by Chris Menahan, Information Liberation:
“There was, of course, no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, The Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate, they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live – did live, from habit that became instinct – in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every move was scrutinized.”
The above quote is from “1984,” by George Orwell. The now-famous date that Orwell chose was actually of no real significance. He simply reversed the last two digits of the year in which he wrote the book, 1948. Orwell concerned himself less with timeline than with concept. And that concept has been chillingly accurate in its foresight.
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The quote above should ring alarm bells in today’s world, particularly for those who live in the US, as the US government leads the world in the development of surveillance of its people.
Today, the US government is in the process of completing a massive electronic surveillance network that encompasses all telephone calls, all computer-driven communication, and all banking transactions. Quite a tribute to Orwell’s Big Brother.
We have in the past predicted that the surveillance net will eventually expand to include all monetary transactions by US residents (possibly through the replacement of the paper dollar by an electronic money system), allowing the US government to ultimately have knowledge of every aspect of the economic activities of US residents and, therefore, control over those activities.
The excuse given for such surveillance has been “to protect America from terrorism.” This notion is a wonderful invention, as terrorism can be imagined to be small or large and can occur at anytime, anywhere in the country. Further, if there are no actual occurrences, the government can create false flag incidents as easily and as often as they are needed.
The bogeyman of “terrorism” is particularly useful, as terrorism is faceless. No invasion is necessary. A terrorist can be anyone—even your next door neighbour and, indeed, the government computers are programmed to pay especially close heed to specific words and phrases, such as “freedom” or “patriotism.” Should your next door neighbour use such words in his emails, he is more likely to be flagged.
The degree of surveillance that Orwell described in 1984 has not yet been reached, but it is not far off. Most importantly, though, the most essential aspect of its implementation has already been overcome—the aspect of popular acceptance. The American people, in the main, have successfully been sold the concept that it is necessary in order to keep Americans “safe from terrorism.”
With this green light, the US government is moving rapidly toward the completion of the implementation of full surveillance.
If any American doubts that this is coming, he need only ask himself whether the present wiretaps, warrantless house raids, and TSA shakedowns would have been possible only a generation ago.
Americans are already being conditioned to understand that, if they object to these intrusions, that only makes them more suspect. Citizens are already being encouraged to report any “suspicious” activity they observe in their fellow citizens, or indeed, even in their own families. It is almost as if 1984 had been used as a guide in creating the new USA.
Of course, it is admittedly easy for non-Americans such as myself to criticise. We lose nothing by suggesting that those who are in a country that is in a state of dramatic decline, plan their exits whist it is still possible. After all, we are not the ones who would be leaving our home, job, and possibly family members behind. We are, in fact, already comfortably settled in our own countries—countries that may actually be thriving and promising us a positive future.
And there is another factor that makes it easy for us. Those Americans that we do meet are generally those who have already left—who have plucked up their courage and made an exit to friendlier, more promising shores. Not surprisingly, they tend to be very positive people.
On the other hand, those who remain in the US are surrounded by others who, at least at present, have chosen to remain. Therefore, to actually entertain the idea of escaping the oppression of an over-reaching government (not to mention a collapsing economic system and perpetual warfare) is a lonely pursuit indeed.
For anyone to actually raise himself up to see the forest for the trees is, in itself, a major feat. To actually conceive of and then plan an actual exit to greener pastures is an even greater one.
It is easy for all of us, no matter where we are, to observe that the end product (that of 1984) is abhorrent and unfit for humanity. However, the end product does not occur all in one fell swoop. Like the boiling of a frog, it is made possible, first, by the comforting warmth of the water, which increases slowly in temperature, lulling the frog into complacency until he is too sleepy to jump out of the pot.
The US began as, very possibly, the most ideal republic ever conceived. Yet, at intervals, over the last 244 years, the original ideals have been stripped away and, in recent years, as it slides toward a very literal 1984, the deterioration has sped up dramatically. Saddest of all, it is occurring with the approval of the now-complacent frogs.
This is not to say that the US is alone in its deterioration towards a totalitarian state. The countries of the EU and many others of the former “Free World” are also in decline. However, the US does lead the way in its Orwellian surveillance. At this point, the US government does not even deny its surveillance. In Orwellian tradition, they merely state, “If you have nothing to hide, you need not fear your government.” And just as in 1984, that fear is exactly the object. People who live in fear are easily controlled.They stay put and take whatever is dished up.
As Thomas Jefferson observed,
“When the government fears the people, that is liberty; when the people fear the government, that is tyranny.”
Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, there’s little any individual can practically do to change the course of these trends in motion.