Democracy, Communism, Fascism … and the NSA

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?

3 Responses to Democracy, Communism, Fascism … and the NSA

  1. Jo Etta says:

    What a persuasive anecdote, Tom.

  2. Steve Belosi says:

    Funny this is sent to me and i am reading it now. Just today I was telling s person in detroit that we are in a state of fascism in our Country.

  3. Jeannette Ward says:

    One thing I am not clear on is whether they are collecting records of local calls, long distance calls, or both. My long distance company is different from the local one, SBC. For long distance I use Working Assets which in turn uses the facilities of Sprint. Qwest refused to cooperate with the government in this. It occurred to me that we could reward them and punish the cooperating companies by switching our long distance business to them. At least we should send them a “Thank you, job well done” note. Here is a link to an excellent article on this topic.

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