Monday

Big brother is watching you!


Recently I have heard numerous references to Orwell and his novel “1984”in the news. I took the time to read it and found it fascinating and completely enthralling. But is this a flight of fancy or a most prophetic endeavor; can parallels be found to our modern times? Will the dystopian society so articulately described by Orwell ever come to realization?

Maybe the germane question is could it come to pass? I submit that with each failed social experiment, each passing crisis more and more of the necessary framework is being laid to support such an oppressive regime. We are diluting the vibrantly colored palette of freedom with neutral shades of gray. Through our own apathy we are blithely casting an all but irreversible cloud of darkness over that which was once a brilliant masterpiece of artistic expression.

“Big brother is watching” the citizens are admonished. Even thought, especially thought, can be a death sentence if not in accordance with the party line. Think about it, Does is so strain the imagination, slip beyond the realm of reality, to think that you are being watched? Is it inconceivable to believe that the government has the ability to “know” your thoughts?

Your conversations, your habits, purchases, travels, your family, your acquaintances, your medical records, indeed almost everything about you resides in a database somewhere. Even before the advent of computers any so inclined individual could follow the trail of bread crumbs that is your life. We know the ability exists now more than ever to monitor every detail of a person’s life in ever increasing resolution. Bit by bit, byte by byte your life is increasingly reduced to binary minutia waiting to be parsed. In this Orwell was extremely prophetic. He foresaw the ability to monitor citizens well beyond the technologies of his time.

“He who owns the past owns the future, he who owns the present owns the past.” We see it daily, the rewriting of political history at the hands of the party in power. Campaign promises that evaporate into the ether once elected, the constant “spin” that equates to situational truth “what the meaning of is, is”. Outright lies, misdirection and legislation so oppressive and monstrous that not even a Supreme Court justice can decipher its intricate machinations. In this Orwell was not as prophetic I’m afraid. In his time as in ours this is simply the status quo of politics. It is carried to the extreme in his novel, but is real enough and no less insidious in the “real world”.

“The thought police”: They are real, though they do not carry such an obvious label. They are often intricately woven into populist notions of reform and progress and frequently bear titles such as political correctness, common good, and other noble causes. The thought police are the arbiters of what is “proper” and what is not. They marginalize opponents by labeling them as religious zealots, lunatics and right wing extremists the whole time controlling the tenor of the debate so as to create the illusion of neutrality.

“I love Big Brother”: The ultimate goal of any repressive regime is to create a society completely dependant on the government. Are we not already quickly approaching a tipping point in this Orwellian arena? The number of people reliant on the federal government for subsistence increases with every passing moment. At what point do we pass the point of no return? Have we already?

It has been said that the death of a democracy is assured at the point where the populace realizes that they can vote themselves a pay raise, restated, the point where they realize they can vote in representatives that will take from the rich and give to them. It is, of course, and unsustainable course the end of which is the subservience of all to the government.

Maybe the better question is this; is it already happening? Have we simply become blind to the imperceptible incrementalism that permeates our government? Maybe the changes are just below our threshold of consciousness, buried in the mundane struggles that make up each of our lives.

For when the seeds have been sown they may lie dormant for some time. Waiting patiently for conditions most suitable for their germination. Once sprouted, if nurtured, they can grow at an alarming rate, suffocating all other natural flora, and bear fruit that all men find bitter and unpalatable, but nonetheless necessary for sustenance. – R.J.E.

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