“Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
This passage shows up multiple times over the course of the novel, but these are not the words of Cory Doctorow. Marcus first recites this quote during a social studies class debate on civil rights their current War on Terror, and then again later during an online press conference he gave to publicize the actions of the XNetters. These words, written in the Declaration of Independence by the founders of our country, are as prevalent in Little Brother as they were in 1776. In the wake of the terrorist attack on their city, with the technology that exists in the book, the citizens of San Francisco are under extreme scrutiny by the Department of Homeland Security. The government decided that in the dire circumstances, its people no longer reserved the right to privacy. But as the nation’s founding document points out, the role of the government should be to maintain both the safety and happiness of the country. The DHS has an obligation to protect Americans which cannot be done without some level of public surveillance, but interrupting thousands of peoples’ daily lives to question their every move in both invasive — and as Marcus later points out with his “False Positive effect” — ineffective. That is why I believe he and his undeclared “followers” are justified in their actions to dismantle the DHS’s efforts. As citizens, it is both their duty and right to take these measures in order to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility…and secure the Blessings of Liberty” for themselves and the rest of the nation when the central government has failed to do so.