When I was in high school, which was mostly during the late 90’s, for whatever reason rather than have us read books like 1984, we had to read The Joy Luck Club. Seriously. Not hating on mahjong or Chinese culture, but I personally felt like there were probably better books for us to read. But I digress.
Now all these years later I’m finally reading 1984 and I’m almost finished with it. As I near the end, I can’t help but notice the similarities to the terrifying dystopian world Orwell vividly painted. I lament on what the future may have in store for us, say, 100 years after the year he had his book take place: 2084.
We don’t have “telescreens” in our walls that are required to be kept on at all times which can monitor us at every waking moment, but it’s drawing near (It’s only 2013 and here’s a what Sony already has to offer: Intelligent Presence Sensor). For some reason people feel compelled to glue themselves to their TV’s to watch crap like Honey Boo Boo and 16 and Pregnant rather than read a book like 1984 (hell, most kids have probably never even heard of the book at this point). I really can’t even believe shows like that are even allowed to exist, for shame society, for shame. When Survivor first came out, I prayed (and the only God I worship is me) that reality TV wouldn’t last. But much to my chagrin, it’s pretty much only damn thing on TV these days.
We’re living in an Orwellian world whether we choose to recognize it or not. In fact, some things even Orwell didn’t foresee: drones for the purpose of both killing and spying, weather modification (yep, bet you didn’t know that), and of course the internet, just to name a few. If the world we live in today already has this type of technology, I fear what it will have by 2084. In fact we don’t even need to look beyond these next few upcoming years to get a glimpse:
Imagine a stay-at-home mother who lives in a state where pot is still illegal. She just had a long morning preparing the kids for school and dealing with the family bills so she decides to unwind in the backyard by lighting up a lil’ fatty. But what’s that in the distance? It’s a spy drone that just flew by about 30 feet above her yard. Was this a trespass, since up to a point, the air space above your property is also considered part of your property? Will it matter when the drone reports instant feedback to the cops about her “criminal” activity? It will be both interesting and likely demoralizing to one day find this out.
Our privacy is quickly fading. President Obama just signed an Executive Order for cyber crimes, making it that much easier for Big Brother to spy on you. The drones are next. Chris Dorner, the former cop who has been on the loose since last Wednesday, who had reportedly been burned to death in a cabin yesterday (it is yet to be confirmed as of this publication). So he became and I guess still is the first US citizen, on US soil, who has been authorized to be killed by a drone. Think about it: no due process, which is to say, no trial, something every US citizen is supposedly afforded thanks to the US Constitution. While we’re on the subject, there’s also the immensely powerful and imposing NDAA, which allows for INDEFINITE DETENTION, once again without due process, for anyone “suspected of terrorism.” Let’s play the what-if game again:
Imagine a teenager is hanging out with his friends in his neighborhood. They’re just shootin’ the shit outside, and our little buddy says he thinks the newest President is a “douche” and he wishes aloud “if only there was a way to get rid of him/her.” But what was that up in the sky? Why of course another spy drone; and although he did not see or hear it, it heard him. Perhaps he only meant he wished there was a way to impeach the President or somehow kick him/her out of office. Remember, he’s only a teenager. But, the drone heard: “This new President is a douche and I wish there was a way to get rid of him/her.” Two minutes later, a van pulls up, the Thought-Police snatch up our dear little buddy and he is gone, never to be heard from again. He never had a fighting chance in hell because he never got a trial to defend himself.
Just imagine, this is only the beginning and this all could be possible within the next 5-10 years, maybe sooner. Now imagine what our ever increasing police state could look like in another 71 years! I shudder just thinking about it; and that is why I hope I die before turning 101, because I don’t want to live to see that day.