“Did you have a major privacy violation as a child or teenager, like maybe someone sneaking into your room and reading your diary?” asked therapist Christina Carter, probing for the source of her client’s expressed reservations about the prospect of contact tracing and ongoing government surveillance in the COVID-19 era. “What was the traumatic breach of trust that caused you to distrust the government’s motives now?”
It was a question that Carter’s client, Anna G., had never thought to ask herself. Surprised, she responded, “To me, it seems obvious that no one would want to be monitored and spied on all the time by the government. But the fact that you even raised the question makes me wonder if maybe most people are totally okay with ongoing government surveillance. And zero privacy."
It was the breakthrough that Carter had been hoping for for weeks – a chip in Anna’s deep-rooted neurosis manifesting as paranoid suspicion of authority. "Exactly!" she exclaimed, scarcely able to hide her delight. "The issue isn’t the Fourth Amendment or social justice or even bodily autonomy; it’s your own hyper-vigilance, learned in childhood. No shame - it was a useful coping skill for you then. But this is your opportunity as an adult to release those childhood fears and allow yourself to fully surrender to the loving embrace of the State. Can you do that, Anna?”
Anna laughed and shook her head. “Why would I want to do anything but? Let me guess – next are you going to tell me that true freedom is internal, not external?”
Dr. Carter laughed, too. “You took the words right out of my mouth. Now, when would you like to schedule our next session?”