Tag Archives: totalitarianism

The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control

Rather chilling information from The Guardian

At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US, says whistleblower William Binney – that’s a ‘totalitarian mentality’

David Horowitz on books about rebel lives

From The Wall Street Journal:

When Skateboards
Will Be Free

By Saïd Sayrafiezadeh (2009)

1. This intensely poignant, beautifully rendered memoir tells the story of a child brought up in a Trotskyist family in America. The author’s mother (nee Finkelstein) was a member of the Socialist Workers Party who, in the 1960s, married a fellow party member, an Iranian-born graduate student who left her nine months after Saïd was born. Told by the author without recrimination, the story opens a window onto the bizarre universe of a radical who thinks and acts as if “the revolution” is around the corner while her child has to live among the aliens inhabiting the real world. The flavor of this affecting tale is captured in the title anecdote: The narrator, who fervently desires a skateboard, is denied this wish by his mother, who tells him that the $11 price is a form of capitalist theft and that he needs to wait for the revolutionary day “when skateboards will be free.” This book gave me shivers each time I picked it up.

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Aldous Huxley: the prophet of our brave new digital dystopia

From The Guardian:

CS Lewis may be getting a plaque. But Huxley, for his foretelling of a society that loves servitude, is the true visionary.

Another quote regarding Huxley’s Brave New World:

It is set in the London of the distant future – AD 2540 – and describes a fictional society inspired by two things: Huxley’s imaginative extrapolation of scientific and social trends; and his first visit to the US, in which he was struck by how a population could apparently be rendered docile by advertising and retail therapy…Huxley’s dystopia is a totalitarian society, ruled by a supposedly benevolent dictatorship whose subjects have been programmed to enjoy their subjugation through conditioning and the use of a narcotic drug – soma – that is less damaging and more pleasurable than any narcotic known to us. The rulers of Brave New World have solved the problem of making people love their servitude.

People “in love with their servitude,” seems a fitting description for a large portion of American society addicted to Facebook, Google, Twitter, and texting, not that the NSA notices any of this, of course.

Read the whole thing at the Guardian link.

“The Stranger Who Resembles Us”—Albert Camus

From The Chronicle Review:

Camus was remarkable witness to his times. Like George Orwell, he was right about the plagues of the era—totalitarianism and Communism. Also like Orwell, Camus’s lucid gaze, blunt honesty, and persistent humanity have made him as discomfiting and indispensable since his death in 1960 as he was during his short life.

I think the title of this piece is misleading. Camus was an intelligent rebel…we don’t seem to be witnessing much of that today.

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Book Review—To Wander The Labyrinth, by Brian Peters

To Wander The Labyrinth—

One of the great things about this book is that early on, the reader realizes the the protagonist of the story tortures people. This is not your typical main character of a novel. His name is Clay and he is an interrogator for the “agency,” a part of a totalitarian government that appears to be the United States at some future time, mainly because the characters speak “American.” It’s a place where people that disagree with the state disappear, where dead bodies are thrown in trucks and discarded, never to be heard from again. The author, Brian Peters, doesn’t clarify where or when this is, or whether it is a right-wing or left-wing dystopian world, but history tells us with great clarity that totalitarianism can come from both ends of the spectrum, so it hardly matters. When people are treated as property in service of the state, and anyone who disagrees is the enemy, to be dealt with by any means necessary, you’ve got totalitarianism.

Also interesting is that the victim in this chapter-less book, Maya, becomes the main character that could possibly bring redemption to Clay, a man with serious “issues,” a man whose humanity is in question. How could he not have issues, given his personal history? After all, he wrote the book on the best methods to secure needed information—in Maya’s case, “data” of unknown content, but obviously significant in the suspenseful story that unfolds. Over time, we get a sense of the deep psychological damage done to Clay, by his chosen profession.

There are minor characters revealed, but we never know much about them, only that which helps move the story along.

The book is only two-hundred thirty-eight pages long and it is crisp writing, sparse in details, and with sharp dialog—a quick read. The title is an excellent choice, and its sparseness is what I liked about the book. The author treats the reader as an adult and allows one to fill in the pieces that aren’t clarified…to use one’s imagination. And I thought the ending was as it should have been. For a quick suspenseful and very different novel, Brian Peters’ first novel is definitely worth a look.

 

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‘Prick the Bubbles, Pass the Mantle: Hitchens as Orwell’s Successor’

From the Humanist:

The importance of Hitchens’ point cannot be overstated: any subject can reach a state of worship at which criticism and free thought is threatened. (Orwell’s willingness to critique Gandhi on some points while praising him on others was along similar lines.) The general principle occurs more subtly as well, and should be taken further to stress that in all matters we’re capable of duping ourselves.

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‘Haunted by The Handmaid’s Tale’

From the Guardian:

It has been banned in schools, made into a film and an opera, and the title has become a shorthand for repressive regimes against women…Some books haunt the reader. Others haunt the writer. “The Handmaid’s Tale” has done both.

 

Read the whole thing at the link.

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