categories: Cocktail Hour
Not too worried about drones? Maybe you should be.
Here’s my cartoon:
And for more on the danger of drones in the woods, here’s my latest blog post at OnEarth…
The orginal draft of this was a lot meaner and potentially more paranoid. It included this quote from Ed Abbey:
“Democracy has always been a rare and fragile institution in human history …. As social conflict tends to become more severe in this country … there will inevitably be a tendency on the part of the authoritarian element — always present in our history — to suppress individual freedoms, to utilize the refined techniques of police surveillance (not excluding torture of course) in order to preserve — not wilderness! — but the status quo, the privileged positions of those who so largely control the economic and governmental institutions of the United States.”
Abbey composed those sentences in the 1970s. When I first came across them a couple of decades later, I probably rolled my eyes — maybe even laughed a little at what must have sounded to me, at the time, like paranoia. And it’s true: the warning does have a distinctly Unabomber-ish whiff to it. By all rights, Abbey’s language should seem even more cringe-worthy now: we have all been well trained, in the years since, to regard with reflexive suspicion anyone who starts muttering about “the government” while simultaneously declaring that they want to be left alone. But here’s the odd, and discomfiting, thing. When I re-read these words today, I don’t roll my eyes or laugh. Here, at the beginning of the Drone Age, they no longer sound quite as farfetched to me.