Ed Snowden and the New Colossus
The techno-corporate state is the New Colossus. It is Eisenhower’s “military-industrial-government complex” on steroids. But it is also a state without a nation, much like an ego consciousness without roots.
Welcome to Dystopia.
Today’s Globe and Mail had a re-report from Germany’s Der Spiegel citing an interview the German magazine did with Ed Snowden in which Snowden charged that the governments of Germany, France, and Britain were in cahoots with the NSA on mass surveillance. Snowden made the surprising suggestion, according to the report, that the protests by European governments about UK and US spying might be disingenuous.
That Globe and Mail original report entitled “NSA ‘in bed with Germany’ and others, Snowden tells magazine”, has since been replaced by another entitled “Brazil seeks U.S. clarification on reports of NSA spying“, and the original article has apparently been deleted with no explanation. You will note, however, that the URL still points to the article with the original title.
The Guardian, however, still carries the original Reuters report, “Ed Snowden tells Der Spiegel NSA is ‘in bed with the Germans‘”, so I’m not sure what’s going on here.
For me, the most significant quote from the article is this,
“Other agencies don’t ask us where we got the information from and we don’t ask them. That way they can protect their top politicians from the backlash in case it emerges how massively people’s privacy is abused worldwide,” [Snowden] said.
It also suggests a rogue state and a secret government, assuming that the expressions of outrage and surprise by Merkel and others were authentic. And if this rogue state-within-a- state can act to keep their top politicians in the dark, supposedly in order to protect them from public backlash, it also means the puppet-masters can conceivably do just the opposite to undermine them. But given that the British government apparently knew full well the scope of the NSA operation, and of its own “Tempora” programme, but kept it hidden from public knowledge, oversight, and insight, it seems remarkably strange that Merkel or Hollande were not aware of the sheer massiveness of these surveillance programmes themselves, which Snowden attests are linked into each other.
Really, it makes the mass surveillance operations of the Norsefire Party dictatorship in the dystopian movie V for Vendetta look quite primitive already — even though the movie was released only 8 years ago. We may be living through the West’s Golden Twilight of free-thinking, free-speech, free association and, essentially, the free development of the personality as the core value of the democratic experiment.
Some have concluded that the experiment was a failure (and they may be right, but for the wrong reasons).
Mr. Obama (Mr. Hague in the UK) has uttered consoling words about how the exposures of Julian Assange, Bradley Manning or Ed Snowden (amongst others lesser known) have not injured or harmed the national security or state apparatus. The New Colossus of the techno-corporate state, and the “secret government”, appear to be impervious to public exposure, it would appear. Consequently also, impervious to amendment by the democratic will too.. It is the voice of the New Colossus secure and confident of its position regardless of exposure, backlash, or the public will.
But if they were nothing to the New Colossus but mosquito bites, the ferocity with which the state has gone after these mosquitoes, and the shameful temerity with which other states have followed along or acquiesced in the persecution and prosecution of them, seems to belie the soothing rhetoric. It seems disproportionate. Obama, as noted earlier, begins to look like the usurper Prince John, John Kerry like the loyal Sheriff of Nottingham, the compliant states like their fawning and obsequious lick-spittles and boot-lickers, and the whistleblowers now, correspondingly, look like Robin Hood and his band of green. If not injurious, then why the disproportion and dissonance between the rhetoric and the action?
The State, it appears, must not come to be seen as being no longer an outgrowth of the popular will, with its legitimate roots in the soil of the demos, and as such as being no longer ‘representative’ of the public sovereign. The New Colossus, and not the nation, is the sovereign. But this must not be admitted or allowed to be perceived. The democratic myth that the State and Nation are one, that the State is the express will of the Nation, must be maintained, even if the truth is that the State, as “embodied Reason”, has become a giant “Ego” and the Nation a massive “It” in relation to this Ego. The State has become all Subject, the Nation all Object. The State has become uprooted, and the fiction of the unity of State and Nation cannot be maintained.
“State security” and “national security” cannot pretend to be one and the same. That is the essence of the shock that is still being digested by the media and the public, even if they haven’t articulated it as yet, and are still searching for its real meaning. Obama is telling the truth, therefore, when he says that the “national security” has not been injured or harmed by the whistleblowers. But the “state security” has been injured. It has been exposed that state security and national security are not the same. And the New Colossus will not be mocked. Whistleblowers are mockers and the often tragic trickster figures of legend and myth. The discrepancy and dissonance between Obama’s words and his actions corresponds to the discrepancy and dissonance that now exists between the meanings of “state security” and “national security”.
“As above, so below”. I hope I am understood. The State, as “castle in the air”, no longer rooted in the popular will, which treats the popular will or “nation” as its own contradiction, but was long conceived in the Modern Era as “embodied Reason” or principle of rationality itself, corresponds to the ego consciousness which has lost its roots. “You create the reality you know”, and reality is an honest reflection. But the divorce between State and Nation must not be permitted to be seen or understood, and that’s the problem the whistleblower presents to the state.
From Ellsberg onwards — the whistleblower is the actual symbol of “national security” and represents it. The contest between Obama and Snowden, which seems so personal but is not — it is archetypal — is the discrepancy between “state security” and “national security”, and the drama proves the point that State and Nation no longer coincide.
Too many foolish pundits, however, confuse the two as being the same, and they use the term “national security” when they really mean “state security” because they merely assume state and nation to have identical interests. And from this confusion, fascism is created.
Dumb, foolish, ignorant pundits.