Dec 13, 2010
Dawn of a Surveillance Society
I am very alarmed by a trend I see taking place in America. Hardly a day goes by when I don't read of some new plan by the government to take greater control of our lives.
A few weeks back, I reported on the Transportation Security Administration's new rules that require the flying public to either pass through body-scanning machines that show a naked image of themselves to a TSA agent or endure a physical pat-down that would qualify as sexual groping. I must live in a nation of exhibitionists, because it appears that people are willing to tolerate this massive invasion of personal privacy.
Thomas Jefferson is credited for coining the motto, "The best government is that which governs least." He said this because he knew what would happen if there were no check of the power of government: Instead of the government being here to serve us, we would be here to serve it.
Here are just a few examples of the power grabs that have made headlines just this year:
Starting in 2011, all U.S. payment providers will be required by the IRS to file a report on all merchants who receive over $20,000 in gross sales volume and two hundred payments or more.
The branch of government that has me the most concerned is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It was created as a direct result of the 9/11 attacks. Rather than focusing on protecting our borders, this agency has developed a severe case of mission creep.
The FBI is now tracking credit card transactions of individuals under investigation; these subpoenas are known as “HotWatch” orders. The FBI claims to have the authority to do this, but is not backing up the claims with any act of Congress or any ruling by the courts.
Coin dealers are required to track and report all purchases of gold and silver that exceed $600 during a calendar year.
Anyone with $10,000 in assets in a foreign country is required to let the government know of those holdings.
The Feds have seized dozens of Internet domain names. The websites were nabbed for enabling copyright infringement or selling counterfeits of trademarked goods. The troubling part is that government agencies are now able to confiscate domains without warning.
Democratic FCC Commissioner Michael Copps proposed that the government create new regulations to promote diversity in news programming. In a speech, he suggested that broadcasters be subject to a new "public values test" every four years.
I found it spooky to read that the DHS head, Janet Napolitano, is hooking up with Wal-Mart. She is bringing the agency's "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign to hundreds of Wal-Mart stores across the country. In a video message, the secretary asks Wal-Mart shoppers to contact local law enforcement if they see suspicious activity. What we have here is the genesis of what has been the bedrock of most communist governments–neighbor spying on neighbor.
The DHS seems to be following the same path that led to the rise of Adolf Hitler's SS. The original purpose of the SS was to act solely as Hitler's personal bodyguards. From its small beginnings, this outfit grew into a monstrosity. By the end of World War II, the SS had over a million members, and it was responsible for three-fourths of the war crimes committed by the Nazis.
I'm wondering where all the Christian conspiracy folks who were in such great abundance in the 1980s and 1990s are now. These encroachments on our freedom should be their bread and butter. I went to look at the site of a gentleman who was very active a decade ago in warning against Big Brother, and to my surprise, I found his domain to be in a state of neglect. The watchmen seem to have abandoned their post, so the devil is allowed to operate freely.
I'm still mystified over how all these new rules can flourish without a major crisis as a catalyst. As this stuff is going on, I’m asking myself, "Didn’t the Republicans just win back the House?" It chills me to think what would happen if we suffered a major economic collapse--an event that could occur at any moment.
We know from Bible prophecy that much of the world will come under dictatorial rule. It is my prayer that the U.S. be the last to see freedom overrun. Unless we as Christians are willing to stand against the tide of government intrusion, we will find ourselves living in a nation we don't recognize.
Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 4
America is on the precipice of economic implosion, according to Glenn Beck and others. A sudden, catastrophic transformation will jolt us one morning upon awakening to the fact that the way of life we’ve known is gone. The Fox News show host pronounces the nation’s doom if his prescription for cure isn’t followed.
If the cure is not taken, George Soros and his ilk, the New World Order titans, will march America’s citizenry into global gulag–on the broad way back to Babel. There, all of mankind will, like John Lennon once sang, “Be as one.”
Beck’s biblical allusions flow soothingly, once the dire diagnosis and prognosis for America’s socioeconomic illness are firmly grasped by his audience. And, a growing number of people seem mesmerized by the host’s descriptions, illustrations, and analyses.
The Lord God knew that being “as one” was a humanistic recipe for disaster, Beck pontificates. The Almighty rushed to the plains of Shinar–as recorded in Genesis chapter 11--to spread humankind throughout all parts of the planet to avoid exactly what Soros and his buddies are again planning to foist upon earth dwellers. After laying out instructions and suggestions about how to survive some harsh, even terrifying, interim times just ahead by storing foods with long shelf lives and making other prudent preparations against the devastation the dollar's demise will assuredly bring, Beck shifts to spiritual counsel. He leads into this phase with his words at the rally, as mentioned earlier: "Something that is beyond man is happening. America today begins to turn back to God. For too long, this country has wandered in darkness."
Almost tearful with emotion in his voice, Beck pleads for Americans to go to our knees and pray for the nation’s salvation. Then, with a great inhalation of patriotic resolve like that of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and other of America’s founders, Beck, with Patton-like motivational rhetoric and steel in his voice, fortifies his troops for the battles ahead.
America will triumph through all the assaults against the republic, he declares with vigor, “because we are Americans.” Americans always do whatever it takes to overcome evil.
Glenn Beck exhorts Americans to invoke God’s name and help in the "take-back America" campaign. Good–so far as it goes.
With his next declaration, the Fox host frames his proclamation about the cure he envisions. He declares that the American people–those like the patriots in his audience--will do the necessary sacrificing and make the political and economic changes essential to set the U.S. ship of state back on course to a sound moral and socioeconomic mooring.
America will survive the great crash that is coming and, he implies, it will again become the greatest nation–although perhaps smaller, he adds--because of the goodness intrinsic within the American people. We are, he says, about to “witness miracles.”
And, this is the point where emotionally hyped fervor and patriotic resolve—no matter how sincere—depart from truth that resides within the heart of God’s prophetic Word. No matter how well constructed or intensive the efforts to implement it, Beck’s blueprint–or any humanistic blueprint—for saving the republic is doomed to failure.
To this point, Hal Lindsey’s view of Bible prophecy and Glenn Beck’s analyses and forecast for America’s destiny have run relatively parallel. Both Lindsey and Beck see a time coming in the near term when America will suffer financial collapse. It will be, they each predict, a time of national and worldwide societal darkness worse than the bleakest years of the Great Depression. Based upon the staggering debt of the U.S. and of most every other major nation on earth, theirs is the only conclusion that can reasonably be reached using informed rationale.
Lindsey and Beck also envision a singular moment when America and the world will change forever. It will be an instant so calamitous that it will, in effect, eventuate in a totally transformed global order for every facet of human interaction.
This, however, is where similarities in their view of the future end. Now the views diverge as dramatically as the difference between the eternal places called heaven and hell.
As I wrote in the beginning of "Scanning a Fearful Future," Glenn Beck hasn’t overtly interjected his Mormon beliefs into his foreboding predictions. Therefore, I won’t address his pronouncements in regard to his religious beliefs–that is, except to again point out that the Mormon view of the end of human history differs greatly from what the Bible says about the consummation of all things encapsulated by this thing God created for man called time.
I feel justified in mentioning this because Beck himself more and more brings the name “God” and the need for the exercise of “faith” into his presentations. However, his consistently stated viewpoint makes it obvious that he believes the fate of us all will play out in an all-earthly scenario, with America winning the day, if we all follow his prescription for dealing with the coming calamity.
Hal Lindsey, like me and those who believe that Bible prophecy clearly speaks of what conditions will be like at the very end of the age, also sees America and the world headed into an economic morass. Unlike Glenn Beck, however, we are of the conviction that if indeed we are at the end of this dispensation–the Age of Grace (Church Age) as we believe is the case--this nation is beyond anything human intervention can do to save it.
Next time we will look at what I’m convinced is God’s view of things to come in the very near future.