Footnote on "Big Brother"

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "The time to ring the alarms bells is not when Big Brother is in place but when there are the first signs of its construction."

The new centralised database is the first step in the creation of "EU Big Brother". The concept of Big Brother is taken from "1984" the book by George Orwell (Wiki, link) where the "state wherein the ruling Party wields total power "for its own sake" over the inhabitants." Orwell set the story in a totalitarian state:

"Totalitarianism is a political concept where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to control every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible. Totalitarian regimes stay in political power through rule by one leader and an all-encompassing propaganda campaign, which is disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, a single party that is often marked by political repression, personality cultism, control over the economy, regulation and restriction of speech, mass surveillance and widespread use of terror."

In 1984 Orwell encapsulated another key feature in the construction of Big Brother which employs Thought crime (link) to maintain hegemony. And tellingly argued that:

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

To be sure we do not live in a totalitarian state. Yet I have argued elsewhere in The Shape of Things to Come (2008, pdf) that:

"The creation of a surveillance state, for that is what is being proposed, will take the EU further down the road to authoritarianism, a path which looks less and less likely to be reversible."

I argued too that authoritarianism - strong central power and limited political freedoms. Individual freedoms are subordinated to the state and where there is little or no constitutional accountability - when coupled with state racism (based on the fear of "the other") is a very dangerous road especially when a veneer of democracy is legitimating the creation of a coercive (and surveillance) state, See: "While Europe sleeps..." (pdf) in The War on Freedom and Democracy", (2005)


 

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