New Technologies Nurturing Big Brother
The ability of Big Brother (or the Deep State, or whatever other appellation best fits your political viewpoint) to spy on every single American citizen by recording our every digital move is a new and dangerous phenomenon, unlike any other we have encountered before. If our government – not just the current administration, but any future one as well – starts scheming about ways to impose increased control on society, it will need to pressure Facebook into playing along, willingly or (most likely) not. The threat posed by the nexus of emerging new technologies (such as those employed by Facebook) and the goals of overreaching government, seeking to mold its citizenry into some desired image, is the greatest it has ever been and grows rapidly.
So what would such a government want to see from Facebook? "Playing along" would inevitably lead to Facebook effectively cooperating with the government on every level, perhaps even Facebook being fused, in some way, into the government structures. Controlling the mass media would not be enough; the same strictures would have to be imposed on social media as well. Was calling Mark Zuckerberg before a Senate committee an effort to ensure his full cooperation in making his company amenable to the state's perceived needs? It may well be better for him in the long run to become part of the system of controls than to resist government incursions and harassment.
This scenario is not merely the creation of an academic exercise. Our governmental bureaucracy has been growing increasingly out of control over the past few decades, grasping ever more deeply at most aspects of our social interactions. The government has decided that it knows better than the rest of us what we should think on various social issues, what politically correct language we should use, what views we should have of different racial or religious groups (for example: Muslims are nice and peaceful, white males are suspect, American patriots are the neo-Nazis, Israel is an apartheid state, and most Christians are bigoted).
The overreaching government has exerted ever growing control over public school curricula, and it even tells us what we should eat (NYC has banned sodas over 16 ounces). Some of these government initiatives are well meaning, like forcing restaurants to post calorie counts of meals, but teaching students what to think instead of how to think is a scary tendency. In medical services, the government is already playing a major role and wants to expand it into single-payer, total government control. The U.K. case of medical bureaucratic euthanasia of little Alfie Evans sends chills down one's spine. All this amounts to ever growing intrusion into our private lives.
Centralized control over all financial activity has reached the point where there is talk of abandoning cash for all-electronic transactions, the better to flesh out the state's dossiers on all of us. Various security measures allow eavesdropping on our telephone conversations, monitoring our internet access, and taking photos of us in public places. Moreover, there are many who want the government to be the exclusive possessor of all kinds of firearms, so that we, the people, no longer even think about defending our rights and freedoms.
Where does all this lead us? In the direction of a Big Brother state, as harrowingly depicted by George Orwell in 1984, a socialist pseudo-utopia where the government routinely rewrites history to serve its current needs. In other words, to the creation of a system of complete enslavement of all citizens, by controlling their minds through mass media. At its extreme, such a despotic system of government will subject every aspect of our lives to inspection and manipulation. A terrifying possibility.
As the old saw tells us, money is the mother's milk of politics and always has been. But our liberty and our privacy were never as seriously threatened by mere money as they are now by the new technologies that can control the "news" we receive (fake news included), that shape and manipulate our actions and views. Money was and is used to buy politicians' loyalty and support; however, the new technologies are used to control us directly. Money was always the force behind the evil created by the government, but it did not create the conditions for Big Brother government.
It is the emergence of new technologies that endangers the free society. The society must counter them by legal and political means, to retain control of the government rather than ceding that control to the Deep State.
Money was created as a vehicle to grease the wheels of commerce, a way to transact business without having to trade two swords for a horse. And money provided an accurate method of valuing disparate objects: a pair of shoes is worth three chickens, but you no longer need the chickens to acquire the shoes. Or a night in a motel is equivalent to seven ceramic building tiles, or 23 forks. Money's only purpose is to facilitate free trade. But in a Big Brother state, free trade will wither and die, eliminating the need for money.
The centralized machinery of the Big Brother state will distribute all goods, according to a centrally run ledger. Everybody will receive goods in quantities deemed fair and proper by the bureaucrats, and the recipients will have no say in the matter. So we might see a family of four allotted three towels and six bars of soap each year; one loaf of bread a week; and a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment. No need to determine the price of the soap or the apartment; these items, like all others, will be assigned by Big Brother. Money may be eliminated from politics, but that does nothing to save us from the disaster that is a Big Brother state.
Many of these observations arise from my personal experience. I grew up in socialist Poland in the 1950s and 1960s. I have lived through the preliminary stages of the Big Brother. Never again, please.
Graphic via Flickr.