Democracy, Communism, Fascism was the title of a booklet I read when I was seven years old. It was the height of the Red Scare and even in second grade teachers were expected to at least mention the differences between democracy and dictatorship. I was already reading the New York Times even at that age, and the teacher knew it, and so when she saw me looking at the book on her desk she told me I could take it and read it. And I did. I don’t remember every detail, but one passage struck me and I’ve remembered it ever since, “Dictatorships such as Communism and Fascism spy on their own people, but Democracies never do. So if your country ever spies on its own people, you will know it has been taken over, either by Communism or by Fascism.”
And so now I read today’s paper:
NSA has massive database of Americans’ phone calls
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.
The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren’t suspected of any crime.
So which is it? Communism or Fascism?