I have a lot of respect for Larry Lessig of Harvard Law School and I agree with him completely when he tells Bill Moyers that Edward Snowden’s fear that his leaks about the NSA’s illegal data mining won’t really change anything. He’s right, they won’t.
Harvard professor Laurence Lessig told Bill Moyers on Friday that former defense contractor Edward Snowden’s concerns about popular apathy regarding his revelations of government data gathering are well-founded.
“I think the thing he most fears is the most likely outcome,” Lessig said on Moyers & Company, citing the relative lack of attention given to matters like the Wall Street bailout or Occupy Wall Street.
“I think ordinary people have lost the sense that there’s a reason to try to engage politically because in the end they know how the cards will be dealt,” Lessig continued. “And the cards will be dealt not according to what makes sense or what people actually believe, but where the power is. And here the power is both the literal power of the most powerful security state in the history of the world and also the power of enormous interests to support and continue that state.”…“People will see in the media all of these disclosures,” Snowden said to the Guardian. “They’ll know the lengths that the government is going to grant themselves powers unilaterally to create greater control over American society and global society. But they won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things to force their representatives to actually take a stand in their interests.”
No, they won’t. Most people won’t give a damn about it for the same reason they don’t give a damn about our racist and incredibly corrupt criminal justice system or about the horrible results of the wars we wage — because they think it doesn’t really affect them, that it’s only happening to other people. We don’t care what happens to people who don’t look like us or talk like us or go to Little League games with our kids. We have the ability to otherize the problem so we can shut it out. It is our greatest downfall as a species.