Big Mickey is Watching

In today’s DC Examiner, columnist Melanie Scarborough discusses the implications of a disturbing exchange she witnessed recently.

While shopping the other day, I was vaguely aware of two little girls playing nearby. They prattled happily until one of them evidently did something her playmate considered unseemly, and I heard a tiny voice warn, “You better stop doing that. The police are watching.”

Although I wasn’t looking at them, I could deduce that the other child was baffled, because her friend went on to explain that “they have cameras everywhere. They can see everything you do.”

One needn’t be a hardcore libertarian to be disturbed by the prospect of future generations growing up with the expectation of constant official surveillance. Bad policies come and go, but they’re unlikely to ever go if people accept them as normal.

And it’s not just government that’s to blame. The column reminded me of a similar reaction I had a few years ago, on a family vacation visit to Disney World, in Florida. That was the first time I saw that visitors were required to not only register their day passes, but to scan fingerprints, from their index and middle fingers, to enter the park.

A corporate behemoth like Disney engaging in this kind of intrusive security overkill is ultimately corrosive of the culture of liberty — a pillar of which is the presumption that you have the right to mind your business without undue outside intrusion.

Yes, Disney is a private company, and it has the right to require whatever customers are willing to tolerate to enter its parks — but they don’t have to do this, and I don’t have to like it.