Donald Trump is scary, and dangerous, but he’s probably not Hitler.
But what about the next demagogue? And the next?
Fascist states have sprung out of times of turmoil and inequity throughout history. We are living in a time of turmoil and inequity. Who’s to say that fascism won’t take root here? Bush and Obama have largely dismantled the Constitutional protections that were intended to keep the executive from wielding dictatorial powers.
Meanwhile, we have built and deployed the largest and most sophisticated surveillance system in history. Snowden may have embarrassed the NSA, but he didn’t stop it. What you say today is most likely not going to cause you any problems today because we still enjoy the rule of law. What if someday we no longer enjoy the rule of law? During upheavals like the Nazi takeover of Germany, Stalin’s terrors, and the Cultural Revolution in China, just the mention of some past utterance against the current state was often enough to get you in trouble. What about a searchable, indexable database of past utterances?
This is where encryption is important. While it not enough if you’re the direct target of a hostile state, it does prevent casual collection and indexing, because without being able to decrypt the message the message can’t be indexed, and if it can’t be indexed it can’t be searched. It’s not perfect, and it’s not terribly user friendly, but it’s a start.