The Rise of the Surveillance State

Tom G. Palmer,

Release Date
April 28, 2021


Free Markets and Capitalism Government

We asked Tom Palmer about his take on new anti-liberty regimes.

Tom G. Palmer is the author of Why Liberty: Your Life, Your Choices, Your Future. He is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, and Vice President for International Programs at the Atlas Network.

Tom Palmer: I would say that the liberty movement is better equipped, better prepared, and better connected than at any time in human history. So I’m very optimistic about that. At the same time, we see threats on the horizon we didn’t see in the past. The reemergence of forms of collectivism that we thought were dead in 1945, national socialism, of fascism, and various guises reemerging around the world, and then the emergence of several states that are actively hostile to libertarian or classical liberal ideas. Certainly the Kremlin, certainly in Beijing, and you could list some others as well that are combating libertarianism and they see our views as the enemy. And any kind of illiberalism, left-wing, right-wing, they don’t care, is preferable to freedom. So that’s something we haven’t seen since the end of the Cold War. They’ve just begun to emerge now in a very strong way. And finally a threat that I don’t think we’ve really come to grips with yet of a new kind of totalitarian state that makes the ideas of George Orwell seem modest and humble. The total surveillance state that is being pioneered in Beijing led by the communist party leadership, has complete surveillance of everything. Your electronic life, your physical life in the world, where you go, facial recognition technology, artificial intelligence, cameras everywhere that can recognize not just your face, but how you walk, and then the social credit system, which will create a reign of micro incentives, negative and positive, to mold the population, to be subservient, to be obedient slaves of the state. I think this is really quite scary, and we need to be prepared to respond to that, and to defend liberty against the new kind of enemy that is using technologies that were undreamt of even 25 or 30 years ago. #Surveillance #StudentsForLiberty #TomPalmer