We live in fascinating times. We are outraged by government incursions into our corner of the Grand Database, while at the same time we cheerfully surrender any and all information about ourselves for a 10% discount at Best Buy. In fact, we seem to be outraged by almost anything the government does these days, up to and including holding public trials to determine someone’s guilt or innocence, which we now seem to be convinced are contrived and predetermined whenever they fail to conform to our own conclusions. These conclusions, of course, are based on what information we could glean from the news media, which we firmly believe are utterly untrustworthy, with notable exceptions, which I’ll discuss momentarily..
How has it come about that we offer up the most bizarrely intimate details of our lives daily on Facebook, yet man the barricades when it transpires that some government agency might have been reading them? Or cough up our phone numbers and email addresses on demand when checking out at Home Depot for no apparent reason?
Well of course, you say, no point in getting a loyalty card, and then clamming up about it, is there? There’s a sacred bond involved, similar to the bond that ties us to certain news outlets, those we are sworn to believe regardless of the absurdity of their dispatches. Therein lies a glimmer of hope for resolving this crisis of confidence.
Government loyalty cards. Get a loyalty card, and get a discount when you present it at tax time. Pay more taxes, get a bigger discount. We’d even get special offers in the mail, both snail and e, for holiday sales tax rebates, or jury duty aboard a luxury cruise ship, half price if you volunteer immediately. All of this can be easily paid for by adjusting the “normal” tax rates for those who don’t have loyalty cards.
We might believe everything the government tells us, as we do with Fox News or The Guardian, if we thought of them as our tribe. We might even believe government policies are based on the moral code of humanitarianism.
With investigations of large political donations repeatedly raising the question of buying policies, it could be argued we already have a high spender loyalty scheme.
Ha! Good point, except that the loyalty schemes in the commercial world invariably work to the advantage of the business, not the customer.
Politicians are allegedly terrible at keeping their promises, so maybe that fits too.
Corruption would probably need to be internally honest though.
The revolving door between business and government, the money business spends on government, what is the difference, really? Though I for one am pretty selective with info I give out to anyone (no loyalty cards for me), and am mortified by our orwellian police state.
You exaggerate. We’re nowhere near an orwellian police state. Read 1984 again. You’ll see.
I think we are well on the way. And complacency is an accelerant.
We’re on the way somewhere, not necessarily to a police state. I would have thought you would be familiar enough with police states to make the distinction. Not exaggerating is not the same as complacency, and over-reacting can help bring about the feared end as well. We’re doing fine, all these things are under discussion, which is as it should be.
Agree that discussion is key. Yet I cannot help but see the ghosts of a totalitarian regime, if we are not careful.
I think we are being careful, as evidenced by all this commotion. That’s why I’m not too worried. Here’s the thing: All the outrage is about the government getting access to data the corporate world has been amassing about you for years, which we’ve all been signing off on annually when we get those privacy notices. That enables them to customize the kinds of information WE see, in an effort to sell us more stuff. But that also means we get to see very little that we don’t already agree with. Do you think someone with a conservative background is getting all this concern about privacy through his/her searches? Not a chance. As a result, we all think we’re in the majority, and when things don’t go our way, we’re convinced it’s due to some diabolical conspiracy. THAT’S what worries me. Our little bubbles unfortunately collide all the time, and we get upset.
I agree, Mikels, this information targeting is insidious.
I could not agree more with the post.