By Daisy Luther
We can all rest a little easier now. Janet Napolitano, head of the Department of Homeland Gestapo Security has said that fears over extreme government surveillance are overblown. There is no Orwellian state, no extreme surveillance, and we can all go back to watching Dancing with the Stars now.
“I think people have gotten the idea that there’s an Orwellian state out there that somehow we’re operating in. That’s far from the case… There are lots of protections built into the system…No one should believe that we are simply going willy-nilly and using any kind of data that we can gather...
I think we need to do a better job of explaining to the American people exactly what is kept, what are the real restrictions on how—I’m just talking now for DHS, Department of Homeland Security–how we use it, how long we can keep it, how we share it, all those thing.” (source)
What is the Orwellian state? This is a reference to George Orwell’s unfortunately prophetic novel, 1984. Here’s a look at the world according to Orwell:
The Oceanian province of Airstrip One is a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control, dictated by a political system that persecutes all individualism and independent thinking as thought crimes. Their tyranny is headed by Big Brother and the Part, who justify their rule in the name of a supposed greater good.
A major theme of Nineteen Eighty-Four is censorship, especially in the Ministry of Truth, where photographs are doctored and public archives rewritten to rid them of “unpersons” (i.e. persons who have been arrested, whom the Party has decided to erase from history). On the telescreens figures for all types of production are grossly exaggerated (or simply invented) to indicate an ever-growing economy, when the reality is the opposite.
The inhabitants of Oceania, particularly the Outer Party members, have no real privacy. Many of them live in apartments equipped with two-way telescreens, so that they may be watched or listened to at any time. Similar telescreens are found at workstations and in public places, along with hidden microphones. Written correspondence is routinely opened and read by the government before it is delivered. The Thought Police employ undercover agents, who pose as normal citizens and report any person with subversive tendencies. Children are encouraged to report suspicious persons to the government, and some even denounce their own parents.
This surveillance allows for effective control of the citizenry. The smallest sign of rebellion, even something so small as a facial expression, can result in immediate arrest and imprisonment. Thus, citizens (and particularly party members) are compelled to absolute obedience at all times. (source)
Does that sound familiar? Perhaps some of the concerns about an Orwellian state could be explained by the following:
- The explosive information provided by Edward Snowden about the massive collection of communications that Americans thought were private
- The massive ammunition purchases by the DHS – enough to kill every man, woman, and child in America several times over.
- The FEMA camps that being set up across the country
- The constant surveillance spy grid that is in place, with cameras on every street corner, tracking capability in cell phones, and appliances that monitor you
- The brainwashing of our children that guns are terrifying through hysterical suspensions over Pop-tart guns and Hello Kitty bubble blowers
- The recent lockdown of Boston, complete with mandatory warrantless searches of citizens’ homes
- The NDAA that allows indefinite detention of American citizens without a trial
I could go on, but it seems perfectly clear that we have long ago surpassed the “Orwellian state” being a product of fiction. Don’t be assuaged by Napolitano’s assurances that we are overreacting. If anything we have under-reacted and that’s why things have gotten this far.
Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at email@example.com