by Jeff Opdyke, Editor of "The Sovereign Individual" newsletter:
“Yeah, but there’s no place like America,” said my 91-year-old grandmother, who stopped by my office earlier this week to visit. She was commenting on my recent Asia trip and how much time I spend away from home.
“I can understand why you’d say that at your age; you still remember when America was a great place,” I replied. “But I don’t think I agree with you, now. This place isn’t what it was even when I was a kid. When you’re away, and you come back, you really see how the country’s changing for the worse.”
“What do you mean?”
Let me tell you what I told my grandmother… I told her that George Orwell was right. He was just 30 years premature.
Some of you are probably rolling your eyes at this point. You might feel compelled to close out of this email and go on to something else. But don’t… not yet. Give me a couple of minutes to make my case that America is moving toward Orwell’s vision faster than you can imagine. That’s bad news for the liberties we once thought were sacred. And it means you need to give some thought to your next move if life in the U.S. degrades beyond your comfort zone.
On the Path Toward a Seemingly Benevolent Police State
This is not a story about America becoming a totalitarian state, at least not in the dystopian sense that Orwell portrays in 1984. This is the story of Big Brother and government’s increasing disregard of our personal liberties.
Congress and various presidents over the last few decades have tossed our liberties onto the bonfire of history, sacrificing what we know as “The American Way” in order to usurp ever-more power for the state – often with very little effort involved.
Many still – and rightfully – rail against the wildly misnamed Patriot Act that sprung like a Trojan Horse from the 9/11 attacks, and that now makes you walk shoeless through airport screeners that digitally molest you.
But, a decade later, we’ve moved way past TSA screeners. We are, quite literally, on the path to a unique version of an American police state. It won’t be the outwardly malevolent state Orwell envisioned. It will instead act like, and appear to be, the same benevolent democracy – only more secure – that we’ve always associated with “America.”
But looks, as always, are deceiving.
Consider just three recent news items that I collected in the past week or so:
#1. The Drug-Sniffing Laser
And you thought the beagle sniffing out your illegally imported Spanish ham at the airport was annoying. Well, now comes a laser system that can detect drugs or gunpowder from more than 160 feet away. It can also detect your adrenaline level.
And here’s the best part… it can detect whatever it seeks at microscopic levels, but more on that in a moment.
The Department of Homeland Security is looking to deploy these scanners at airports to increase protection. The glass-half-full analysis is that we could reach a point where there’s no longer a need for security lines at airports. A bank of lasers scanning every inch of the interior, as well as the outside entrances, would detect problematic substances in real time.
But there is a darker flipside to consider… behavior control across every strata of society.
Government could blanket the landscape with lasers. The lasers could easily be engineered into street lamps, traffic lights, electronic billboards, surveillance cameras – anywhere, really. Uncle Sam would know instantly what substances you’ve been around. If anything illegal or harmful were detected, police would be alerted immediately to your location… and would be given a photo of what you look like.
Think about this, though: What if it’s not you that left trace amounts of cocaine on the dollar bill you pull from your wallet? What if it’s not you that left the shotgun-shell residue on the handrail you grabbed while climbing the stairs? How do you prove your innocence if the government finds these particles on your body?
Think it’s preposterous? Share that with Keith Brown, a Briton who was traveling through Dubai when laser scanners detected marijuana… weighing less than a grain of sugar… stuck to the bottom of his shoe. Google it. Mr. Brown was sentenced to four years in prison, though he was later released early.
Never assume that can’t happen in America.
# 2. Dusting for Footprints
Turns out your footprint – and the way you walk – is as unique as your fingerprint. And a new technology known as “biometric insoles” will keep track of where you’re going.
The insoles are reportedly 99% accurate. They’ll make their debut in a few government and corporate facilities that require security clearance, since the insoles are less time-consuming than retina scans. Within three steps they can determine that you are, indeed, you – even if your stride or footfalls change because you’re tired or moving quicker than normal.
But play out the logical conclusion and you end up in a world where the technology could be applied to the surfaces we walk on. Government, at some point, could mandate a walking test to obtain a driver’s license or Social Security card. It would have on file, and programmed into every biometric surface, the digital pattern of every American.
Go to the bank and then the gold store, and the government knows what time you were at each location. While the technology would do wonders in helping mitigate criminal activity and solve the crimes that do happen… it would also mean Big Brother knows, literally, every step you take.
#3. Smile! You’re on Drone Camera
Already, the FAA has issued certificates for more than 60 local, state and federal organizations to fly drones across America. Some are for research, like those deployed by universities in Texas, Alaska and elsewhere.
Others are flying under the banner of various policing organizations from the Department of Homeland Security to the FBI to police and sheriff’s departments in Miami, Houston and Seattle, among others. And you can bet those departments aren’t using their drones for benevolent flyovers at local parades. Indeed, some police departments have proposed arming their drones with tear gas and rubber bullets.
These are not big, bulky drones like you see on the nightly news guiding missiles into the barracks of terrorists hiding in Afghanistan. We’re talking drones the size of a model airplane, weighing just a few pounds and outfitted with tiny, high-resolution cameras… used for surveillance... of Americans.
Government predicts that by the end of the decade, 30,000 drones will be patrolling American skies like a swarm of nettlesome gnats – one drone for every 126 square miles, an area about four times the size of Manhattan, easily surveyed in a day by a single drone.
So much for “probable cause” and our Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure.
Police will have a video record of what happens on the ground. Your privacy will be sacrificed for, in theory, the greater good of society and the need to control crime and domestic terrorism.
“You Might Have a Point”
There’s not a week that goes by that stories like these don’t hit the news. Whether it’s Obama signing an order earlier this month giving government sweeping control over the Internet during a loosely defined “emergency” (think: no access to online banking if government wants to limit cash access)… or whether it’s the expansion of facial-recognition software (just as destructive to liberty as biometric insoles and drug-sniffing lasers)… the stories are piling high that indicate the Orwellian future is upon us.
But don’t fear… you have options. That’s why so much of my money is in local bank and brokerage accounts overseas. Non-dollar currency exposure has been one of my big motivations for years, and I sleep well knowing a meaningful portion of my cash is outside the U.S. financial network.
When a government is moving in the direction America’s is, sadly, moving, you can’t have all your money exposed to one economy and one monetary system. That’s a liability and a risk to your lifestyle and your personal sovereignty.
Even a benevolent police state can impose restrictions on your U.S.-based money one day that impact your ability to live free.
“You might have a point,” my grandmother told me.
Until next time, stay Sovereign…
P.S. From drones to drug-sniffing lasers, the threats to our liberties keep growing. Recently, I’ve been tracking another trend being quietly pushed through our government: the secret destruction of paper currency. These changes could put all financial transactions under the watch of government monitors and could change the way you pay your bills, shop for groceries and even tip your waitress. To take a look at my special report on the “Death of Cash,” click here [http://www.sovereignsociety.com/pages/svs/digital_currency_video1.php?pub=DIGICURR&code=ESVSN706].