Almost seventy years ago George Orwell published his futuristic dystopian novel, “1984”. The main character, Winston Smith, works in the Ministry of Truth where he rewrites history according to the Party’s platform. Winston is a citizen who is overwhelming frustrated by the totalitarian control of the government over its citizens. Everyone is watched on tv screens by a sinister looking image known as Big Brother. Everything you do, where you go, and with whom you speak is monitored. You are not permitted to rebel in thought or action. You are not allowed any individual expression of any kind. Even sex is forbidden. This is the way 1984 was envisioned in the mind of Orwell back in 1948.
Thirty-five years ago in 1984 Apple Computer ran an add for the Macintosh.
We will bury them in their own confusion. We will prevail.
The Big Brother informs his catatonic audience before he is destroyed by the hammer of freedom and his victims are released from his spell. It was Apple’s coming out party and they were ready to break the grip Microsoft held on the technology industry. “1984 won’t be like ‘1984’”, the ad said.
More recently I read with much disappointment the text of President Obama’s 2014 speech on National Security. In the aftermath of the revelations brought to light by Edward Snowden, a hero in my book, I saw a man frozen by his own fear to be the individual he was during his election campaigns. He seemed controlled by what former President Clinton called, “the government underneath the government.” Clinton never gave this organization a name but it sounds to me like “Big Brother” might fit.
Obama was afraid to make a decision that would alter the status quo in any way. Instead, he left the important decisions like where to store the data to a constipated Congress that couldn’t pass shit after a ton of Exlax to do his job and to make the tough choices.
Present Obama justifies our nation’s surveillance of citizens, allies, and enemies because “they do the same” to their citizens, allies, enemies and yes they even spy on the United States. That way of thinking did not even work when I was a kid. I can hear my mother now.
Just because so and so jumps into the river does not mean you have to.
After the intelligence failures leading up to 9/11, I understand how the nation might not want to be caught off guard again. However, what civil liberties are being exchanged for that mistake by our intelligence services and does each and every American and world citizen have to pay for it with the loss of our privacy and personal freedoms?
I also reject the premise of taking one point in history, 9/11, and using that example to inject fear into the citizens of a nation and world. There ought to be a statue of limitations on how long an act of war can be use by governments to control the populace and destroy their personal freedoms one by one.
Remember the Alamo!
The Cold War may be over but the enemies are still the same, fear and ignorance. The government is using both against the once free citizens of this nation.
No one under constant surveillance is ever free.
When a subject is observed, he behaves differently. His behavior conforms to how he is expected to behave and for such he receives either a reward or a punishment. His worse fear is no longer death. His fear of the government becomes greater than whatever it was the government was protecting him from. His worse fear is now Room 101 in which he learns the government knows everything about him, even his dreams.
So ask yourself, “Do you feel free in America today?