Tuesday, May 15, 2012

QofD: And all in the name of security ... in good Orwellian style, the notion of an enemy, actual or potential, can be the device for justifying tyranny

Six column headlines still impressive Ah, what an interesting quote to see from the curmudgeon Anthony Burgess. The following comes from his good and provoking 1985. At once an insightful commentary on Orwell (and 1984), an inadvertent contrafactual history of a Thatcher-free The United Kingdom (aka TUK or TUC in this work) under the sway of oil-rich Arabs and paralyzing Unions.

The bit quoted comes near the book during an "interview" with the author. The description of United States, sadly, has more of an air of reality as we struggle - not with a Chinese assisted Communist revolution in Mexico - but with a more amorphous and at the same time very real "terrorist threat":
"What interests me is how a species of totalitarianism could come about in the United States through uneasiness about the enemy at the gates. A communist revolution in Mexico, helped by the Chinese, might set America dithering, looking for spies, deploying her immense cybernetic and electronic resources to keep citizens under surveillance. The enhanced power of the presidency, the temporary dissolution of Congress. Censorship. Dissident voices silenced. And all in the name of security. No war is necessary, only the threat of war and, in good Orwellian style, the notion of an enemy, actual or potential, can be the device for justifying tyranny.... More thorough frisking at airports and at cinema entrances and on railroad stations – indeed, everywhere: restrictions on human dignity in the name of human safety." [emphasis added]
- Anthony Burgess, 1985 (1978)


More than art

No comments: