Thursday, October 11, 2007

Something a friend once said, and the coming Orwellian security state

A couple oldies but goodies from a long-lost friend:
There may be some who are less wealthy than others, but the big divide is the wall. The wall around your house, the high wall, with the locked gate. And your position vis a vis the "security personnel." If you are affluent, they won't shoot you. You are, after all, paying them. If you are poor, they will shoot you. That is, after all, what they are paid to do.
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There are countries very near the US where gunmen armed with automatic rifles stand guard over the humblest little grocery store, where houses are surrounded by walls and gates, and tiny children hover in the parking lot of Burger King, peering through the windows, asking for the rest of your fries. Until the guard sees them. One's status is determined by whether the guards are shooting at the children who ask for your fries, or whether they are shooting at you.
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Those are the passages that come most readily to mind when I read articles of how close the so-called "free" world is coming to fulfilling its destiny as a collection of ever-ubiquitous and pervasive surveillance states (Orwell was something of a prophet), and at the increased brutality of an alarmingly militarized domestic police force. Indeed, the time in which one is constantly monitored and in which your status is determined by whether the various security forces (both publicly funded and mercenary) are aiming their arsenal of weapons at you or away from you. For the vast majority of us who will never be garrisoned within suburban gated communities, I'd say it's a safe bet that the guns will be pointed squarely at us.

Whatever you do, of course, don't think about that. After all, such thoughts tend to be depressing, and take valuable attention away from more pressing matters such as "will Britney regain custody of her kids?" and "who's going to play in next year's Super Bowl?" Keep voting - even though doing so is practically a meaningless act (it helps to keep in mind that a few extra servings of Sartrean "Bad Faith" will be needed to prop up the fantasy of living in a "free country"). Don't worry. Be happy. The guards will be less likely to shoot at you that way.

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