[Marxism] Giroux: Totalitarian Paranoia in the post-Orwellian Surveillance State

mckenna193 at aol.com mckenna193 at aol.com
Mon Feb 10 10:00:02 MST 2014



Totalitarian Paranoia in the Post-Orwellian Surveillance State
Monday, 10 February 2014 09:15
By Henry A Giroux, Truthout | Op-Ed

 
Surveillance, in any land where it is ubiquitous and inescapable, generates distrust and divisions among its citizens, curbs their readiness to speak freely to each other, and diminishes their willingness to even dare to think freely.
                                     -Ariel Dorfman

The revelations of whistle-blowers such as Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond and Edward Snowden about government lawlessness and corporate spying provide a new meaning if not a revitalized urgency and relevance to George Orwell's dystopian fable 1984. Orwell offered his readers an image of the modern state that had become dystopian - one in which privacy as a civil virtue and a crucial right was no longer valued as a measure of the robust strength of a healthy and thriving democracy. Orwell was clear that the right to privacy had come under egregious assault. But the right to privacy pointed to something more sinister than the violation of individual rights. When ruthlessly transgressed, the issue of privacy became a moral and political principle by which to assess the nature, power and severity of an emerging totalitarian state. As important as Orwell's warning was in shedding light on the horrors of mid-20th century totalitarianism and the endless regimes of state spying imposed on citizens, the text serves as a brilliant but limited metaphor for mapping the expansive trajectory of global surveillance and authoritarianism now characteristic of the first decades of the new millennium. As Marjorie Cohn has indicated, "Orwell never could have imagined that the National Security Agency (NSA) would amass metadata on billions of our phone calls and 200 million of our text messages every day. Orwell could not have foreseen that our government would read the content of our emails, file transfers, and live chats from the social media we use."1
 
full: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/21656-totalitarian-paranoia-in-the-post-orwellian-surveillance-state

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/21656-totalitarian-paranoia-in-the-post-orwellian-surveillance-state




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