Flirting With the Police State of 1984

1984 - orwell - physical control

In his famous novel, 1984, George Orwell describes his nightmarish totalitarian society, a police state with complete surveillance and control over its inhabitants. Last night, we took another step forward in that direction. Obama just renewed the Patriot Act that was originally created right after the events of 9/11. While the Patriot Act is supposed to protect us from terrorist attacks, it also opens the door for complete government surveillance, tracking, and power. Do I think that the U.S. is going to turn into a complete police state under Obama? No, but we are opening the door to allow untold liberties to be simply taken away in the future, especially if we are going through another type of crisis or disaster.

Let’s imagine what will happen when we enter a serious conflict; let’s say like another World War. In the past, the government turned from a free, liberal democracy into a type of police state very quickly. The worst example of this was in World War I with President Woodrow Wilson who essentially made it illegal to speak out our write against the war movement. Back then, it was somewhat hard to track people, can you imagine what would happen today with our technology and Internet communications? The government could have complete control.

The nightmare of 1984 could become more of a reality. People like to make the book, 1984, simply a critique against Communism. While it was certainly written in opposition to Stalin and the policies of the Soviets, Orwell himself had been a Socialist. It was not about the economic system; it is what happens when a police state takes over. This can happen in a left wing or right-wing government. It could happen to us.

One of my favorite podcasts comes from a man named Dan Carlin. He gives a great illustration about our growing military industrial complex and our growing police state. He compares it to a gun that we buy to keep our family safe, only later to find out to our own horror that the gun was the weapon used to actually kill our family. In the process of trying to keep ourselves safe, we could be endangering ourselves more than we ever know.

Categories: physical control

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