Naomi Wolf noted author and activist, spoke as a part of the Trinity University Maverick Lecture Series on Nov. 19. She presented a lecture entitled â€œPublic Liberty, Private Liberty: When the State Tries to Get into Your Private Business.â€
Wolf is the noted author of â€œThe Beauty Mythâ€, â€œGive Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionariesâ€, and many other books. Her lecture revolved around the topics she covered in her books, including the future of America and its increasing restrictions on civil rights and liberties. Wolf spoke about America slowly turning into a closed society.
â€œIt is so important to remember that there are civil societies like Spain and more recently like Britain who have experienced terrible ongoing terrorist attacks decade after decade. They donâ€™t respond by giving away their civil liberties and they donâ€™t say â€˜Lets close down the reason we are Britain, the reason we are Spain.â€™ In fact, they amplify their transparency,â€ Wolf said.
Wolf started off her lecture stating that governments slowly begin to close society off by taking away civil rights and liberties via heightening security threats. According to Wolf, governments will use threats like these to justify legislation, that restricts personal freedoms.
â€œThe easy thing about freedom is that you donâ€™t feel it – Â you have it. Itâ€™s when you start to lose it. Itâ€™s when people have to become aware of what it feels like to be free,â€ Wolf said.
Wolfâ€™s allegations about the U.S. government slowly becoming a surveillance state have been controversial.
â€œI do not think anything was too controversial. There were obviously some things that I was taken aback on and really didnâ€™t know what to think about it,â€ said Nikita Viswasam, a junior.
Throughout the lecture Wolf spoke about the importance of the Constitution and how legislation like the Patriot Act is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
â€œOur founders had such a beautiful, perfect vision. What our founders created is constitutional rights. They are not perfect, the document is not perfect, but the seed of the vision they had is perfect because it grows and grows,â€ Wolf said.
Wolf went on further to state that the militarization of the domestic police force is another step toward a closed society.
â€œMore and more you are getting the militarization of police forces. These millions and millions of dollars of the department of homeland security money is coming like tanks into domestic police forces,â€ Wolf said.
Towards the end of Wolfâ€™s presentation she spoke about the imminent and current danger of the growing presence of surveillance in the U.S. with the NSA.
â€œThe reason why people in closed societies love surveillance is that it gives them a tool for blackmail and do not think this is not happening in the United States of America,â€ Wolf said.
â€œTo know that the thing that I normally didnâ€™t think about could be thinking about me all the time is quite strange,â€ said Eloise Warren, a sophomore.
According to Wolf, the NSA spying programs have extreme political ramifications.
â€œThe first people who get surveilled with the surveillance apparatus is the congress people and leaders,â€ Wolf said.
â€œEverybodyâ€™s secrets are now in the hands of the NSA on the hill,â€ Wolf said.
The fear of losing basic rights and liberties encompassed the conclusion of Wolfâ€™s speech.
â€œThe scariest thing is losing your freedom, the government becoming your stalker, your survileire, your master, taking away your right to your lawyer, taking away your right to your privacy, taking away your right to the constitution. That is scarier than any terrorist,â€ Wolf said.
Viswasam Â states that the lecture was very informative and eye-opening.
â€œI felt after the lecture that I had a better sense of the importance of the issue and the urgency of the issue regarding surveillance,â€ Viswasam said.