ORWELL’S 1984: HAS IT FINALLY ARRIVED?
George Orwell’s dystopian novel, ‘1984’, portrays a dreary, tyrannical society where thought and behavior are tightly controlled by a socialism-based totalitarian regime.
According to the book’s title, its harsh reality was to arrive a mere 35 years after its 1949 publication. It turns out that Orwell, who died the following year, was a tad premature. His future may actually have arrived in 2014, 65 years after the tome debuted.
In ‘1984’, the repressive regime is at war with the entire world including its own populous. It primary weapons against the latter are thought and behavior control. Thought control is accomplished through the Ministry of Truth, the Thought Police and thoughtcrimes. Behavior is controlled through constant surveillance. “Big Brother” and “Big Brother Is Watching You” are creations in the book.
All of this sounds extreme by today’s reality, but extreme ends start with small beginnings. The extreme that ‘1984’ describes isn’t as far-fetched this year as it was last.
An FCC initiative, called “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs”, or CIN, set to begin this spring, is the first step toward controlling newscast content. CIN agents, armed with questionnaires, will interrogate news editors and station owners on a range of content topics.
The topics include how stations pick their stories, how often they cover “critical information needs”, their responsiveness to underserved populations and their perceived bias. The FCC is the sole determiner of critical information needs, the definition of underserved populations and what constitutes perceived bias.
CIN agents will inquire about each station’s broadcast philosophy and why particular individuals were selected for news interviews. Agents will “suggest” broadcast topics with heavy emphasis on social issues important to the Administration. Of course, the FCC is also the licensing agency for the stations.
The FCC is also considering the placement of government monitors in the stations, but not the TV or computer variety. They are like hall monitors, real people who sit around with their note pads writing down all of the things they don’t like. Talk about chilling. It’s freaky, as well. Maybe it’s part of Obama’s full employment plan. But, it would be better if the monitors were among those who decide to stop working and have their neighbors pay for their healthcare.
About those little inroads on thought control that become super highways, it usually happens when no one is looking, except the government. Having learned nothing from the NSA phone spy revelations, the Federal government is now proposing license plate tracking.
Under the proposal, selected private contractors would fan out across the Country photographing vehicle license plate numbers indiscriminately. The images will be stored in a database accessible to federal agencies. One excuse is to catch illegals through the license plates, which is ridiculous since the Administration rarely enforces immigration laws against those inside the Country. Chalk one Lame Spin Award up for that one.
Even if sincere, the eye-spy excursions aren’t likely to catch anyone. The photos have to be processed back at the shop by which time the vehicles are long gone. What isn’t gone are the images of millions of license plate numbers and vehicle drivers.
Big Brother is watching us and now is the time for us to watch back. And exercise some control over our own thoughts. Be on the look out for a ballot box coming to a polling booth near you.