From the Vault
When George Orwell wrote “1984” many years ago, he foresaw a society of paranoia: a world dominated by government and fear, of hate rather than mutual respect; and of thought control, the ultimate weapon against free expression.
As we approach that magic date covered by Orwell’s literary masterpiece, it is appropriate we reflect on how close we are to the horrors he envisioned. Orwell’s work deserves special public attention.
“Big Brother is Watching,” was Orwell’s favorite theme in “1984”. Our permissiveness with government growth (Big Brother) may lead us to other forms of enslavement.
Consider the changes in American society over the past decade. Government intervention now affects nearly every aspect of our daily lives. The average American works nearly half a year to pay taxes to support government, and generally speaking, few of us spend very little (if any) time participating in the process which leads to regulation and law. It is this over-extension of the principle of representative government which has led to the growth of bureaucracy. Somehow, Americans need to assume more of the responsibility of self-government.
Bureaucracy is everywhere we look. Consider only two examples: The power bill delivered to your home this month and back to the power company with your check involved no less than 25 federal, state and local governmental agencies, including those which regulate the power industry and the postal service.
And, if you don’t think the bureaucracy has a bearing on our everyday lives, consider a law passed by Congress in recent months which, according to a major life insurance company, requires “disability due to pregnancy shall be treated on the same basis as an illness.”
Since when is pregnancy a disability or an illness?
Somewhere along the line, Americans have given their government too much authority. As a result, many of us complain bitterly about over-regulation, but our complaining seems to do little good.
When we are given the opportunity to express our feelings in the ballot box, many of us stay home. Fewer and fewer people are deeply interested in the American political system, it seems, and the result of this disinterest is a continuation of bureaucratic growth and the increasing stagnation of our major political parties.
There are no immediate solutions to the great problems of our society, and there won’t be until the public reactivates its interest in self-government.
If reading Orwell’s “1984” was a little scary a few years ago, it can be downright frightening now. Fortunately, “1984” was fiction; let’s keep it that way.
– RE:MARK’S, By Mark L. Carlson. Aug. 29, 1979
From the Vault. Written by Piper Laughridge, Oct. 6, 2015.
Another massive plot point of “1984” was the effect of technology on the country: How the government was able to know every move you made through cameras and microphones placed throughout the country. The level of technology today almost matches the technology envisioned in the book.
At first, you don’t think much of how much information there is available about us. Sometimes you don’t even know about it, and we seem to just accept it. I grew up surrounded by this technology, and even I can’t fully understand why we put ourselves out there like this. It has almost been driven into our heads by social media that it’s safe and fun to do this. And the information we put up online is available to almost everyone. Even items you believe are private can be accessed by the government. The government can force websites to hand over every bit of information on us once they obtain the correct warrants. Even if we have nothing to hide, isn’t a bit unnerving everything you do online can come back around?
Now, do you know what everyone would want to hide? Remember your awkward pre-teen years? How none of that can be brought up except by memory or by photograph? Now we have Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and more to immortalize our stupidity forever.
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