George Orwell, 25 Years Early.

I’ve never really been a big reader of books. Whilst I read through reading that was assigned to me during my studies I rarely ventured out and looked for books that might have intrigued me. In fact the only bit of leisure reading I’ve done in the past few years was Peter F. Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn trilogy which I enjoyed slowly over the course of a university year. The works that I have then read stick in my mind quite clearly and one of those was George Orwell’s 1984. I’ll admit that I did not seek this book out myself, but I still think it was the beginning of my journey into the world of politics and the path to my libertarianism.

For those of you who haven’t read it I’d highly recommend you do. The political commentary was a warning of what was to happen should we give a ruling government too much power. It would seem that while most people are familiar with the book its message goes almost completely unheard leading to situations like this:

Only one crime was solved by each 1,000 CCTV cameras in London last year, a report into the city’s surveillance network has claimed.

The internal police report found the million-plus cameras in London rarely help catch criminals.

In one month CCTV helped capture just eight out of 269 suspected robbers.

Whilst this is far from the dystopian future that Orwell painted for us the once untrodden path to his future is now looking a lot more clear, and I for one can’t stand to see it pass. Once granted power a government rarely gives it up and situations like the one in London are amongst the worst offenders in regards to impinging on personal freedoms.

Like the rhetorical catch cry “think of the children” many of the powers granted to governments are born out of the collective’s desire for safety. This was made extremely clear when the USA brought in the PATRIOT act in response to the September 11 attacks of 2001. The use of fear from external threats allows the government to eat away at the liberties of its people and it is with every small loss of liberty for the sake of “safety” that we step ever closer to our Orwellian future.

I think this is what attracted me initially to the no clean feed movement as I saw that once government brought such power down upon Australia at large the potential for abuse was just far too great. Talking amongst my close family I realised that unless the public at large is made aware that their freedoms are being chipped away in this fashion they will naively let it happen.

So I implore you, become involved in politics so that our freedoms are not sacrificed for the bolstering of government power.  As Ed Howdershelt said:

“There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo . Please use in that order.”

5 Comments

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  1. Even more scary in London are the curfews being enforced for the under 16 – http://www.boingboing.net/2009/03/21/london-imposes-defac.html
    The issue of freedom is one of the major reasons I see myself as a liberal rather than left wing, though Dave, I wonder if you really are Libertarian, given your support for public delivery of health and education etc.  I’d be interested to see where you fit on this quiz = http://www.gotoquiz.com/politics/political-spectrum-quiz.html
     

  2. I got left moderate social libertarian
    knife crime in london is nuts. While I was there I would see at least one a week, usually some poor kid dying or put in hospital.. and most stabbings are committed by other youth. I’m not saying a curfew is the right way to go, but something needs to change.

  3. Interesting surprise for me, I am a centrist social libertarian.

    My political stance.

    I usually preface my stance as a Libertarian as lacking all the “crazy” which I define as the hand of the free market being something that doesn’t always ensure the right outcome for certain services. The centrist part is probably the most intriguing bit for me since I hold many opposing viewpoints on different subjects and whilst any one of them taken would see me as conservative or liberal, overall I’m neither.

    Thanks for that quiz, it was actually quite an eye opener for me.

    It was news like this that had me reconsidering London as a place to base myself when I travel next year. Mostly it’s a heritage thing  though (both Rebecca and I share German roots) but the invasion of privacy is something I know would make me grow to hate the place eventually.

  4. We’re planning to go over to Europe and work/live there for at least a year, maybe more if we like it. Berlin is top of the list at the moment as a place to live since we both share heritage there and everyone who has travelled there has loved it. Plus it would be an opportunity to learn German, something that I wouldn’t mind doing.

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