Governments are not the problem. We are

14 Jun 2013

* June Article of the Month *
 

Orwell was wrong. About the world of today, at least. Society as we know it is far removed from the totalitarian dystopia of Oceania; the government isn’t trying to control us as Alex Jones would have you believe. ‘They’ are indeed compiling data into a universal database or ‘Prism’ as ‘they’ call it. The morals are indeed questionable, but in no way are ‘they’ controlling our language, banning books or spying on our every thought. Orwell was wrong.

 

The situation has played out exactly as Aldous Huxley prescribed: 

“A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy.”

Never has a quote been more applicable to a situation than this. 

Yes, the government are collecting data on and about us, but we must take some responsibility for this. We have willingly given it to them. After all, the Amish aren’t being tracked. How did we willingly give ‘them’ our information, I’m sure you will ask? And that’s where Huxley comes in.

Whilst Orwell feared those who would force us into submission, Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity, narcism and egotism. Just think about your activity. How many tweets, facebook posts, instagrams, vines, etc. did you post today? How many of those were in outrage at a government watching our every move? Your self-importance is all consuming: it’s all you care about. 

And just that is our problem as a race. We are striding towards hedonistic nihilism with every obnoxious tweet, every embrace of commercial cheeriness and every espousal of sexual promiscuity- whether partaking in the act, or nonchalantly allowing it to continue.

Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with the megalomania of nothingness. He feared that government wouldn’t try ban books, because nobody would want to read them anyway. He feared that man’s appetite would consist of infinite distractions, rather than a thirst for self-bettering, improved knowledge and true euphoria.

I look at my house, my school, my community alone and I see Huxley’s fears coming to fruition. How many people left are monomaniacs, driven and committed to their ideas, their passions? How many read for fun? I bet less than the number of pictures you posted on facebook or twitter in the past week. 

Apart from Huxley's reasoning, I just can't fathom why such an advanced society would not question the moral and ethical issues at hand. The government are 'watching' you. Instead of partaking in a debate about the merits and faults of a government holding data on our every action, people would rather just watch TV talent show finals, which they tweet about who they think should win- as of course, their opinion is absolute.

Since when did the manifesto of the free world become life, liberty and pursuit of twitter followers? When did we stop caring about others and only ourselves?  When did we as a people succumb to the evils of narcissism? The government may be ‘hacking’ us, but that’s not the problem at hand; the problem is we don’t care.

By Adam Isaacs

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