Liberty vs. Security

by | Apr 26, 2018

TAA 0014 – C. Travis Webb and Steven Fullwood talk about the natural tensions that exist between liberty and safety. You cannot maximize both, so what does the current balance between the two in our society say about our priorities and prejudices.
C.T. WEBB 00:17 Good afternoon, good morning, or good evening, whenever you happen to be listening and welcome to The American Age podcast. Today I’m talking to Steven Fullwood. It’s the two of us. Seph is out today. So Steven, how are you doing?
S. FULLWOOD 00:27 I’m doing pretty good. How are you doing, Travis?
C.T. WEBB 00:29 Yeah, pretty good. I’m sure you’re a bit colder over there. So it’s nice and warm here, but I know you guys just had your last nor’easter. Right? It was a few days ago.
S. FULLWOOD 00:38 Just a few days ago. And it snowed last night, but it’s the snow that’s fast-melting, I noticed. And so we’re up to 46 now [laughter]. So all the snow that blanketed us this morning is almost completely gone now. It’s quite beautiful, though.
C.T. WEBB 00:52 Yeah. Oh, I can imagine. So I miss New York. But so today [laughter], last few times we’ve talked about madness in America. And today, I propose to Steven that we talk about liberty versus security. So obviously those are kind of abstract concepts. But by that, essentially, I mean freedom versus protection. So I would suggest that they exist on opposing sides of a spectrum. So you can have– take for example a prison. A maximum security, probably a high degree of safety for the most part, except obviously when prisoners are being neglected or abused by guards, or awful things that obviously happen in prisons.
C.T. WEBB 01:38 And on the other side of it you would have sort of maximum freedom. Where very few restrictions, either through a police force or through a rule of law. And what prompted this was a study that was recently completed on the dramatic decline of violence in the United States. So, I mean, everyone outside of the Trump administration knows that violence has dramatically declined in the United States in urban and suburban areas for the last 30 years. Dramatically. And the study looked at a variety of causes. The primary contributor, the argument goes, was a shift in community policing, a lot of NGOs– non-governmental organizations active in these communities, after-school programs, all the rest of it. But one of the factors that actually did make a difference, sort of what’s called by a variety of names. Stop-and-frisk, broken theories window of policing, is a mouthful for me. But all of it basically comes down to you essentially use “random” intermittent checks of the population in order to control minor crimes so that it stops major crimes. And this is a very controversial topic–
S. FULLWOOD 03:11 Yes.
C.T. WEBB 03:11 –and a lot of people– a lot of people on the left are very angry about the consequences of those kind of programs, so. But rather than get into the specific debate about whether they are or aren’t effective. Right? Because I’m sure, even though the study was completed, I wouldn’t doubt that it would take me 10 minutes to find a sociologist that would argue against those findings. So–
S. FULLWOOD 03:41 Oh, absolutely.
C.T. WEBB 03:41 –that’s not actually– what I wanted to talk about was let’s grant that–
S. FULLWOOD 03:48 For the sake of argument.
C.T. WEBB 03:48 –a broken [laughter]– that’s exactly right. For the sake of argument, let’s grant that it works. It wouldn’t, to me — and then I’ll let Steven jump in here — it wouldn’t be surprising to me that it works, because of course it isn’t surprising that the maximum use of force can reduce crime. Of course it can. Of course violence can stop violence. That is war for the last 5,000 years. So the question is, is the cost, the infringement on liberty, worth that price? Because all you’d need to do is you hire– if you want to make, say, a city like Chicago very safe, hire 400,000 police officers and all of the sudden the City of Chicago is going to be safe, at least in violence amongst communities. Maybe not violence from the police. You monopolize violence. Right? So anyway. So, Steve, I wanted to have a conversation about that. So where is the cost worth it? Even if we grant that it works.
S. FULLWOOD 05:04 Well, so I was stuck on your initial question about whether or not– I’m just getting my notes, here. If we assume stop-and-frisk works to reduce violent crimes, this notion of liberty versus safety. I’ve been thinking a lot about surveillance. I’ve been thinking a lot about police states. I’ve been thinking a lot about what kinds of crimes. And I think the third thing I pointed out, it was like, “Well, what kind of crimes are we talking about?” We’re talking about violent crimes. We’re talking about physical crimes. But the definition of violence is a lot bigger than that, and it’s much more broad to me. So when I think about violence, I think about the intentional use of physical force and power — this is a definition — threatened or actual against oneself or another person, or against a group or community. And so while I was looking at the New York Civil Liberties Union’s take on stop-and-frisk, where they did a– they were doing a survey from 2002 to 2016, and you’re right. Violent crimes, according to this particular survey, have gone down significantly. There’s a drop– the peak, I guess, is 2010, 2011, 2012, at 685,724, to 2016 we’re at 12,404, which is the first sort of part of this year. Excuse me, of 2016. So I think a lot about violence as a way to [laughter]– like you said earlier, violence stops violence. Does it really, though? Because we’re talking about a violent system.
C.T. WEBB 06:44 Yeah. So over a–
S. FULLWOOD 06:45 And–
C.T. WEBB 06:45 So I mean physical violence stopping physical violence, just to clarify.
S. FULLWOOD 06:48 Absolutely. Absolutely. And I could not not go past those– I could not stop myself from going past those brackets.
C.T. WEBB 06:57 Okay, fair enough.
S. FULLWOOD 06:57 You and I mention, along with Seph–
C.T. WEBB 06:58 Fair enough. Sure.
S. FULLWOOD 06:59 You and I and Seph had a conversation when we first met. And I told you– and I think Seph– and I can’t speak for Seph, but I can say that no. I’ve never been stopped by police. I’ve never been stopped and frisked.
C.T. WEBB 07:09 I remember this conversation. Yeah.
S. FULLWOOD 07:10 Right. And I know others that were. So I didn’t have that particular experience with police. But I know that I’ve been– so is violence harassment? Right? I was thinking of that. I’ve been followed in stores ever since I was a kid [laughter]. No matter what I’m wearing, no matter what city I’m in.
C.T. WEBB 07:28 Maybe it’s just because you’re so good-looking?
S. FULLWOOD 07:30 Yeah [laughter]. I would love to think that [laughter]. But if the way people are going to kind of– I’ve walked out of stores not buying things. I’m like, “Well, I won’t spend my money here.” And depending on my temperament that day, there’s a certain kind of emotional violence that I’ve had all my life when it comes to surveillance. Or when it comes to being followed. Or when it comes to– I mean, and I know you’re speaking about physical violence. But I could not not think about violence in other ways. Violently educated in the West. Violently grouped in categories or red-lining. That’s a form of violence to me. So there are these things that when we think about violence, we typically go to poor people, typically black. Right? We don’t think about the systems themselves and their ways in which they impose a certain kind of violence [laughter]. And so earlier on I was asking my questions, and I do have a couple questions for you. Really quick. Just one question.
C.T. WEBB 08:28 Okay. Shoot.
S. FULLWOOD 08:28 Oh, go ahead. I’m sorry. You do your–
C.T. WEBB 08:30 No. No no no no. So I was going to ask– so one is, isn’t every culture that one is one is born into– is one born into with a restrictions on conduct and identity. Those things are socially constructed, and so they can’t be–
S. FULLWOOD 08:51 Absolutely.
C.T. WEBB 08:52 They can’t be fully autonomously constructed. And so–
S. FULLWOOD 08:55 Absolutely.
C.T. WEBB 08:55 –the problem that I– the problem that I would see then is, well, the means of access to full participation in the construction of those identities. Let me make that simpler. So if you only have white people saying, “What is acceptable behavior?” White, heteronormative males proclaiming what’s acceptable behavior, there’s no way– and you have a multi-cultural society, by no definition that I would be interested in is that a just society. So you have to, therefore– you have to, therefore, open up the avenues of participation to allow non-white, heteronormative males to construct identities. Right? And to have the freedom for those–
S. FULLWOOD 09:36 And females, and trans people. Yes.
C.T. WEBB 09:39 Yeah, yeah. All of it. You’ve got to open it all up. It’s got to be– it’s gotta almost be like a free-for-all. Right? But no matter what–
S. FULLWOOD 09:45 Well, a democratic society–
C.T. WEBB 09:46 Oh, go ahead.
S. FULLWOOD 09:47 –where people are participating. Yes. And I was just saying not necessarily a free-for-all, but an actual democracy, which we don’t have.
C.T. WEBB 09:53 Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, I don’t know that we don’t have an actual democracy. I mean, you mean as far as you mean the distinction between a republic and a democracy? That kind of thing? Or–?
S. FULLWOOD 10:02 I would definitely do the distinction, and I would also put in, in terms of full participation as a citizen in the US. Absolutely. In terms of the equal rights, full vote participation. And being involved in the process in a much more meaningful way that isn’t theoretical. And it isn’t always under attack by the establishment [laughter], in terms of voter registration laws, and these sorts of things. So that’s–
C.T. WEBB 10:28 Yeah. So there is no doubt. Yeah, there is no– of course you’re right. There is no doubt that enfranchise brokers do their best to continue to disenfranchise those people that they fear are going to want to vote them out of office, or disrupt existing economic and cultural power structures. No doubt.
S. FULLWOOD 10:51 Absolutely. Yeah.
C.T. WEBB 10:52 But at least at this stage of our social development, to me, it seems not clear, but at least arguable that the means and the tools to the flipping of those scripts, and the knocking those people on their ass are currently at our disposal. Right? It may be that there’s a tremendous amount of work to do. It may be that those people are not going to go gently into that good night. Right? I mean, we just had an election which showed that those forces are not going to go quietly. But I don’t know–
S. FULLWOOD 11:32 Yeah. Absolutely.
C.T. WEBB 11:33 But I don’t know that we don’t have the tools to win. You had in the 60’s. Right? The 50’s, the 19th century, that was just a means of– there weren’t the tools to win. The tools were just to even be acknowledged as being a piece on the board. I mean, it wasn’t even– we weren’t even–
S. FULLWOOD 11:57 Can you talk about the tools? Sorry, I know precisely what you mean.
C.T. WEBB 12:02 Okay. So I mean–
S. FULLWOOD 12:03 The tools. Yeah.
C.T. WEBB 12:04 I mean voter registration drives. I mean sponsoring communities for legal defense funds. I mean communities sponsoring legal defense funds. I mean access to discourse and publishing. I mean that non-white, non-dominant– let’s just call it dominant because whiteness starts to get a little complicated for me. Non-dominant–
S. FULLWOOD 12:34 Yes. I know [laughter].
C.T. WEBB 12:34 –writers and thinkers have access to the means of publication, have access to the means of media production. So we’re getting sidetracked–
S. FULLWOOD 12:46 I think it’s–
C.T. WEBB 12:46 –but in a fruitful way, so.
S. FULLWOOD 12:49 Yeah, I think I can come back. Because when I was thinking about the tools, and I was like, “I really want to be clear on this.” I do think that the tools are accessible, but I also feel like that there’s always push-back. So, for example, with the voter registration.
C.T. WEBB 13:04 There is, so fuck them. Let them push back. Fuck them.
S. FULLWOOD 13:08 Right. Right.
C.T. WEBB 13:08 That’s how I feel about that.
S. FULLWOOD 13:08 Oh, no, no, no. I’m not saying. See, I think that my identifying them, I don’t want that to be confused with pessimism. It isn’t. It’s actually just for more–
C.T. WEBB 13:18 Fair enough.
S. FULLWOOD 13:18 –of thinking about liberty, and thinking about safety. And thinking about what safety means a little bit more in-depth. I don’t want to be a victim of a violent crime. I do not want to commit crimes against others [laughter]. Right? So I use my own example. So when I think about safety, I feel like, “Okay. That’s one level.” That’s one level of safety, that’s one level of liberty. I am sitting here with you right now. I am recording this podcast. I am embarking on a film career. I’m doing a few things that I consider part of the liberty of pursuing my own pursuit of happiness. Right?
S. FULLWOOD 13:54 But I also know that I have to be very thoughtful about how I go about doing that. Meaning that, how do– if in fact the government or grant-giving agencies don’t see my work as being useful, I can pursue other avenues. But these are the things I’m thinking about when it comes to liberty. It feels like a slogan [laughter]. Everyone has a right to a pursuit of happiness, but happiness is– I’m sitting with friends from time to time talking about their lives. They work 9 to 5’s, and they just feel like they’re being drained all the time. But they don’t have that– they don’t have the ambition, or feeling like, “Yes. I can leave my job, and I can go out and be a singer. Or I could leave my job and go out and do the thing that I want to do.” It feels like there’s more depression about, “I need money to survive. I need money to be able to retire. I need money to do this.” And I feel that way, but I’m making this big leap to do these things. And I’m concerned about– for me, it’s either going to happen, or it’s not going to happen, but I’m going to give it the try. I’m going to give it the good old try.
S. FULLWOOD 15:00 And I think a lot about what liberty means in the US for folks who did not have 20 years of a job like I did where I can get a pension, at a public job where the avenues are smaller for this notion of liberty. We love that person, we love that guy, or that woman, or that trans person who goes out into the world and makes something of him or her or thyself. And there’s something about that. I love that story, but I also feel like that that’s not the real story. Most people don’t leave their economic statuses. The ones that we’re born into. Most people don’t become these things. I think for Europe, people are more accustomed to living out a life that was given to them through their parents in terms of economics. In the US we’re led to believe that somebody could be a millionaire one day. You could be a millionaire one day. But that’s a myth [laughter]. It’s missed for some people, but it’s–
C.T. WEBB 15:55 So it’s yeah. So it’s a myth in the way that all cultural narratives are myths, in that they’re myths that we can’t live without. But they must have some purchase in reality, or they become– I mean, this is an ad hoc distinction I’m making just for this conversation [laughter]. Or they become a fiction. Right? So there has to be– I’m drawing this again– I’m saying a mythology is something that can be motivating and aspirational. And in this particular conversation, I’m saying a fiction is just a story you say, you tell. So and I’m not saying that the United States doesn’t have a problem with that. Not at all. Right? I mean, it’s very– I mean, there’s lots of information that shows social mobility is not nearly as robust as people like to believe that it is in the United States.
S. FULLWOOD 16:50 Absolutely.
C.T. WEBB 16:50 I think you actually did hit on something particular about being American, which is that that myth, that mythology — and I mean this in a positive, aspirational way — is alive in this country. And it is not alive in the same ways that I am most familiar with in a place like the UK or Germany, would be the two European countries I’d be the most familiar with.
S. FULLWOOD 17:16 Is it alive–
C.T. WEBB 17:16 It’s not that no one–
S. FULLWOOD 17:17 It’s kind of what you said– you say it’s alive–
C.T. WEBB 17:19 Yes.
S. FULLWOOD 17:19 –and I know that it’s alive, but there’s something that’s rubbing up against that idea for me, and I can’t really get to the word at the moment, but I will [laughter]. It’s alive because it’s a myth and it needs to be alive because of the questioning circumstances that exist [laughter], and one needs to have a dream. I didn’t mean to interrupt you. I really want to hear what you have to say about this.
C.T. WEBB 17:41 No. No, I actually appreciate the back-and-forth, because I don’t have a fully articulated position on this. Because if it was a different day and it was raining, and I woke up, I would feel differently about some of this stuff. It depends. The push, the rub, and the push-back that you feel, I think I probably feel that, too, in whether how sort of sanguine I am on this story. How cheerful and enthusiastic I am on this. So I also feel ambivalent about it. We threw ambivalence around all over the place last week. But there’s part of me– so just like you feel the push-back and the rub against that, there is also something that keeps me from entirely letting it go. And I think that I start to worry. Here’s what I worry about in relation to this, and in relation to sort of liberty versus security and whatnot.
C.T. WEBB 18:44 Since all of us only dwell in the world within particular stories, and cultures, and narratives about what our lives mean, or what our lives mean to one another, what they mean in the history of the world, whatever. Right? Since we all live in those worlds, I do worry– and Seph and I have disagreed pretty productively around this. And I know that he– I think he probably finds my position a little too optimistic at times. I do worry that being intellectuals, being fully comfortable embracing progressive identities and progressive politics, I worry that that story of the world, of symbolic violence of the crushing cultural circumstances of the disenfranchised in 21st century America, I worry that maybe that’s not entirely correct. And that there has been actual– not just economic progress, but actual cultural movement that we have a hard time seeing because it doesn’t live up to the version of the world that we think would be fully just.
S. FULLWOOD 20:05 But there’s a way to have it all, I think [laughter]. There’s a way to be an insightful critic [laughter], and to be perpetually optimistic. I may not sound like it right now, but I’m a perpetually optimistic person. I think that there are ways to, like I said, to be critical of the establishment. Or even be critical of the rate in which this cultural progress is happening and to be mindful of that. I feel much like I’m hardly a pessimistic, but I wonder how well we’re doing sometimes when we don’t try to fill out the whole picture. Right? Some people think in positive, and then other folks are negative. It’s just like, “No, I think that these conversations are productive.” What you brought to mind with liberty for me, I was like, “Like I said, I mean, here I am, and independent. I’m working hard for my money, like the Donna Summer’s song [laughter].” But I see–
C.T. WEBB 21:01 So hard honey, honey?
S. FULLWOOD 21:02 I see– exactly [laughter]. But I see an end. I see ends, I see opportunities, I see things and I go, “Well if this road doesn’t work out, I’ll just do this.” But I wonder if that’s just the way that I was born, versus someone else who feels like he, or she, or they can’t have something. Right? And maybe that’s a little bit lazy in terms of thinking. Right? But I feel like I can’t have a platform, and only speak for myself. Do you know what I mean? So when I think– kind of what you’re saying. There are definitely cultural things. I mean, things that have happened in our culture, even in our laws, that are being rolled back as we speak [laughter], by this particular crazy administration. But every day somebody’s being born. Every generation. There’s optimism in the air. So it’s not solely those– I feel like their movement can happen. Absolutely. But if I don’t identify the things that are not happening, then I feel like I’m being disingenuous.
C.T. WEBB 22:07 Yeah. I mean, so–
S. FULLWOOD 22:08 Do you know what I mean?
C.T. WEBB 22:08 –what are the– I do. Absolutely. And actually, I think I can tie this in a little bit more tightly with the topic. What I want to say is, so if we grant that security can be purchased by restricting the liberty of certain individuals, that’s not surprising to us. But it’s–
S. FULLWOOD 22:30 No. It’s not.
C.T. WEBB 22:31 –it’s problematic. Right? Maybe there is–
S. FULLWOOD 22:35 Yes.
C.T. WEBB 22:35 –actually– maybe on the left we need to be– because to identify myself on the left. Right? At being progressive, because I certainly have progressive politics around identities and whatnot. So maybe we need to have a little bit more of kind of the Second Amendment verve about us. So the people that will defend gun– so when people that are protecting gun rights say that there’s nothing that can be done to stop mass shootings. I have to believe that on some level they, of course, know that’s not true because they wouldn’t feel a need to hold on to their guns if they thought that nothing could be done to stop violence. Right?
S. FULLWOOD 23:18 Yes.
C.T. WEBB 23:19 You believe that the gun is a form of–
S. FULLWOOD 23:19 I mean, that’s one easy version of it. Yes. Absolutely.
C.T. WEBB 23:22 Yeah. So clearly you believe it. But what they’re saying is that they believe that their right to self-protection trumps the public need for maximum security for, say, school children–
S. FULLWOOD 23:38 Oh, absolutely.
C.T. WEBB 23:38 –or for public gathering. So let’s say that’s a good faith argument. Okay, so what they’re basically saying is that some kind of sacrifice is necessary to preserve this– what they would perceive as a sacred right. So–
S. FULLWOOD 23:53 Right.
C.T. WEBB 23:54 –maybe we need to be okay with some kind of sacrifice in order to preserve the rights that we believe in most fervently.
S. FULLWOOD 24:05 You mean the progressives? Or people–
C.T. WEBB 24:06 Yes.
S. FULLWOOD 24:07 You’re talking outside of this gun thing. I see.
C.T. WEBB 24:08 Yeah, yeah. Let’s be honest about what we are and what we aren’t willing to give up to preserve a progressive agenda, so we can have an honest conversation about it. Not you and I, but– so culturally–
S. FULLWOOD 24:22 Oh, I know what you mean.
C.T. WEBB 24:23 –as a country, have an honest conversation about it.
S. FULLWOOD 24:25 And so yeah. So are you watching on Netflix Wild, Wild Country?
C.T. WEBB 24:30 No.
S. FULLWOOD 24:31 And what it is is a– so you remember in– not Oklahoma. So this is in Oregon. So Wild, Wild Country basically is a docuseries on Netflix that remembers the story of Rajneeshee, the community, with Osho, I think is one of his names, this guy.
C.T. WEBB 24:47 Oh, that was the one with the female cult leader.
S. FULLWOOD 24:51 Right. Well, cult in question mark. Right? “Cult [laughter].”
C.T. WEBB 24:56 Oh, sure. Sure. Okay. Sure. Right, right, right.
S. FULLWOOD 24:56 And so we’re watching it, and– so it’s got this really interesting idea about how safety– I kind of wish I would have known we were talking about this today, I would have said, “Please, just watch one episode [laughter].” Because the filmmakers are– they didn’t go into the documentary with a, the cult is wrong and the community that they invaded, so to speak, is right. They saw on both sides what these people were trying to do. So the community around Rajneeshee, they were doing peace, love, all this sort of 60’s, 70’s cult things. And people who were there in Oregon were very concerned that they were being pushed out of a way of life that they had earned. It was almost like a retirement community.
S. FULLWOOD 25:46 So the Osho community– I keep from going back from Osho to Rajneeshee. There was a woman by the name of Ma Anand Sheela. This is the woman you’re speaking about. Her fierceness seemed like– I love the title, because it is the Wild, Wild West. She came in, and she’s like, “We’ve spent this amount of money. We are doing this. We are not bothering anybody. Don’t bother us. If you want a fight, I’ll bring it.” And she brought it [laughter]. And you can learn more about it on– and so watching it. But I love the way this docuseries was cut, even though a friend of mine told me he felt like they were setting the community up to kind of show that Sheela was accused of, and convicted of — in another country, in Switzerland, where she fled — of poisoning people. Right? And other things. But I’m watching it right now. I’m on the third thing. But their sense of safety and wanting to have a place to come and worship, and to follow the teachings of this man.
S. FULLWOOD 26:47 I love cults, and I love studying them. This particular cult didn’t feel as cult-ish to me. There were people who were part of it that didn’t know anything about what the leaders were doing. And there were other people, to this very day that still subscribe to this man’s teachings. But when you listen to the community that they invaded, they were like, “They’re messing with our liberties. They’re messing with our safety. We need to get the government involved.” So at the four levels of government, local, city, state, and federal, came down on this community. And when you watch it, you get a really good sense of– well, I thought in a way that it was a metaphor for the way that the English came over and established the US [laughter]. And so it’s a timeless story. I think that you’ll learn more about what safety means to people once it’s being threatened. And I think that the one thing that I feel differently– or I don’t know if I feel differently than you do, but I think that this notion of safety isn’t something– it’s all very relative. And what does it mean to live in a community where you are constantly being surveilled. What does it mean to live in a community where the New York State– excuse me. New York Civil Liberties Union stated that 9 out of 10 people who are harassed are stop-and-frisk– they’re black people. So–
C.T. WEBB 28:10 Yeah, it’s–
S. FULLWOOD 28:10 So the liberties that we’re giving up to be safe are very– who’s safety? And for whom?
C.T. WEBB 28:18 Yeah. Yeah. I mean, one of the– I appreciate the nuance and the distinction, because one of the things I was very aware of when I posed the question as a topic for us to kind of work through, is sort of the arbitrary nature of where you draw the line for safety versus liberty. And one of the ways that I was trying to constrain the question — which you push back against immediately, which I appreciate — is that I was talking about physical violence. A lot of people in these communities benefited from restrictions, from these programs. Physical violence declined in part because of this, not exclusively because of it. Certainly not. And maybe not even in–
S. FULLWOOD 29:08 Right.
C.T. WEBB 29:08 And maybe not even in the majority of it. But one of the things that I didn’t really consider, and dovetails into a conversation I had with my son this past weekend, was when you feel like you are constantly being watched, or surveilled, as you said, that itself impinges on your liberty. You need to feel–
S. FULLWOOD 29:36 Absolutely.
C.T. WEBB 29:37 –in fact, that you are not being watched in order to feel at liberty. Right? I mean, if you constantly feel like someone is watching you, that may be– if you fully identify with the observer, then maybe that’s a sense of safety. I’m thinking of little kids and parents, things like that. If you have a pretty stable [crosstalk].
S. FULLWOOD 29:59 Right. Right. The different kinds of– yeah. Surveillance–
C.T. WEBB 30:01 Sure.
S. FULLWOOD 30:01 –is not a negative thing in and of itself. Right.
C.T. WEBB 30:04 But in actuality, the surveillance has to disappear. And yeah. You really opened the question up into, and honestly, a much more complex area than one conversation. Because it does come back. It does circle back to just straight-up identity at that point. Right? Because if you are not identifying with the surveillance, and you are the surveilled, that is an impingement on– you don’t feel any more at liberty. It’s the exact opposite. Right? Other people are purchasing liberty at your expense.
S. FULLWOOD 30:49 Absolutely. Absolutely. Well said. And I did look up surveillance, and it does not have a great definition [laughter]. I mean, it has a great definition, which is close observation, especially of a suspected spy or criminal. And so, yes. The relationship that you have with your son, and the one that I have with my son, I was watching him. Observing him, wanting to make sure he was safe. Making sure that he did his homework and the various things that–
C.T. WEBB 31:14 But he wasn’t a spy [laughter].
S. FULLWOOD 31:16 He was not a spy. No, he wasn’t. And so one brief moment– I went to the spy museum in New York City. I think they’re probably all over the US. But you go, and it’s–
C.T. WEBB 31:26 They are. Yes.
S. FULLWOOD 31:26 –a museum where you actually– it’s very interactive. So you’ve seen those before. So then you know they’re talking about the different ways in which we’re surveilled on a daily basis. Whether it’s through our searches, whether it’s cams on the street, these kinds of things. And so I think a lot about– to be quite honest with you, I rarely think about liberty in the sense where I use the word. I know what the feeling evokes when I hear it, which is a series of complicated thoughts about what liberty is. And then safety, yeah. Similarly, I don’t think about those things like, “Do I feel safe? Do I feel safer as a 52-year-old than I did as a 32-year-old or a 12-year old.” They’re different moments. Right? They’re different moments. And I’m not sure if it definitely isn’t something I can cover in one conversation, for sure. But it makes me think a lot about America. A lot about the promise of America versus the actuality of America. And then those spaces in between, where the potential can be really mighty amazing, and encouraging. So I have a lot to think about. And I use the word. I think a lot. I have to stop using that phrase a lot [laughter]. And find some other quick–
C.T. WEBB 32:46 That’s right.
S. FULLWOOD 32:46 –way to express my opinion [laughter]. But I am–
C.T. WEBB 32:50 So, Steven–
S. FULLWOOD 32:50 But I love thinking, so.
C.T. WEBB 32:52 Yeah. Steven, thanks very much for the conversation today.
S. FULLWOOD 32:55 Thank you.
C.T. WEBB 32:58 I’ll talk to you soon.


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