How much America has changed

A recent poll in relation to NSA surveillance noted the following:

One of the most common responses from the 66% of American citizens in favour of the NSA’s data-collection programmes is, “I have nothing to hide, so why should I have anything to fear?” But what if you have nothing to hide but are targeted as a suspect nevertheless?

There was a time when most of America was like this.

In “Democracy in America,” published in 1833, Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at the way Americans preferred voluntary association to government regulation. “The inhabitant of the United States,” he wrote, “has only a defiant and restive regard for social authority and he appeals to it . . . only when he cannot do without it.”

Unlike Frenchmen, he continued, who instinctively looked to the state to provide economic and social order, Americans relied on their own efforts. “In the United States, they associate for the goals of public security, of commerce and industry, of morality and religion. There is nothing the human will despairs of attaining by the free action of the collective power of individuals.”

What especially amazed Tocqueville was the sheer range of nongovernmental organizations Americans formed: “Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations . . . but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; Americans use associations to give fetes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they create hospitals, prisons, schools.”

Tocqueville would not recognize America today. Indeed, so completely has associational life collapsed, and so enormously has the state grown, that he would be forced to conclude that, at some point between 1833 and 2013, France must have conquered the United States.

That is why we see articles like this in liberal publications, because it is so far removed from the norm.

When Margaret LeJeune set out to photograph female hunters, she knew she wanted to avoid stereotypes and show the women as individuals.

“I didn’t want to make sensational photographs of blood and the kill. I’ve seen images like that of women hunters, where they’re field-dressing deer. I didn’t want to repeat things that had already been done,” she said.

So she decided to capture the women at home or at their hunting lodges instead. This, she writes in a description of her series, allows for a more intimate portrait and “questions the relationship between the domestic sphere, traditionally the women’s place, and the hunting world, typically a masculine realm.”

But of course all this depends on your politics.

Strange enough to see a photograph of a Kennedy firing a rifle, one with a telescopic sight no less, as the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination approaches.

Stranger still to learn that the Kennedy firing the rifle, a 14-year-old granddaughter of late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, is killing seal pups in Canada, according a caption for the photo written by her father.

The photo was posted this morning on the Facebook page of Maxwell Kennedy, 48, son of Robert and Ethel Kennedy….

Put another way — here’s a photo of my daughter shooting baby seals.

Imagine the veins-bulging outrage from liberals, animal rights groups and anti-gun activists if the teenage daughter of nearly any prominent conservative was photographed doing the same. Or Sarah Palin for that matter.