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the long road to serfdom

August 14, 2012

By now, it’s become rather cliche to invoke 1984 when talking about the budding US surveillance state; but the glaring similarities between Oceania and the US are simply too obvious to ignore. Many people seem to assume that the US could never get that bad since the book was obviously a critique of socialism and the Soviet Union, so there’s no need for us to worry about that ever happening here now that the Soviet Union is no more and capitalism has ‘won.’ But people tend to forget that Orwell wasn’t just critiquing the Soviet Union, he was critiquing aspects of the American and British empires as well. His real target was the growing threat of totalitarianism around the world, not socialism.

The seeds for a subservient totalitarian society aren’t necessarily sown overnight, and the slow but steady march of neoliberalism is proving itself just as capable of arriving at oligarchical collectivism as the totalitarian Stalinist bureaucracy that, in the mind of Orwell (who himself was a democratic socialist), betrayed the revolution. As our basic liberties and freedoms are quietly being sacrificed to Moloch by both parties under the guise of security, we’re merely taking the long road to serfdom.

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