Nobody cares about you.
I mean this in the worldly sense, that strangers are spending their time following you and wondering about you and seeking to control you. They don’t care. Really.
There are ways to make them care, of course—social media has given us all kinds of ways of turning strangers into people who care at least half a fig about you—but as a general matter, if you’re an American and you go about living your life and not otherwise flinging your words and pictures into cyberspace, nobody who doesn’t already know you is going to care.
It is a healthy indifference.
Now, there is the little matter of the national-security apparatus blindly scooping up every stray electronic bit, and, more pointedly, there are clearly some individuals and groups, designated as threats and treated as criminals-/terrorist-in-waiting who are right to worry about political surveillance.
But the rest of us? No.
This ought to be a relief—how awful to have to carry the interest of millions!—but some folks seems determined to believe that They Are Out To Get Us. This sentiment is currently most strongly expressed on the right side of the spectrum, especially amongst Christians opposed to the incorporation of gay rights into our political culture and Constitutional understandings, but I’d guess the fear of incipient repression could be found among any group which sees its superior status threatened.
To be merely equal is to be oppressed.
Unsurprisingly, this sentiment is oft paired with the conviction of The End Is Near, Boy, Just You Wait. Changes in the culture are not just changes in the culture, but harbingers of the apocalypse. Thus, the only responsible response is to run away before one is dragged off or everything falls away—either of which one just might secretly hope for if only to be proven right.
People like to be right—that famous xkcd cartoon wouldn’t be reproduced so often if it didn’t hit a nerve in so many of us—and we like to be seen to be right. We like to be seen, and we like to be right.
Which is why the idea that nobody is looking for us, and nobody cares if we’re right, is so hard to take—so much so that some would rather believe themselves targets of a police state or living at the end of everything. At least then they know they matter.
I went through my own personal disillusionment a decade or so ago, and while at first it was devastating—pathological neuroses are a remarkably sturdy structure on which to build a disordered life—it was a crucial part of what ultimately allowed me to live in this world. I had to shrug off my anti-hero status in order to have any chance at living as a human being.
I don’t want to be too hard on those who see danger everywhere—I know the pleasures of that kind of sight, and, yes, there are times when one is treated unjustly—but pity does them no favors. If they want to run away from us, they have that right, but they should know we won’t be running after them.
They can Go Galt or take the Benedict Option or flee under whatever other rubric of withdrawal they choose, and the rest of us won’t care.
We’ll just keep living our lives, and trying to care for those who remain in our lives.