What Once Seemed Paranoid Now Seems Less So In Brave New Microchip World
By Michael H. Brown
For years we've heard the prophecies. We've heard the concerns. It sounded like science fiction -- with a dose, perhaps, of paranoia.
There was a "new world order" coming, we were told. One day, there would be a world government. Agencies operating in their own interests would seek control. They would want to have a fix on every person. They would want to monitor us. They would poise themselves to strip away our freedoms -- including, perhaps, the freedom to worship. They would create a governmental superstructure that worshipped not God but Man. They would leave the door open for an "antichrist" or at least a "personage of evil."
If once it sounded delusional -- like overheated Huxley -- it does no longer. Brave new world indeed: since September 11, Europe and the United States have been rapidly moving toward centralized power. There is now a common currency in Europe and just last week France and Britain joined forces to demand the creation of a powerful new president of the European Council who the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, believes will become the public face and driving force of Europe, reports the Financial Times. This seemed in line with prophecies that have seen the rise of a great European "monarch" and comes on the heels of the Gulf War -- during which former President Bush gave the world a taste of unification, rallying a military coalition of 34 countries and openly using the term "new world order."
That was followed by a tremendous expansion of NATO (to the point where even former Soviet satellites belong to the alliance) as well as rapid development of the United Nations -- which now has 189 member countries, sends its own troops to foreign hotspots, is attempting to unify nations (and even religions) under the banner of environmentalism, may propose an international tax, and even wants to establish a world criminal court.
Further into this mix are thrown multi-national conglomerates, international banks, and trade agreements that have infringed on national sovereignty.
This hardly means that "one world government" is a reality. Far from it. We see the West increasingly facing off against Korea and China (which are anything but ready to join America and Europe in an alliance), and then there are India, Pakistan, and the Arab states.
But the way is being made for superstates, and after a series of battles between such superstates, a single world force could emerge that would be substantially more powerful than the U.S. and might seek more control over individuals than we have ever seen in the West.
This is where technology comes into the picture. Microchips that would allow radio-linked computers to track individuals have actually been implanted in the first Americans (albeit voluntarily, and ostensibly for health reasons), and while it seems like a beneficial practice (as many such things do at first), "the chips could also be used to contain personal information and even a global positioning device which could track a person's whereabouts, leading to fears the chip could be used for more sinister purposes."
That quote is not from a tabloid, or some far-out prophecy; it's from the British Broadcasting Corporation. "Each chip contains a unique number and emits a radio frequency signal that transmits a brief medical message -- for example a possible allergy or medical problem -- and the unique number," says the network. "Using a handheld device, medical personnel can then feed the number into a web-based database that is maintained by ABS and contains more detailed information about any possible problems the implanted patient may have."
Two other companies have announced plans for satellite-and-internet-linked devices that could track children or parolees or whomever.
This has been accompanied by the 9/11 factor: since destruction of the World Trade Center, governments have begun an aggressive search for ways to keep track of people within national boundaries. Such is certainly understandable in the wake of terrorism -- to an extent, even desirable -- but we wonder how far it will go, and how much it will dehumanize. There is a move for national license plates that would bear a microchip; for use of devices that would be able to identify people at airports by scanning the irises of their eyes; for technology that can decipher thousands of faces, singling out specific people based on facial characteristics; for cameras on highways (together with the new "e-z" pass technologies at tolls); for using fingerprints instead of passwords; and for "smart cards." In addition, law-enforcement agencies are reverting to means that sometimes go outside the law, and in Arizona they are proposing broad new powers for the governor.
All this opens the door for too much governmental control and is deeply troubling when viewed in line with the coalescing of world powers.
What once seemed paranoiac begins to seem less so.
Yes, it's true; some go too far; it can get paranoiac.
But there is something strange afoot; it is forming quicker than many anticipated; and we must always remember that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
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