belief, have not evolved in your thinking at all, have not seen a single thing that caused you to stop and say, “Wow…maybe I’m wrong about that,” then you are intellectually lazy. No one who is truly growing and maturing keeps exactly the same beliefs across the board for their entire life without even a question.

Humans have biases and our analysis is prone to pitfalls. It’s who we are. Normalcy bias, confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance, the list goes on and on. In short, we do not like information that challenges our belief system, and we don’t want to change. Therefore, a lot of people (maybe even most) choose to believe only facts that support their narrative, even if those facts are debunked or incorrect. They discard anything that disproves their belief because if they don’t, they need to actually reevaluate their belief system—and maybe change it. That means admitting that they may have been mistaken. It takes conscious effort and humility to train yourself to seek truth and be willing to accept it when it’s proven to you. I posit that a large number of folks in the so-called patriot movement look at things as though they’re looking at the edge of a penny, convinced it’s only a curved line. They’re not interested in seeing the actual coin…they just want to believe in the line.

For many, their beliefs about the kind of world that exists around them is something intrinsic to who they are. They find it difficult to fathom a world that is not as they believed. It’s why Hillary fans collectively ignore the staggering amount of evidence showing that she is a pedophile with occult ties. It’s why John McCain is still Arizona’s senator. It’s why third party candidates never win. It’s why so many ‘patriots’ never see the irony in thinking that if only THEY had control of everything, they’d be immune from the seductive call of absolute power’s corruption. It’s why we are always a little bit surprised when people we respected and thought were solid end up stabbing us in the back.

I believed a lot of things that have been proven wrong. I used to laugh at the idea that there was a shadow government, some globalist cabal that was involved in everything from drug trafficking to satanic ritual abuse of children. I used to see those wild accusations on various conspiracy sites and I would dismiss them with a laugh and a shake of the head. Since then I’ve seen the evidence. It is overwhelming. Staggering. Soul-searing. But I seek truth, in whatever form it comes, regardless of the cost. I can learn something from almost anyone—even if I don’t agree with their beliefs, I still learn: how to counter, how to debate them effectively, how to crosscheck the information I already have.

I don’t want to be someone who cannot change their belief if they’re proven wrong, and I’m self-aware enough that I know just how wrong I’ve been at various times in the last 12 years, not just in some of the things I believed in, but also many of the people.  I’m sure I’ll be wrong again. But I don’t give two seconds of credibility to anyone who does not have the balls to look at opposing information and truly evaluate their beliefs according to fact, and not what their emotions need them to be. I don’t give two seconds of time to people who are not only mentally stagnant, but think that being so is a badge of honor. I don’t want to be right, I want to be correct.

Stagnation is not something to brag about. If you’ve been around in this freedom thing a long time, awesome. If absolutely nothing about your belief system has changed or clarified during that time, then you should really think about where your head’s at. You just might have more in common with the naked emperor than the well-read partisan.