Television preacher and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson said Tuesday on "The 700 Club" that he believes plans to expand the use of security cameras in Boston in the wake of the marathon bombing are really the heralds of the coming apocalypse, brought about by "the mark of the beast."
Citing noted author and atheist George Orwell, Robertson said the classic novel "1984" seems to be coming true before his very eyes. "It was a shocker when it was published, but now people kinda take it for granted," he said.
The ensuing monologue seemed a bit confused at first, bouncing between his visions of future surveillance and what's already standard practice. "Think what would happen," he said. "When you wake up in the morning, there's a camera that watches what you do. You walk out of your home and you have to log in to some kind of a box that tells where you are and what time you started your day. And then, do you get on a bus? Do you get in your car? What do you do?"
"And what do you do during the day when you get to your office?" he continued. "You punch another button and log in. All the time, you're under surveillance, every time you move. Where is there freedom? Well, there is no freedom."
Of course, security cameras don't do anything but allow another party to observe and record activity from another place, which doesn't quite add up to destroying freedom. However, an argument could be made that cameras are a type of coercion against criminal acts, in which case Robertson is technically right in using the word "freedom," but wrong to apply it so broadly.
He went on to say that the big data and surveillance industries need cameras everywhere to set the stage for "the mark of the beast" to be spread across humanity, ensuring those who do not have the mark cannot participate in commerce.
"You have to be part of that world system, and very, very few can escape," he said. "Right now they can go down in the bush in darkest Africa and hunt you down. So, you say we're going to feel secure? Secure from whom? I think the American people are more afraid of the over-reach of big government than they are some occasional bomber, even if the bomber kills a few people. They would still rather have their freedom than to have big brother in constant surveillance."
Then again, "the mark of the beast" in the Christian Bible is supposedly a mark on the right hand or forehead. Robertson did not elaborate on how he thinks this situation will come about.
Unfortunately for anti-surveillance advocates -- who come in all political stripes and often raise legitimate concerns about information over-reach -- Robertson is dead wrong on that last point about Americans resisting the creeping surveillance state. A New York Times/CBS News poll published April 30 found that 78 percent of Americans think surveillance cameras in public places are a good idea, after cameras in Boston were credited with helping catch the marathon bombers.
This video is from "The 700 Club," aired Tuesday, May 7, 2013, snipped by Right Wing Watch.