10 Ways Our Civil Liberties Might Be Changing

Jess_albano (cc)

What will freedom in the U.S. look like in the coming century? A new article in World Future Review offers ten plausible scenarios, leaving the reader to consider what the future might hold. From technocratic regimentation (“Surveillance is total and absolute, 24/7, every inch, every second”) to a new progressive ideal (“Unlike their revolutionary precursors of the 1960s, who addressed sweeping global and national issues, the new activists address the most immediate conditions of their lives”), these ten futurist scenarios all echo the changes that our civil liberties are undergoing in real time:

WFR_72ppiRGB_150pixWSince the attacks of 9/11, the United States has curtailed traditional civil liberties. The expansion of surveillance, the use of torture as policy by the U.S. government and military, and the potential suspension of habeas corpus by the Patriot Act and posse comitatus strike at the most fundamental assurances of civil liberties. Many Americans are distressed by these developments and their responses, from survivalist-oriented off-the-grid “doomsday preppers” to angry militias, to individual expressions of concern expressed on a host of websites and political movements, demonstrate that the public feels deeply how vital civil liberties are to our future.

The manipulation of power today, as always, represents one major challenge to the future of civil liberties. But another factor may pose an even greater threat: the inexorable transformation of society in response to global trends that are largely beyond the power of anyone to manipulate. Chief among these are environmental degradation, population growth, intensive worldwide militarization, and the saturation of everyday life with technologies that facilitate surveillance and social control (the focus of several of these ten scenarios). Underlying all of them, of course, lie the mystery of human nature itself.

Continue reading “Ten Scenarios for the Future of Civil Liberties along the Road to the Twenty-Second Century,” published by Dr. Barton Kunstler in the World Future Review June 2013 issue. Like what you’re reading? Browse the current issue here, and sign up for e-alerts to be notified about new futurist research published online before it is in print.

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