150 million Americans made their voice heard on November 4th in a stunningly close and contentious election. But the election is only the roiling surface of the vast depths of the fight for the American Dream, that “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of circumstances of birth. Any fouling of the American Dream emanates from a rotten slab at its very center — the erosion of the Fourth Amendment and all it protects: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” We’ve come a long way from the days when the fourth was directed at Red Coats beating down front doors of revolutionaries. Modern violations of the fourth amendment are not physical. Not seen. Not touched. But felt. They are felt in the same way an invisible virus corrupts the system rendering it nauseous and sweaty.
Despite its mediocre number, the fourth is the bedrock of American civil liberties. It supports the first amendment above all. How can citizens speak out when their communication is unilaterally surveilled and silenced? You will recall that Orwell’s dystopia locked down the citizenry with surveillance, not prisons. Violations to the fourth amendment have always happened in times of emergency, both apparent and real. They stretch all the way back to Lincoln’s suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus to arrest and detain individuals deemed threats to the military operation. Woodrow Wilson’s Palmer Raids in the midst of the Red Scare is a grievous example but the post 911 Patriot Act is both recent and controversial.
The biggest lie Americans have been told for the last twenty years is that to keep our freedom from outside threats we must give up our freedoms to inside guardians. The shocking and tragic events of September 11th desecrated the Manhattan skyline and lit up the phone banks of Army recruiters. In response, The USA PATRIOT Act, a 346-page document weighing in at over one pound, flew through the Senate 99–1 within 24 hours of its introduction. Much proverbial ink has been spilled dissecting the swath of civil liberties violations embedded in the Patriot Act, in particular: XKeystore, and PRISM giving NSA analysts the power to comb any American’s online search history and active browsing sessions.
But the hyper-focus on government surveillance misses the far more subtle yet pernicious side-effect of the fourth’s fall: a breakdown in governance itself. When public discourse is rendered ineffectual because ideas are promoted according to their viral potential, governance itself falls. With no ability to differentiate between truth and falsehood on the internet, election results have been cast into doubt.
Rudy Guliani tweeted on November 9th that “Real Clear Politics just took PA away from Biden and made it a toss-up.” Tom Bevan, the founder of Real Clear Politics, responded saying: “This is false. We never called Pennsylvania, and nothing has changed.” Still, the Guliani claim spread like wildfire, capturing over 1 million views on Youtube channel The Next News Network and flooding private Facebook accounts.
Prediction market PredictIt still shows bettors placing 15 % odds that Trump will win the election, seven days after votes were cast, and three days after the election was called by most major news outlets.
Biden’s campaign manager, a no-doubt biased source, called out Facebook as a paper-shredder for the truth: “If you thought disinformation on Facebook was a problem during our election, just wait until you see how it is shredding the fabric of our democracy in the days after.”
Correcting disintegrating truth is blockchain’s core feature. In particular, governance processes that are run on the blockchain are trackable, ensuring the democratic process maintains veracity and rescuing the American Dream from continued degradation. We believe strong democratic principles should exist in our governments but also in the IoTeX Network, which is itself a digital democracy and community-owned ecosystem. Our recent announcement to decentralize the governance of IoTeX is an important step to empower everyday people to contribute to an ecosystem that has their best interests in mind. One that empowers them to strive for their own “American dreams” with guaranteed privacy. If you are interested in shaping the future of IoTeX, please join the IoTeX Governance Working Group: