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John Campbell

John Campbell (R-Irvine) is an Assemblyman representing the 70th District in Orange County. Mr. Campbell is the Vice-Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. He is the only CPA in the California State legislature and recently received a national award as Freshman Republican Legislator of the Year. He represents the cities of Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Woods and Lake Forest. He can be reached through his Assembly website and through the website for his California Senate campaign. [go to Campbell index]

Uncharted Desert Islands
The government is in our lives
[John Campbell] 9/20/04

While flipping around the TV channels this past week, I noticed several advertisements for a new TV series about to premier called "Lost." The premise is apparently based on a plane crash on some "desert island" and then what the survivors do while "lost" there. It sounds a little like a latter day Gilligan's Island, although I believe it is a drama and not a comedy. You may remember that the "castaways" were stuck on Gilligan's Island which was described as "an uncharted desert isle." They became marooned there during a "3 hour cruise" from Honolulu.

It was difficult enough to imagine an "uncharted desert isle" in the 1960s that was within an hour's slow boat ride from Honolulu. But it is particularly difficult to imagine a jetliner being "lost" just about anywhere on earth in the 21st century of satellite navigation and GPS and satellite telephones and the like.

You may be wondering if I have now morphed this weekly report on government policy and politics into a TV review column. No. But I was intrigued that some producers and a network would invest in what is a seemingly outdated premise.

It got me thinking about the era in which we live where it is difficult to be "lost" in one's own home not to mention on a remote desert isle. Increasingly, technology allows the government or others to see where we are, what we are doing, what we are saying and who we are saying it to. Furthermore, new laws and regulations give the government ever increasing control over what we do in our homes, in or on our bodies, and in our private lives. More and more I see proposals to regulate what we eat, where we smoke, how we play, how we invest, what we have in our homes and what we carry in our cars. And technology can give the government ever more ability to enforce these regulations.

Now none of this is black and white of course. The reality of terrorism means that we may have to relinquish some modicum of freedom in the name of security. But the pendulum of balance here is starting to tip too far to invade our privacy, and often in areas where security is not at issue.

Why is this series "Lost" out there? I expect it is because of the romance of the now nonexistent "uncharted desert isle." Maybe many of us have a longing to be, or have a part of us be, somewhere where the prying eyes and electrons of others cannot reach. Even if it were possible, that's somewhat extreme. But we can try in the future to adopt more policies which give us more areas of refuge in privacy. I will continue the fight to do so. It is not unreasonable to expect that we should have the freedom to get "lost," even if it is just in our own home. CRO



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