I believe the desire for privacy in one's dealings is a natural inclination. However, in such an exhibitionistic society where people flaunt their dirty laundry and make great show of what in another age would have been called embarrassingly personal, it falls a bit flat for people to decry the invasive aspects of government. For example, grocers and pharmacies now offer lower prices to "club" members who have an id card swiped with each purchase. This provides retailers with great information on demographics and buying trends, and an itemized list of every single thing you ever purchase from them.I wonder how long it will be before medical services are denied by insurance companies based on shared market data of one too many purchases of twinkies, Marlboros or Jack Daniels?
In particular, the issue of privacy of phone conversations is bothersome. Husband is an engineer in the world of telephony, and he once told me that a person should never deem they have absolute privacy when speaking on a phone--any phone. If I've mangled the reference, I'm sure he'll correct me. Maybe I always was aware of a lack of privacy vis-a-vis the phone because my paternal grandparents in Arkansas were on a party line until a mere 15 years ago, or so. It was known that Mrs. Gallagher might be (and probably was) listening in on a great many conversations, and statements thereon were tempered accordingly. Anyway, people are idiotic about phones, anymore. Sitting in traffic on the toll road yesterday, I noticed more than half the cars arrayed before me were piloted by people with their heads tilted toward the cell phone they were talking on. In another age, one of the great things about leaving the house was getting away from the phone. Remember?
Anyway, sitting with my lovely book reading at lunch, some idiot attorney sat at the table next to mine on a conference call discussing confidentiality agreements, (irony!) and how to cheat someone out of a referral fee and generally interrupting my lovely reading. The world has gone mad.
What I chalk all this up to is the fact that people are willing to throw their privacy to the wind if they feel they are getting something out of the exchange. This is a flawed thought process, in my estimation. You either believe in privacy, or you don't, and throwing in all sorts of qualifiers does not relieve you of the burden of hypocrisy. Not that the yearning for privacy is a wrong inclination. On the contrary: the bottom line is it's hypocritical for us to demand something of our government that our actions daily demonstrate we really don't give a shit about.