Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 58 - Big Brother vs. The Sands of Time

"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?... Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?... The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."
- George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 5

1984, it was required reading in our high school English class.  The term "Big Brother" was used metaphorically for the government that was "looking out for our best interests."  Then the TV show Big Brother was produced complete with a house filled with cameras even in the bathroom.  And just like the book, the only way you could have a "free thoughtful conversation" was in the shower where cameras and microphones couldn't go.  If you read this book, you come to understand that step-by-step, inch-by-inch, little-by-little, the freedom for which our forefathers fought for is slowly being taken away from us in the name of "We know what's best for you."

The best example of this in our community is the camera lights at intersections to take our photographs if we go through a yellow light. Which we are then sent a traffic ticket in the mail.   It has netted the city government more than  $1,000,000 in the first year alone. All in the name of it-will-improve-our-safety as accidents in these intersections are too high.  Ok, if this were true, then why is it that there hasn't been a study done of the accident rate since the installation of these cameras to show us statistics to prove their presumption. Nada, nulch, nothing.  Well maybe I'm thinking too much...guilty of thoughtcrime.

George Orwell wrote about the questioning of these types of occurrences which slowly take away our ability to think.  The future as he called it accused this as "thoughtcrime."  Even though past legislatures have found these cameras at intersections illegal, the state recently passed a law that says these cameras are legal.  Wait a minute, we are supposed to have the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.  Getting sweaty palms and high blood pressure as we go slowly through this intersection and the camera takes your picture anyway is not my idea of Pursuit of happiness.  People counter with, well if you follow the law, it shouldn't matter.  The truth is IT DOES MATTER.

These small straight jackets of freedom add up to one big loss of all freedoms eventurally.  We really need to think about this.  Next time we open the door and the police put handcuffs on us for littering because the video tape showed that we were walking down the street and an empty gum wrapper flew from our pocket, only THEN will we understand these ramifications of invasion of our privacy.  It can and will happen to all of us if we let it. The right thing to do is at minimum "think" about it.  Realize it can and will happen to us. Ultimately it will slowly turn into something it shouldn't be and uncontrollable at that point if we don't speak out about the "little" abuses now.

This whole issue of intersection accidents doesn't need a video camera for us to "say cheese" to fix the problem. It  would be better solved by one of these two ideas: 1) Synchronize all red, green, and yellow lights in all intersections and tell us how long to count for each light.  Most of the time, different intersections have different lengths of time for each color or 2) Use the latest technology of visual time.  The intersection light is one LED panel that displays an hourglass.  When we are waiting at the red light, the hourglass is displayed in red and shows the red sand tumble from the top to the bottom, giving us a visual as to how long we have to wait until the light turns green.  The LED panel then turns green and we visually see the green sands tumble from the top of the hourglass to the bottom, on and on to the yellow light.  No guessing, no more running yellow lights.  No cameras, just education as to the guessing game that cities play with drivers.

There are many abuses happening now in the name of routing out terrorists. We should be outraged by wiretapping "for the good of finding terrorists."  We should be outraged that we have a digital footprint on the internet that companies pay for and know our identities.  We should be outraged that camera lights and speed traps are used in the name of safety.  George Orwell's Winston committed "thoughtcrime and facecrime," facecrime is when someone can tell what your thinking by looking at your face. It's scary that we would get to a point that we had to control our emotions to the point of not showing any facial cues for thought. I'd rather be like Winston who fights for his right to think than live the rest of my life unconsciously.

"Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious."
- George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 7

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