Ernest Hemingway, Privacy and the National Security State

June 8, 2015—On this episode of The Libertarian Angle, founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation, Jacob Hornberger, cites the example of Ernest Hemingway in a discussion on privacy and mass surveillance.

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Hornberger says:

“Hemingway, who loved Cuba, loved the Cuban people, had a home there and spent a large portion of his life there. And of course as we all know, was spied on by the US government, by the national security apparatus apparently because they believed that anybody who would maintain close ties with a Cold War rival or a Cold War enemy was suspect, was somebody who needed to be watched over.”

“Hemingway provides a really good example of how the state operates when it starts monitoring people. They were closely watching him and what was interesting is that Hemingway knew they were watching him. And it’s hard to believe they would not know that, and these are professionals.

But they knew that if Hemingway went and told anybody, ‘Hey I think I’m being monitored, I think they’re putting me under surveillance,’ they knew that the average American and especially back then would say, ‘Oh, Ernest, you’re just suffering from paranoia. We’re gonna have to send you to the doctors. The government doesn’t watch people’ and so forth. Well, that’s precisely what Ernest Hemingway did.”

Ernest Hemingway was then Ernest_Hemingway_at_the_Finca_Vigia_Cuba_-_NARA_-_192663institutionalized and treated with electrocution shock therapy all still under the watch of the FBI. The mistreatment he received led to a depressive state and he committed suicide that year.

Hornberger touches on other aspects of the national security state apparatus, calling for an abolition to the NSA, the CIA, and the whole “surveillance scheme.”

Without the Cold War and surveillance, would Ernest Hemingway’s suicide have been prevented? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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