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Monday, June 17, 2013

Do You Care About Apathy?

The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency....
The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency. The first use was in September 1966, replacing an older seal which was used briefly.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      There are many things that annoy me about my local paper The Los Angeles Times.  I've tried to cancel on several occasions, but then some phone agent in the Philippines gives me a better offer that makes me decide to keep the subscription coming to my house.   At the rate they're going I figure that eventually they'll start paying me to take the paper.

         It's no wonder that they've been steadily losing subscribers over the past several years.  The Times is no longer a quality news reporting service that delivers objective journalism, but instead it has become an agenda driven rag that clearly doesn't speak for those who should logically be counted as its true readership. Conservatives can rarely count on receiving any fair coverage let alone much positive coverage at all.

         The latest outrage that has raised my annoyance level has to do with an editorial that appeared in the Thursday edition on June 13th.   This piece comes from regular columnist Meghan Daum.  This writer is well credentialed with many articles in national publications and a few somewhat respected books to her name.  I was not familiar with her work until I read this editorial piece and I daresay I will not be seeking out anything else by her based on what I've read in her editorial.

         The subject of her editorial was in regard to the National Security Agency whistle blower Edward Snowden, who released information about how the government is spying on the citizens.   We've known much of this already, but Snowden confirmed more of what we'd already suspected.  If you don't know what this Snowden story is all about then Baum's piece is partly about you.

           Actually, Baum's editorial covers an important issue in our society--our general apathy about what's going on in our country.  She titled her piece "Big Brother? Meh."   Aside from from using "Meh"--one of my least favorite modern expressions--I was extremely bothered by her statement, "I'm betting he'll eventually be revealed as an angry white geek."   If this statement had been applied to any other race or cultural group, we would have undoubtedly heard a clamorous uproar of protest.  But maybe few noticed that she said this and even fewer cared.

          Discounting that statement and moving on to her premise, Daum suggests that most of us don't care if the government is spying on everything we do and that we are more than willing to divulge ourselves to the world without any second thoughts.   We don't care who knows what we do.  And that often seems to be true.

         My post of last Monday asked if the U.S. should give military assistance to the Syrian rebels.  The general attitude of most Americans is one of ambivalence.  Even after my post, as the President was doing a Father's Day tribute, a nonchalant aside was given by a White House spokesperson to the press that the U.S. was indeed going to provide arms to our future enemy, the Syrian rebels.  Ho hum.  Who cares.  It's like the surveillance.  "Well, they're gonna do it no matter what I think, so why should I care?"   Then again many may not care because they figure they can't do anything about anything anyway or maybe somebody else will fix things.  It's easier not to care.

          "Meh--don't bother me.  I'm on Facebook."

           Do you think most people are fairly apathetic about what government does?   What can citizens in free societies do to influence government?    Is it worth the time and effort?   Does it bother you that government agencies might be monitoring your phone records, internet usage, and other aspects of your life?

       
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34 comments:

  1. Sadly, I think she's right. A lot of people don't know and even more don't care.
    And you're right - say that about any other group and you'd be slammed.

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  2. Interesting Arlee thank you. Here in South Africa we are pretty vocal and protest like mad about much but there is also a sense that the govt is too powerful and what can one individual do? Well, it is up to the one individual and then the next and so on ... we too have a secrecy bill just about to be signed in and I sometimes think that we are going back to the old days of apartheid and black outs in the press ... and imprisonment if journalists don't reveal their sources.
    I get the sense that we're all dumbing down and getting more and more apathetic by the day ...
    I read recently that Snowden is actually a secret CIA; or that he's in the pay of the Chinese ...

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  3. I actually think as sad as it is that I wholeheartedly agree, there is quite a prevalent level of apathy that surrounds politics and what makes it sad is that it's because they've became disillusioned by Politics. If people don't care and don't try then nothing will sort itself out, things will just get worse, great topic buddy.

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  4. Why a path to apathy?

    OccasionaLLy a newspaper is thrown onto my lawn by mistake. I am thinking about having them arrested for littering (multiple times).

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  5. If things are going well for a person, there is a tendency to push those 'political' news stories to the back burner. In general, people are too honed in on social media. Social media is a communication tool, it's not the news service.

    In general, it's better to read (or watch) a variety of news sources. We still get the newspaper, Lee, since hubs likes reading it. I like following the news as I like being informed. It's finding which news agency you can trust that's difficult.

    Apathy is created by a false sense of security. (It's not MY problem, or it doesn't affect ME.) This is something that needs to be addressed through education.

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  6. Alex -- Someday a lot of people are going to wonder how we got to where we are and it will be too late for them.

    Susan S-- Snowden will be slammed from all directions. It's probably all a diversion anyway. World government is on its way.

    Yeamie -- Things will get worse. I guarantee you.

    esbb-- I'd say that newspaper you have in your town has far more journalistic integrity than the L.A. Times. That is unless you've got one of those papers that's assembled in the Philippines and only printed locally. Then you probably get the same crap I do. Along with the coming one world government I think we will see a one world newspaper as well.

    DG -- Unfortunately I think education is getting worse as well. Most people want to be entertained more than to be educated or informed.

    Lee

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  7. The sad fact is...if you're a white, heterosexual, Christian, male you're fair game as far as abuse goes. The "White Guilt" has enthralled many, as well.

    I think the majority of people are extremely apathetic when it comes to government and politics. I don't go to FB much, but when I post something it, usually, has a political slant to it. I've had in-laws grumble about my political postings and my answer to them, usually, runs along the lines of, 'It's too bad you seem to care more about the 'clutter' on your FB page than to what's happening around you."

    It's sad, really.

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  8. We're talking about a social media culture where people expect, and even WANT, to be watched and followed. If it's the government doing the watching and following . . . ::shrug:: So many people are so caught up in themselves they can't be bothered to follow the news (unless it directly affects them or their favorite celebrities). You could argue this does affect them, but if they can't see or feel it, they don't count it.

    ~MPL
    PepperWords

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  9. Big Brother is watching.

    It's like the boiling frog. He doesn't realize he's boiling to death until it's too late. That's little freedoms being taken from us and one day we'll wake up and wonder what happened.

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  10. Hmmm...no, I was not aware of this editorial as I'm not aware of most editorials given today's news is not news to me. I see the word news and I only read "sensationalism," "get ratings," "spin,"...no matter if it is a left-leaning or right-leaning news station or article.

    There isn't a specific minority group to spark outcry for the "angry white geek" comment (or at least it hasn't got a high enough membership). But if there was one, there would be an uproar.

    As for apathy, distraction is the mother of rule. For the few to lead the many, distract them with too much nonsense and too little of what really matters so that "thinking for one's self" becomes too much of a task. We've become a society that has so much "reality" on TV that reality is merely the butt of a bad joke about two priests walking into a bar or some such thing.

    We're a mass society telling the world more of our business now than the government could ever gather on their own thanks to Google, Facebook, Twitter, and countless other outlets.

    I laughed when I heard the outcry of the NSA scandal. I was wondering where all these same naysayers were when the Patriot Act was passed to legalize much of the domestic spying that was already going on. The naysayers, at that time, we deemed "Unpatriotic!" "Usurpers!" "Treasonous lefties with something to hide!" I wonder what changed since the original "war on terror" idea that was used to bless this whole she-bang hasn't ended.

    As for Syria, this is less apathy to me and more of a recognition of this as part of the "government cycle." How many other governments, in the past, has the US gone in to prop up and then turn around to have them hate this country for it?

    Apathy? I'll admit that it is a strong possibility, Arlee. Or is it just the sheeple are to busy being sheep? Would they be synonymous?

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  11. Apathy is a huge problem. Most people don't know what is going on and don't care to know. Many people think they know what is going on, but are really just buying the propaganda that the media is selling. I am sure that makes them feel better.

    I have watched the media debate the Snowden issue like a tennis ball at Wimbledon. Some say what he did was treasonous. Others say he was a hero. After watching Judge Jeanine on Fox Saturday night, I am inclined to think we are all idiots for not knowing it already. She says that the drug cartel has known for the last thirty years not to leave any electronic trail because our government had the capability to surveil them. If they can do it to those guys, why can't they do it to you and me? Edward Snowden merely pointed out how far government has gone. She brought on a whistleblower from 10 years ago who the Obama Administration decided to pursue with TENACITY. The O Administration leveled something like 10 federal charges after the fact (when this guy did his whistleblowing through proper channels). The Obama Administration was sending a message: We do not tolerate Whistleblowing and we will prosecute with a Heavy Hand.

    So, when media people sit around and criticize Edward Snowden for not going through proper channels, they need to look at people who already have. Obama has made mincemeat out of them. I, for one, am not apathetic about that. People should be able to call out tyranny when they discover it in their government without the Full Force of that government coming down on them.

    I care about the NSA collecting and storing every little bit of data on every person for Who Knows How Long in some building. We have no idea what they will use that information for in the years to come. And the people who have said things like, "If Bush was doing it, it would bother me, but since it's Obama, I'm okay with it" make me want to scream. It was Bush at one time, you moron. It's now Obama. And who knows who it will be in the future? Wake up.

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  12. It not only bothers the hell out of me that my data is being collected, it bothers me that there's not a huge revolt in this country and that the government didn't have to break any laws in doing what it did.

    I just read a short article on the five stages of living in a national surveillance state. Here they are: Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. Have we already jumped to number 5?

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  13. It's like Big Brother Watching You with all the data that is collected about a person and I don't think it right, Are we not allowed some privicy?
    As for face book I now call it FARCE BOOK.

    Yvonne.

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  14. My comments stalled at #12 so I'm leaving the 13 comment:

    Mark -- It's more fun to be silly than serious. Who cares about relevance?

    MPL -- And when things do start to affect them they're upset, but it's often too late to address the issue without a major production made.

    L.Diane -- I've been thinking about the "boiling frog" analogy of late. It seems appropriate.

    Angela -- Great comment with many excellent points. For most people their reality is not real world reality. There are a lot of sheeple in front of TV sets watching shows that tell them what life is about--kind of a real world twist on the show don't tell axiom for writers. I rarely read editorials, but "Big Brother? Meh." caught my attention.

    Robin -- Another great comment. I've been hearing about a lot of this kind of stuff since the 60's and 70's. Now it's all becoming easier with advanced technology. The spying is not a new idea, but the detail, data compilation and storage is making it so much more easy and efficient to do.

    C.Lee-- Sadly I think most Americans are in the acceptance stage. The really scary part comes when those who don't accept willingly are coerced and even forced into acceptance or some more dire consequence.

    Lee

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  15. Yvonne - oh-oh, you are actually the 13th commenter.

    The funny thing about "Farce Book" is that so many users are more than willing to put up tons of personal data on the site for the world to know.

    Lee

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  16. I think a LOT of people are apathetic AND ignorant (as opposed to stupid). As long as they know who won on American Idol, whether Kim Kardashian had her baby, and who will direct the next Star Wars movie, they're happy just eating cake. Me? While there's nothing that I do that would merit anyone's concern in the federal government, it's none of their frikkin' business.
    If you'll excuse an observation of the NSA seal? Interesting that it includes a key. Hmm. Must be a key made of cheese.

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  17. Oh, as far as Syria? Nothing, absolutely nothing, good can come out of that. Let them kill each other. It's not worth my son getting his legs blown off or a cent of our money going to help whichever brand of thug is waging war over in that shithole. I say pull out of the Middle East, pull out of Germany, pull out of Korea, give the Muslim Brotherhood the bird, take the Nobel Peace Prize away from the Jug-Eared Golfer, and give New England to Canada.
    Guess I'm in a mood.

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  18. As you mentioned, I too, think that some of the apathy has to do with people feeling like they cannot do anything about it. This may be true in some areas as far as a physical inability to make a difference, but we can always pray. We underestimate that too much, I think. Thanks for stirring the waters!

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  19. >we are more than willing to divulge >ourselves to the world without any >second thoughts

    Lee-

    The above comment does seem true.

    HOWEVER....that does not give the government the right to infringe on our privacy.

    I would be happy if I were no longer subjected to inane cell phone conversations 24/7. The world kept turning twenty years ago when you couldn't call on the way out of the office building to see if you needed milk....you just gambled the $2 on a gallon, and maybe you had extra.

    The government knows the buzz words that elicit compliance, from "for the children" for more empathetic Americonneds to "to fight terror" for the frightened masses.

    We could dismantle the TSA, CIA, FBI, NEA,and a whole buncha other unconstitutional acronym-agencies and not miss a beat.

    None of these things are making us safer, or have made our schools better.

    Yet the media, as Ms. Daum so cheerfully demonstrates, still kisses the Obama ass and is willing to denigrate any patriot who calls this administration on its excess.

    This used to be a country of empowerment-we just never made a big deal of calling it that. People simply DID THINGS.

    Now we are a country of sheep, and the country is still one of empowerment-our apathy has empowered the Federal government.

    Now people wait for others to DO THINGS FOR THEM.

    Reread the Constitution, America-this is now what the framers of that document had in mind!

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  20. One other point of interest, Lee-if people want to limit the amount of data collected on themselves, start trying to live without some of the modern conveniences.

    Use cash instead of a credit card. Buy less online. Stop joining every frequent buyer club. Ditch the EZ Pass. Turn off the GPS on your cell (or ditch the cell).

    We all leave a digital footprint, and we make the job a cinch.

    Make it harder.

    Want to have some fun?

    Open a new e-mail address (like deathtoinfidels@gmail.com) and send lots of inflamatory stuff with it! Keep those Federal idiots guessing!

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  21. no time to respond at the moment but i'll try later

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  22. I think most countries suffer from apathy. A people who cannot be bothered to vote in the first place are not going to bother with what's happening anyway.

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  23. She probably is right. I blame it on the fact that there are so many distractions today, that people just don't follow the news deeply, as they used to. I remember when I was a kid, my dad would come home from work each night, fill his pipe with some sweet smelling tobacco, kick off his shoes, grab a drink and relax before dinner reading the newspaper.

    Anymore, the news is briefly scanned on a phone or tablet if paid attention to at all. The retention is so short as each one moves on to the next subject in their app-driven life.

    I believe the government is COUNTING on that from the majority of citizens and can therefore manipulate our actual "interest level" by how we actually hear about things.

    Very clever actually...and quite evil.

    Good post, Lee.

    Chuck at Apocalypse Now

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  24. Being monitored bothers me a lot. The fact I have nothing to hide from the NSA or any other branch of the lack-of-intelligence community isn't the point. I'm not apathetic about it, but I believe there isn't much I can do. No matter what laws are on the books to protect citizens' rights, the alphabet soup gang will go over, under, around, and/or through them. I think many are deluded into thinking we're safer because those guys are watching over us.

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  25. ARLEE BOID ~
    Well, certainly this country, collectively, is apathetic. We are apathetic and ignorant, and as a result, we will get EVERYTHING that we so richly deserve.

    Every country where the citizens are able to vote for their leadership ALWAYS gets what it deserves and has no one to blame but itself.

    In the last two presidential elections, the Americonned People had the ability to elect one man who cared sincerely and deeply about every one of the principles that this nation was founded upon. Namely, Ron Paul.

    And yet, look at what they elected to lead them!

    There is something known as 'THE LIFE CYCLE OF NATIONS' and it charts the way many nations have ascended and then fallen. It goes like this:

    From...
    BONDAGE to
    SPIRITUAL FAITH to
    COURAGE to
    LIBERTY to
    ABUNDANCE to
    COMPLACENCY to
    APATHY to
    DEPENDENCY to
    BONDAGE

    Where would you put today's U.S.A. in that cycle?

    I think we're beyond APATHY and descending quickly into DEPENDENCY.

    Next stop... BONDAGE.

    Estimated Time Of Arrival?... Soon.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  26. I think we, as a society, remain largely uninformed (if it's not on Facebook, it didn't happen) and apathetic (it's not messing up my day so who cares?). But those who are aware and concerned are also convinced there is nothing they can do to change things.

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  27. Al -- Oh, I like your mood. You make some good points.

    Karen -- Prayer is probably what makes most sense for Christians. Most know where this is all going.

    Larry -- You are correct right down the line. If we want the government to take care of us we need to be cooperative with them.

    Andrew -- Hope you make it.

    Jo -- Most people feel pretty powerless so why care?

    Chuck -- It is a devious plan that works well and is working better as technology improves.

    Jan -- I don't feel safer and I don't know that I'm even more paranoid that I have been in the past. I'm just aware about things going on.

    StMc -- I think you're right and the Bible tells me so.

    LD -- Maybe ignorance is bliss, but I don't think so. We are a society of discontentment.

    Lee

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  28. Apathy is absolutely a huge problem.
    I have been complaining about it loudly since at least 9-11.
    Nobody seems all that interested in listening. The messenger is often not appreciated in these kinds of things. Carrying this type of message is certainly not popular.
    I've never had anything to do with FB. I won't own a smart phone. You won't find much of anything if you knew my real name and were to do an internet search. I do what I can to protect myself, but I do realize that this is probably already a lost cause.
    I often wonder why people seem to be so afraid of any kind of revolution and yet are not afraid of an overpowering government.
    I'm not one who has ever really felt like the average American so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that I feel differently than most people I meet about these kinds of things.
    I wish I had a good answer. For now I've decided that telling the truth to as many people I can who actually bother to talk about this stuff is what I will choose to do.

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  29. Unfortunately for the most part, most Americans are very apathetic toward government. They are more concerned these days about two things; 1)What will it cost me or how will it inconvenience me, and 2) what will it do for me - what's in it for me?

    They have as citizens done what they can do - vote in politicians who have the same conscience and morality as they possess. You can't say that in a free society citizens can vote, address issues, campaign for legislation when they have already done so and put in the ones that they want to be there. It is all about the Benjamins.

    I don't think it is worth much time or effort for two reasons, 1) we are not called as believers to confront or change government (Paul never exhorted change in the Neronian government he served under); 2) times will grow worse and worse until the Lord returns for His church.

    Great question, I was going to type yes- to an extent, but I guess it doesn't bother me as much as 1) it should or 2) it does or I would do something about it. Let's face it big brother is here and he is here to stay.

    I am not as cynical as it seems, I am a biblical realtist. I do not believe society or government will ever fix itself. We need to be responsible and do what is permitted by law. I vote but haven't seemed to pick a winner for a long long time. :)

    Great post and wonderful questions.

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  30. Too many are apathetic - and uninformed. I sure am glad you are around. Please stop by my blog this week.

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  31. Jasmine -- If at least a vocal few will keep saying what needs to be said, maybe a few more will become more interested. It's a war won on a individual basis.

    Gregg - You gotten to the essence of this. Christians have a mission to carry a message and we're not going to win over the world, but we might save a few souls.

    JJ -- Thanks for stopping by here.

    Lee


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  32. The fact that she dismisses him as an angry white geek disturbs me greatly. Clearly she doesn't care who might be spying on her. She's definitely not the journalist I want to read on either.

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  33. Hi Lee,

    I'm going to leave you a mercifully brief comment. Apathy was a worrying theme in Britain and some of the concerns mentioned in your article are of concern in Britain.

    However, due to increasing outrage at the most immoral British government in living memory, the apathy is dissipating and we are on the verge of a people's uprising. Something that wont make the news, yet, in other parts of the world.

    Gary

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  34. This is a great post, Lee! So great that I shared it on my blog. I grew up with apathetic parents. I have 3 brothers and a sister...all equally as apathetic. If I didn't look so dang much like my dad, I'd think I was adopted. I often tell them their spirit animals would be the ostrich...cause the live with their heads in the sand. *sigh*

    Yes, I have my cell phone, online accounts, and I live on the grid, but at least I'm aware of what's going on in the world, am working to minimize my dependency on the government, and I VOTE! *shakes head*

    Way to use your voice to be heard, Lee!

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