Fascism for the Irony-Impaired American

New cameras to watch the cameras that are watching you.

I am not making that up.

Feel safe, or you may be an Enemy of the State.

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  • I just finished watching the 5-part Masterpiece Contemporary mini-series The Last Enemy on Netflix instant video. I have become a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch from the new BBC Sherlock series and was hunting up more of his work. If you want to scare yourself with a dystopic look at the coming police state, this is the place to do it. Set in England in the very near future, it imagines a world much like our own, where the threat of terrorism is met by increasing surveillance on every individual via smart ID tags of the sort already in use by advertisers to collect data on consumer behavior, under the control of an integrated information network . Most if not all of the technology depicted already exists and is used already to one degree or the other . BC plays a character with similarities to Sherlock Holmes, a math genius with OCD. Good suspense thriller that looks at the more socially terrifying aspects of “homeland security”.

  • Matt

    And now we know the answer to quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    • Irenist

      Interretia omnia vincis!

      • ivan_the_mad

        Praesertim commune consilium 😉 Ave Chesterton!

  • MarylandBill

    It still shocks me that traffic cameras are legal; especially speed cameras where there is no way to verify that a camera’s radar was working properly when it took your picture (or that it might have been influenced by some other object moving at a high speed).

    If we haven’t gotten to Big Brother yet, we are certainly at Big Cousin!

    • Rosemarie


      Well if it takes two color pictures – one of your car at the crosswalk the second the light turns red (with the red light clearly visible in the shot) and another a second or so later past the crosswalk – that’s pretty convincing verification. I don’t know if that’s how they all work, but that’s the way the ones around here work.

      Though I must admit I don’t see this particular case as very Big Brother-ish. The additional cameras are there to catch vandals, who are committing a criminal act (not to mention a sin against the Seventh Commandment, which covers destruction of another’s property). If people weren’t vandalizing the red light cameras then there would be no need for these cameras. I could be wrong, but IMHO this is not so much a case of Big Brother as it is of some citizens behaving badly thus causing the gov’t to crack down in a way that may end up inconveniencing honest citizens somehow. Though I’m not too clear on exactly how these additional cameras will inconvenience someone who is basically law-abiding.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Sorry, this was Exhibit A in my argument against Suffragettes.

  • kmk

    Welcome to Maryland–at least to the counties clustered around DC and Baltimore City. When we retire (hah!), it won’t be here!

    • MarylandBill

      Don’t be too surprised if they show up other places. I think they are popular with politicians because they are a way of generating revenue without raising taxes.

  • Irenist

    This has the potential to be the ultimate pork-barrel project.
    “Many people find speed cameras frustrating, and some in the region are taking their rage out on the cameras themselves. But now there’s a new solution: cameras to watch the cameras.”
    And then when fed-up citizens bash in the cameras to watch the cameras, the taxpayer can fund cameras to watch the cameras to watch the cameras. And so on.
    I still, irony-impaired hopefully-irenic Irenist that I am, don’t think our woes amount to fascism (not enough unalloyed Fuhrerprinzip for one thing, Messianic Obama-kitsch notwithstanding) as opposed to some new form of media-massaged tyranny that is more dangerous because it hides behind elections more effectively (and will thus long outlast the few decades fascism lasted even in Spain) while doing most of its work in the non-kulturkampf parts of our politics where the permanent corporate and government hacks cooperate no matter who is in power. The old BBC sitcom “Yes, (Prime) Minister” is probably a better picture of how modern kleptocracies work than would be garnered from fretting about 1933.
    That said, I don’t know that surveillance is going away. Thus, to go with rather than against the grain of the times, I suspect that sousveillance is one of the better responses for defenders of our ancient liberties: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sousveillance

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      If we are going to work toward precision, Fascism never even had a toe-hold in Spain. Spain had a similar movement, the Phalange, but while they supported the good Generalissimo, and he used them when necessary, they were not his government.

      No, Spain has never had a Fascist government.

      If we’re going to be precise.

      • Irenist

        Fair point (and touché, if you’re twitting me for pedantry). Would you say Corporatist is the better descriptor for Franco’s regime? I’ve seen that used many times, but it seems so easy to mistake for our own plutocracy that I hesitate to employ it online.

  • Rob

    Awesome. More cameras to vandalize.

  • dpt

    We need cameras to watch the cameras that are monitoring the traffic cameras.

    How about installing cameras in government offices and allowing a live internet feed so we can check in each day, any time of day to see how hard government employees are working. Perhaps the offices of all politicians should be set up with open mikes and cameras so we have full access to their discussions…open disclosure 24/7!

  • Ted Seeber

    I still want to know why a simple paintball gun can’t defeat both cameras.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Only temporarily, until it is cleaned. And I know from experience they will send a crew with a cherry picker to clean the higher up ones.

      Of course, with enough paintball attacks, you tie up their resources in maintaining their tech.

      So paintballs work, just more like an M-16 than a Mauser or Springfield ’03.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    If anyone wants an argument against suffragettes, there’s my first exhibit.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Of course I was tweaking you.

    Now, if a pianist plays piano, what kind of instrument is Irene?

    • ivan_the_mad

      A bassoon, of course.