Friday, January 10, 2014

I like a country where it's nobody's damn business ...

I like a country where it's nobody's damn business what magazines anyone reads, what he thinks, whom he has cocktails with. I like a country where we do not have to stuff the chimney against listening ears and where what we say does not go into the FBI files along with a note from S-17 that I may have another wife in California. I like a country where no college-trained flatfeet collect memoranda about us and ask judicial protection for them, a country where when someone makes statements about us to officials he can be held to account. We had that kind of country only a little while ago and I'm for getting it back. It was a lot less scared than the one we've got now. It slept sound no matter how many people joined communist reading circles and it put common scolds to the ducking stool.
That's Bernard de Voto from "Due Notice to the FBI," in Harper's Magazine, October 1949. Fighting surveillance six and a half decades ago. Swap in contemporary references and it's strikingly fresh.

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