Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The American Disease

Etiquette says that it is impolite to talk religion or politics over dinner, which may go some way in explaining why I don't get invited to dinner parties. Food? Political. Choice of background music? Political. Serving white wine with steak? Political. Aaron Gilmore? Christ, what an arsehole.

The reality TV junkies have lived such short safe lives, they have lost collective consciousness of the terrors of existential threats, the miseries and humility of shared suffering. If it can't be parsed into a CSI-friendly anecdote, the eyes glaze over or the subject flips to royal pregnancies and sport.

It is disconnects like this that allow vastly ironies to go unremarked, such as the final Constitutional Debate being held the day John Key released plans for mass surveillance, and a raft of new crimes against the state.

New Zealand is getting the American Disease, a virulent STI or Security Theatre Infection. It can only be a matter of time before our first Aaron Swartz-like victim occurs, or worse.

There's hope amidst my cynicism. I'll leave you with an increasingly popular search phrase from Lord Cooke of Thorndon:
"If ever a Government indifferent at heart to basic rights were to hold office in this country, it could force through, possibly in a matter of hours and by the barest of majorities, legislation opposed to basic principles of justice. Orthodox theory has in the past been that the Courts could not intervene. I am not so sure; the authority of Parliament itself - supremacy as it is often called - ultimately turns on judicial recognition."
- Lord Cooke of Thorndon, "Practicalities of a Bill of Rights" Australian Bar Review 189,201.