Orwell’s telescreen and man’s fate

About 15 years ago, I was involved in a discussion about the Clinton health care plan, and someone on the anti-Clinton side asked this question of the people on the left: “Given that being fat is a disadvantage in life, should the state pay for personal trainers for overweight people to help them lose weight?” One of the liberals said yes. I then said something like this: “Given that under HillaryCare the state would be providing for people’s health care, wouldn’t the state, in order to control costs by keeping people healthy, have to have surveillance cameras in people’s homes to make sure they were exercising?” The same liberal said yes to this as well.

My interlocutor didn’t seem to be aware, or didn’t seem to mind, that that he was affirming the totalitarian vision in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four. And now reality has caught up with dystopian fantasy. We find out that the British government has installed surveillance cameras in the homes of 2,000 dysfunctional British families to check on how they’re handling such matters as diet and child care, and the government wants to expand the number to 20,000 homes.

I called it a dystopian fantasy, but it is really simple logic: to the extent that the government provides for our needs, it must control our lives. If it provides for all of our needs, it must control our lives totally.

- end of initial entry -

Jonathan W. writes:

I noticed this a few years ago when debating the merits of seatbelt and helmet laws. The common liberal argument in support of them is that if someone is badly injured in an accident, he will likely become a ward of the state and require state provided health care for the rest of his life. Government intervention always begets further government intervention. I think that liberals are very much aware of this and support the nanny state BECAUSE of it.

Rose writes:

I would have asked the liberal if he believed that the government, as a cost-saving measure and for the health of its citizens, should discourage anal intercourse between men, the number one cause of AIDS in the western world. It’s certainly a worse fate than heart disease.

LA replies:

Ahh, I did have an exchange just like that many years ago with a liberal.

I said to her, why do the government and the media so fiercely denounce smoking for its bad health effects, but are tolerant and accepting of homosexual conduct which leads to AIDS?

She replied that sexual conduct goes to the heart of what a person is, and so can’t be prohibited or condemned. The same is not true of smoking.

And her answer was exactly correct in liberal terms. Liberalism is about radical freedom of personal choice, particularly in the area of sex. Liberalism says that we are autonomous beings who choose our own values and create our own identity. Whether you smoke or not, whether you start up a business or not, does not, from the liberal point of view, define who you are. But what you do sexually, does. And therefore it is sacred.

Mike writes:

The insight about modern liberalism and sexuality is more fundamental than you realize. There is a much more sinister reason why sexuality is the only truly “sacred” freedom to modern liberals.

The cultural revolution, at least in terms of boots on the ground, was driven mostly by women. Many of the leaders were men, but that is to be expected. The significance of this is that, as a female-driven movement, it sought to accrue power for women. Nowhere but in the sexual arena is a woman’s power so overwhelming, perhaps even absolute. Therefore, by destroying or forcing equality in every other area (social, cultural, economic, etc.), and keeping sexuality “sacred” (even permitting abortions, in vitro, child support in order to make the power even more absolute), women aim to create a society where the only free market is the one they have cornered. When you have a monopoly on the only commodity anyone wants or needs, your leverage is infinite.

I’m not invoking some grand conspiracy theory here. Women know this innately. Sexual freedom increases women’s power. Any other freedom decreases it. In other cases where modern liberals pretend to stand up for “freedom,” like immigration, it’s only to increase the power of their political coalition. If there were a flood of conservative Afrikaaner white men coming into the country, liberals would be the first to militarize the border.

LA replies:

This is a new theory to me. I don’t know yet what I think about it.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 04, 2009 09:41 AM | Send

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