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Thread: How far away are we from living in a 1984 police state?

  1. #1 How far away are we from living in a 1984 police state? 
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    I'm 35 years old and the world is a far more scarier place than I grew up in.
    And with crime and global terrorism and wars more widespread, how long will it be until borders are locked down and freedom of speech is suppressed? The increase in CCTV surveilance particularly in the UK suggests that it is coming. Will our every move be tracked and minor crimes become punishable by execution or brain reprogramming?


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  3. #2  
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    About ten years. Not in the future, but in the past.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    About ten years. Not in the future, but in the past.
    Hmm. 2009-1984=25.
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    I thought math was your strong point Harold.

    2009 - 10 = 1999
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  6. #5 Re: How far away are we from living in a 1984 police state? 
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    Is any of this true though? Certainly global terrorism has been more in the headlines, but it's not like terrorism is new. I'm also not sure wars are more common, it just seems that way because the West is involved in a couple right now. It's not like the amount of wars in Africa has changed, and there hasn't been a revolution in South America in recent memory.

    If CCTV surveillance bothers you, create a petition and lobby against it, the UK is still a democracy last I checked.
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    George Orwell's, '1984' was published in 1949 as Science Fiction, however held to political and social issues that were troubling even then. Basically a 'oligarchical' (Somewhat Like a monarchy) where power is held by a small number of the elite. This forming after a Nuclear World War or an International "Crisis". Another SF author Gene Roddenberry, not far behind Orwell, began writing seriously for TV shorts in 1953 and by 1964 had started work on 'Wagon Train to the Stars', which later became Star Trek. Both these writers had the ability to incorporate Political views into their SC writings, which in the beginning of 'Politically Correct', may otherwise not have been accepted.

    Since I'm from that era and fully aware that many of my own concepts were formed from these two authors, along with others, it's my belief that many people in the Political arena were also influenced, MANY of which actually believed what the authors feared, should not be feared at all and should be embraced.

    quantumintel; Compared to the world of the 1940's and 50's, as both above post have claimed is certainly correct or in part much of Orwell's 1984 has already become mainstream in many of the World's societies and I believe is gaining acceptance and I do think the UK is leading the way, if not the EU, with the US not far behind. The only thing remaining is a single authority (one party rule) which could install the ideology of 'obedience to Government over time, opposed to the reverse....I don't know how your school system works, suppose not much different than in the US, primarily local control, but the teachers in the US that are available have been coming from more and more a liberal collection of Teacher Colleges. Add the growing apathy of most societies and you already have and have had "brain programming. In the name of security/safety/COMPLIANCE, we are all trending to control over society to ever increasing acceptable limits. IMO....
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    I read Orwell originally wanted to call it 1948, but his publisher refused so he just switched the last 2 digits.
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  9. #8 Re: How far away are we from living in a 1984 police state? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy

    If CCTV surveillance bothers you, create a petition and lobby against it, the UK is still a democracy last I checked.
    So is Zimbabwe, at least on paper.

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    I read Orwell originally wanted to call it 1948, but his publisher refused so he just switched the last 2 digits.
    That would make a lot of sense, especially when one considers how non-sci-fi the book is. There aren't any fantastic machines described in the book that nobody could have tried to build in 1948.
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  10. #9 Re: How far away are we from living in a 1984 police state? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by quantumintel
    with crime and global terrorism and wars more widespread
    In the spirit of the novel: This state has always existed. Imagining a history or future other than what you've just observed is insane fantasy.
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  11. #10 Re: How far away are we from living in a 1984 police state? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax

    So is Zimbabwe, at least on paper.
    But isn't it the essence of 1984's message that one should do something before it becomes too late to prevent it. If you perceive a whittling away of your rights, fight to have them back before they get too far out of reach.

    Considering the English parliamentary system, I don't see a totalitarian state arising without a complete restructuring of the system so that it was no longer a responsible democracy. Historically, authoritarian shifts usually happen in presidential democracies, parliamentary ones tend to just get bogged down and collapse. Of course, we must never forget that initially Adolf Hitler was democratically elected, although there is much evidence of less than legitimate practices. Democracies are hinged on the strength of the constitutions and most of all on the values of the voters.

    On a completely unrelated note, Jackson's post is hilarious. Implying that some how Roddenberry and Orwell were more free to write radical stuff back in the 40s and 50s, censorship was still much in practice at the time. Authors like D.H. Lawrence were banned well into the 60s for their radical ideas, mostly for being sexually libertine. Lady Chatterley's Lover was banned until 1959 in the USA and until 1960 in the UK. Novels with political messages are published every year with just as much voracity as ever before. I can even think of ones with strongly conservative messages which are those terrible fantasy novels by Terry Goodkind, a spiritual successor to Ayn Rand. Admittedly, you don't have to look very far to find liberal messages in literature, but to quote Stephen Colbert "reality has a well-known liberal bias."
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    I think if Orwell came back he would be shocked by today's surveillence camera culture. But he must have been concerned about surveillance in 1948. Isn't that the reason why he found just about the remotest place in Britain to write 1984, at the hamlet of Barnhill on the northern tip of the Isle of Jura? It doesn't even have a road, only a deeply rutted track leading to it. Can anyone prove that surveillance reduces crime, in an age of increased material wealth and travel?
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  13. #12  
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    About the book "1984".
    The British historian, Robert Conquest, wrote that one of the great figures of American broadcasting, Walter Cronkite, claimed "1984" was about "the power of technology" whereas Conquest, himself, believed the book to be about "the technology of power".
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    Historically, authoritarian shifts usually happen in presidential democracies, parliamentary ones tend to just get bogged down and collapse. Of course, we must never forget that initially Adolf Hitler was democratically elected, although there is much evidence of less than legitimate practices.
    i_feel_tiredspeepy; Hugo Chavez or Castro, would make a better examples for overthrowing a democracy, brute force. "The Single Authority" can inadvertently happen under any form of Government. As I recall PM Harper, shut down Parliament about a year ago, to prevent a no confidence vote, where in the US the Executive has no just authority.

    Critics of democracy often claim that Hitler was democratically elected to power. This is untrue. Hitler never had the popular votes to become Chancellor of Germany, and the only reason he got the job was because the German leaders entered into a series of back-room deals. Some claim that Hitler's rise was nonetheless legal under the German system. The problem is that what was "legal" under the German system would not be considered legal under a truer and better-working democracy. In a democracy along the lines of the United States or Great Britain, Hitler could have never risen to power.
    http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-hitlerdemo.htm


    Not being well versed on the Parliamentary System, as practiced in Canada, I will only speak to the American Representative Republic System. What are called the 'checks and balances', designed by the Constitution to prevent one political viewpoint from being overwhelmed by another. In the event of one viewpoint (party) attempting to undermine these principles the people of the individual States, have the opportunity, every two years to alter that make up, as 100% of the House is voted on and 1/3 of the Senate. If the sentiment of the Country, itself is changed then so can be the governance, remaining in compliance with the original intent.

    On a completely unrelated note, Jackson's post is hilarious. Implying that some how Roddenberry and Orwell were more free to write radical stuff back in the 40s and 50s, censorship was still much in practice at the time.
    Actually censorship has decreased over time, but was very much alive in the 40's and 50's (my point), basically being replaced by political correctness today. The two writers mentioned wanted acceptance, not controversy, trying to make money from their books.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33

    i_feel_tiredspeepy; Hugo Chavez or Castro, would make a better examples for overthrowing a democracy, brute force. "The Single Authority" can inadvertently happen under any form of Government. As I recall PM Harper, shut down Parliament about a year ago, to prevent a no confidence vote, where in the US the Executive has no just authority.
    I was making a statement about democracies alone, historically every time democracy spreads there is a usual backlash as a certain number of democracies collapse back into authoritarian regimes. Political historians have noticed that presidential democracies seem to be more likely to collapse back into authoritarian regimes. The US is a rare case of a presidential system working, most other functional democracies are semi-presidential (like France) or parliamentary (Germany or the UK).

    As to Harper proroguing parliament, technically all he was able to do was to delay the vote for the Christmas vacation so that he could have more time to convince the opposition to support his budget. It was hardly shutting down parliament, note that at least the parliament can force a new election at any point if they lose confidence in the leader. How long was Bush at odds with congress? The PM can never veto a decision voted on by the parliament, only the senate and the judiciary can do that.

    The key to a functional democracy is that perfect mix of a strong constitution that prevents tyranny of the majority and provides "checks and balances" as well as an active population dedicated to maintaining democracy. Only when a population comes to accept Democratic practice as necessary does a democracy become stable.

    As to Hitler, in parliamentary systems the leader rarely has the popular vote. Stephen Harper, PM of Canada, party holds only around 40% of the seats in parliament (I don't know the exact number off the top of my head but it's around that range). Part of the strength of the parliamentary system is that the PM is just the first amongst equals, his power is derived solely from the votes of the parliament and their acquiescence to allow him to lead.
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  16. #15  
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    1984 is about surveillance technology like Moby Dick is about a whale.

    In Orwell's dystopia, as aboard the whaleship Pequod, life was framed such that every thought and action could be for The Man, or against him. Polarized. Authoritarianism lives for polarized sides, and strangely rebels step right up to affirm it: London youths in Che Guevara shirts.

    The war on terror, especially around pacifying Iraq, brought us nearer 1984. Not because of airport security. It was close because simply admitting collateral damage "encourages the terrorists" and everybody knew it. So if you complained about the bombing of a hospital, you were taking sides. Understanding betrayed sympathy. To not fall into one camp or the other required great pains, and most people were in a poor frame of mind to comprehend third messages anyway. That's the essence of Orwell's dytopia.

    I think society has moved away from 1984: Multiculturalism. Diversity. Liberalism.
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  17. #16 Re: How far away are we from living in a 1984 police state? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax

    So is Zimbabwe, at least on paper.
    But isn't it the essence of 1984's message that one should do something before it becomes too late to prevent it. If you perceive a whittling away of your rights, fight to have them back before they get too far out of reach.
    Yeah. Zimbabwe is a fine example of a democracy that either never existed in the first place, or has simply gone too far toward autocracy to be salvageable right now.

    I certainly agree we shouldn't wait till we reach that point.



    On a completely unrelated note, Jackson's post is hilarious. Implying that some how Roddenberry and Orwell were more free to write radical stuff back in the 40s and 50s, censorship was still much in practice at the time. Authors like D.H. Lawrence were banned well into the 60s for their radical ideas, mostly for being sexually libertine. Lady Chatterley's Lover was banned until 1959 in the USA and until 1960 in the UK. Novels with political messages are published every year with just as much voracity as ever before. I can even think of ones with strongly conservative messages which are those terrible fantasy novels by Terry Goodkind, a spiritual successor to Ayn Rand. Admittedly, you don't have to look very far to find liberal messages in literature, but to quote Stephen Colbert "reality has a well-known liberal bias."
    The weird thing is, this whole "politically correct" thing is mostly a grass roots movement, when you look at it. There's no formal law that says you can't walk around saying "nigger",or "hail Hitler", but you still can't. I mean, if you walk into an ethnic neighborhood in Nazi attire, and start spewing hate speech, and somebody attacks you for it, good luck pressing assault charges.

    Nowaday's it's done more indirectly by selective enforcement of the laws, rather than directly by censorship, but you still can't go around saying whatever you want.
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    Yes it's pretty shit in the UK. I live by the beach and the council (local gov) just put up CCTV on the promenade there.

    And if you go to a political demonstration then you are faced with hundreds of police officers is SAS riot gear with video cameras taking video of your faces. And of course they are building up the world's largest DNA database and fitting us all with ID Cards like Nazi Germany (didn't we win that one ?)

    The ID Cards cost many many billions of pounds and have already been hacked - so much for security.

    Meanwhile in Westminster our politicians - well we found out this year that pretty much all 700 of them have been stealing lots of money from their expense accounts ... one even had his 'moat' cleaned on his expenses - I kid you not ! And another bought a 'duck house' in his garden. No, seriously.

    Meanwhile back at No 10, Tony Blair's best mate John Scarlet provided the 'Dodgy Dossier' that lied, sorry I mean launched, us into the Iraq War ... and then a couple of years later Blair promoted John Scarlet to Head of M16 - well done, great job.

    Meanwhile at school each year the kids are getting stupider but their results are getting better ... the explanation ? well the government has been dumming down the exams for the last 20 years ... now no employer wants to take a 'graduate' because the graduates can't count or spell ! Getting completely shit-faced and vomitting in the street on a saturday night is where our kids are at.

    Meanwhile in 'middle england' (i.e. everyone) ... people either watch X-Factor or watch their House Prices, then fly off to Spain for a holiday eating Fish & Chips and swearing at the foreigners for not speaking English.

    Meanwhile back at the BBC racism and sexism have been completely irradicated and we should really trust the government because they are really nice ... and if we said anything different then Tony Blair would decapitate the Head of the BBC like he did during the Iraq War (that was Greg Dyke btw).

    Meanwhile on the rail network, all the trains who's drivers actually turned up for work today are running at half speed and with no toilets because the seasonal falling of leaves in the Autumn is a surprise for the engineering teams.

    And yes it's bloody raining again, to quote Morgan Freeman "Is There No Sun In This Accursed Country !" GRRRRRRR

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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideforever
    Yes it's pretty shit in the UK.
    Yep, I live here too.
    Britain is a lost paradise. Once everyone had a job. The roads were mostly free from congestion. Family values were strong. Public transport was excellent. People were friendly and trusted each other. The summers were great, now it's just rain,rain,rain. Britain was a good Christian country with beautiful churches. Many have closed and mosques have taken their place. Britain is at threat from Islamisation, especially in the towns and cities.
    Re CCTV. Mr Average gets caught on camera an average of 200 times a day, I understand. If you are the victim of crime, however, you may well find that the camera was turned off that day.
    Re DNA Database. Even if you didn't commit a crime you can get arrested and put on the database. I know, because it's happened to me. The police have been instructed to get as many people, innocent or otherwise on the DB. You have no choice. If you protest, they will force you to give a mugshot, fingerprints and a DNA swab. Even if they cannot bring a charge against you.
    Re Railways. What a joke. The land that invented the railways hasn't a clue how to run them. There is incredibly a different fare for every train, and it is probably the most expensive service in the world. Only if I book ahead on the internet and travel off peak can I find an affordable fare. Travel 1st class return between Newquay and Kyle of Lochalsh, and buy the ticket on the day it costs an astonishing 1002. Compare this with flying round the world at 775.
    Re Food. Britons eat more salty sandwiches, TV dinners and fast food than just about anywhere else.
    Re. the traffic. I understand that Britain has more speed cameras than anywhere else, on roads that are in the main, hopelessly congested. Average traffic speed in London is about 15mph.
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  20. #19  
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    Funny thing; Seems like every day, I'm discussing with UK and Americans folks, about how bad it is in the US and how great things are there. We should, have your low taxes, your Medical Health Care System, your rights for ALL people, the Parliamentary Governing System, your concerns for Global Warming, Cooling, your charitable concerns for the poor and the Muslim influence is nothing with less than 1% or so that are there.

    We have been pretty lucky so far (may be changing) since we can near alter or at least slow, Socialistic Governance every two years, by voting out some member of our Congress, especially the House (lower Chamber) where they all must be re-elected, every two years.
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    Yeah, WTF happened ?

    My mother is German and I have been thinking recently that the stuff she saw in the war really affected her.

    But, what about Britain then ? How does the war affect us here. Quite strongly ... you can see that in the office if you offer people a cup of tea someone will say "yes, well it saved us in the war", and there is Blackadder, Poppy Day etc... The war is still here.

    I get on the Tube in the morning and look across the rows of men and it's high and tight with the hairstyles. High and tight so that the helmets will fit - these guys still think there is a war on. Crikey. It's a pretty rare thing to see a long hair with a suit, and you know he is not going to be British origin - probably from Spain or Italy.

    The psychological damage to Britain must go deeper, these other things are the surface ... what is deeper ?

    It's also an old old country ... walking through the City of London (old part of London) you can smell the dead buried deep underground, the Plague, the Fire - and most people in the City are working themselves to death to join them.

    There is also a generational war going on - there are some comfortable people with expensive houses and good jobs ... but for kids who come out of school, nothing. No way to get on the 'housing ladder' and hard to find a job. The comfortable half of the country is just watching the house prices that's it.

    Moving to a service economy means Britiain is the king of bullshit, but can't make anything any more. It's not good.

    Apart from the war there doesn't seem to be very much culture preserved ? What is British culture ? Sausages and Mash - I think the Germans do better sausages than us - they take pride in it. Railways and IK Brunel ... people still go on about him but he's history ... he's not us.

    I stayed at a B&B in the New Forest at Easter, in a big country mansion and of some posh people with horses etc... The day I left the owner came out and said "where's the money then". Christ - I thought these people were suppose to have some class - "Where's the money" ha!. The Queen would be the same, it's all cordial and etiquette, and then "Where's the money !"

    I don't think people are happy about it - it just kind of happened. How can they be happy with it ?
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  22. #21  
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    That was a delightful read. :-D
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideforever
    Moving to a service economy means Britiain is the king of bullshit, but can't make anything any more. It's not good.
    That is totally the problem with all service economies. Services are bullshit wealth. You can't eat them. You can't live in them. And, the moment you buy them, they're gone, already used up. You can't hoard them, or save them, or keep a few in storage for a rainy day.
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  24. #23  
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    Your computer's operating system, and this forum, are services. The roof over your head is a good, but its maintenance is a service.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  25. #24  
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    The weakness of service economies is felt the most in times of war. In WWII the economy of the UK shrunk by 20%. That is why the US has invested so heavily in maintaining manufacturers, especially military ones, in the country. When the shit hits the fan it's the ability to manufacture and feed yourself that matters.

    Unfortunately, there are only a handful of countries in the world that can actually feed themselves.
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