Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Liberals Really Are Getting Paranoid

"I'm a 57-year-old disabled senior who subsists on $900 a month, so you can see I'm a clear terror threat, but I've been to three peace marches and call in to a lot of radio shows, and I went to see Cindy Sheehan speak this summer, so I'm pretty sure I'm under surveillance, and I just don't know what to do about it."
- A caller on the Mike Malloy show on Air America just now

OK, this NSA surveillance thing has made everyone to the left of Joe Lieberman extremely paranoid. Mike Malloy's open-ended call-in had four callers sincerely rambling about how the government is spying on them. The cutest was a Puerto Rican 67-year-old who claims government agents follow her in the supermarket because she stood on the sidelines of a peace march once, where "they took my photograph, and that was it, I was on the list." Malloy ended his show saying "Take care and watch your back."

C'mon, now. The left is starting to sound as wacky as Rush listeners who rant hysterically about "liberal conspiracies" and all those other chimeras. Yes, the Patriot Act is a disgraceful violation of our civil rights, but do you really think the government has the resources to spy on every granny who croaked out "Amazing Grace" at a peace vigil? There is a kind of mass hysteria among diehard leftists reaffirming each others' paranoia. Let's try to keep our heads on and not sound like the liberal loonies Rush calls us.


  • At 7:17 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    I don't know, it seems most likely, from reading the newspapers, that the NSA is involved in some kind of massive computer-guided surveillance of everything, so indeed everybody may be spied on, if not singled out for it. That's problematic, but not for quite the same reasons. Check here for a decent explanation of why.

  • At 7:20 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Oh, and people who call in to radio shows, left or right, are almost invariably cranks. I wouldn't expect them to get sane anytime soon.

  • At 7:36 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Whoah, that's a disturbing (and informative) discussion over at TPM Cafe.

    I guess I was just reacting to the narcissistic delusion of "I raised my fist at a Cindy Sheehan march and now George Bush has sent spies after me" or even slightly more sane versions of that kind of paranoia. There's something really bourgeois and self-important about that.

    But yes, it makes sense that digital correspondence is being monitored by NSA surveillance technology. But as the commentators at TPMCafe said, the false positives must be so high that basically anyone who has ever typed "Iraq" and "terrorist" is probably in some database somewhere.

    However, what's deeply troubling is that this is just a pretext for unprecedented domestic surveillance to quell legitimate dissidence. Much like the cameras in the subways.

    I realize I'm talking in circles a bit. I agree that the surveillance is shocking and unprecedented in scale, but that doesn't mean that any individual nobody should start fretting about being watched by the government.


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