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.”