CONTELPRO is the perfect example of why saying "I have nothing to fear from the police because I have nothing to hide" is foolish. What if you are an anti-war or civil rights activist?
The book I read recently is titled: "Cointelpro: The FBI's Secret War on Political Freedom" - Nelson Blackstock. Would love recommendations for more recent books, since this one was released in the 80s.
Presumably, people who say "I have nothing to fear from the police because I have nothing to hide" are neither of those.
The funny thing is that in this case and another nsl case, the FBI later dropped the request, making it difficult to sue.
This is a very frustrating aspect of our legal system - there's often not a good way to get a "sure, you stopped, but you shouldn't have done that in the first place, and you'll be in serious trouble if you try it again" sort or ruling.
If they were held to the same standards as even the average middle class misconduct it would be a non-issue because everyone responsible would be in jail.
The harsh truth in spite of any claimed lofty ideals power is all that matters for rights in practice. Long have people gotten into far more legal trouble for punching an obnoxious drunk than beating their kids. We can and should fight relentlessly and mercilessly against this.
I don’t mean this to sound dismissive at all. It is seriously an incredibly difficult moral and philosophical question as I see it.
Burning yourself out with constant (justified) rage obviously seems foolish: you’re not likely to accomplish anything except frittering away your life and youth and ending up bitter with nothing to show for it.
Meanwhile, it genuinely does not seem possible to make any incremental improvement to the world in terms of corruption and abuse of power without being pedantically hypervigilant and extreme to an alienating degree that rejects many comforts of basic life and ignores things like career or family development in favor of nearly constant activism.
The problems are so sprawling and complex that average, even above average, people have no hope at all of sustaining justified outrage and channeling it into productive action. So naturally it’s much easier for most people to slide into narrowly focusing on their own life / family / career / hobbies / community, and rationalizing away any feeling that they might have had an intrinsic moral duty to engage sustained, unyielding outrage even at their own expense until massive scale changes are effected or they literally die trying to bring about such changes.
I’m neither excusing anyone nor judging anyone in this observation. Just pointing out what feels like a deep, philosphically intractable trade-off at the heart of it.
But the pitfall you need to keep aware of is the cognitive dissonance that causes people to flip and start supporting the system. When "pulling back", it is important to not end up being taken in by simplistic messages that actually transmute you into an enabler. For example each political party preaches their own flavor of legitimate criticism to gather support, but then directs that energy at the easy target of the "other" team instead of ever addressing deep seated corruption.
The reflex action to this form of gilded age will be significant and hopefully peaceful.
But yeah, what you said. "This, times a million," as my dear heart would say to me.
Pretty sure not much changed.