If you suspect your neighbors are cooking up meth or fertilizer bombs in their basement — or maybe you just want those damn kids to get off your lawn — “help” from the government is as close as your iPhone:
The PatriotApp links your phone to American security and law enforcement agencies via the Internet and allows you to report anything you want at the touch of a button.
By simply pressing the relevant icon, users can sound the alarm for terrorism, ‘suspicious activity’, a health pandemic or an environmental safety issue.
The $0.99 app, named after the controversial Patriot Act brought in by the U.S. government after 9/11, is designed to ‘encourage active citizen participation in the War on Terror and in protecting their families and surrounding communities’, its makers Citizen Concepts claim.
Not a lot of imagination is needed to come up with all sorts of scenarios for abuse of this app, although creator Charles Reinighaus “truly believes that 99.9 percent of people are good and will not misuse the technology”.
It is truly a wondrous society we live in, that the state need not lift a finger to create a surveillance network, when its own citizens will happily provide one. Even the Soviets and East Germans weren’t so lucky.
Zack Snyder, director of 300 and Watchmen, has a new film project coming out in 2011 that may be of interest to genre-loving libertarians: the upcoming movie Sucker Punch. It may not have an overtly libertarian theme or plot, but it does appear to center around an issue that is relevant to libertarians, particularly women and libertarians interested in the time period in the US in which this film is set, the 1950s.
The premise and setting of Sucker Punch remind me of Angelina Jolie’s film Changeling, directed by Clint Eastwood, written by J. Michael Straczynski of Babylon 5 fame, and set in 1928. Both films depict periods in the United States in which it was all too easy to commit someone, particularly a woman, to a mental institution against her will. In Changeling, Jolie’s character is involuntarily committed to the local hospital’s psychopathic ward by a corrupt cop for political/job preservation reasons. In Sucker Punch, the main character, Baby-Doll (what’s with the name?), is involuntarily committed to a mental institution and scheduled for a barbaric lobotomy. I suppose we’ll have to wait to find out why and by whom she was committed.
So, in Sucker Punch, as in Changeling, it appears we will be presented with a story illustrating (wrongful) involuntary commitment, the unequal status of women in recent US history, a struggle for freedom and to maintain one’s sanity in an oppressive medical institution where the authorities insist you are insane. Unlike Changeling, which was a historical film, Sucker Punch will be an action fantasy.