Double Secret Probation. Lauren Weinstein explains the concept from the movie Animal House and uses it to help us understand exactly what’s wrong with the US surveillance activities. Let’s start with a fun clip from the movie.
While animal house is laughable, the US surveillance is not. According to Weinstein,
“For it is frequently not the existence of government surveillance per se that is so problematic, it is the deployment of such surveillance without the public being clearly and definitively aware that the surveillance is taking place, rendering us impotent to fulfill our oversight of government that makes all the difference between democracy and tyranny.
Significantly, many of our government leaders have put themselves into the role of Dean Wormer — and placed their entire citizenry on “double secret probation” — not trusting the people to appropriately judge the actual threats or to accede to a level of surveillance activities that can be reasonably justified.”
Something is wrong when comedians see how laughable this situation is, but our elected officials do not.
Thanks to Jonathan Stray for sharing Lauren’s great blog post.