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The Orwellian US
    #3192670 - 09/28/04 08:12 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

The Orwellian US
by Gail Jarvis

Journalists often compare contemporary society to the totalitarian social order described in George Orwell?s disturbing novel 1984. Orwell portrayed the state as being all-powerful, controlling every aspect of citizens' lives. When the novel was first published in 1949, few people could conceive of such a society. Most felt that citizens simply wouldn't allow it. Of course, if the state had attempted to implement a totalitarian society overnight, angry citizens might have prevented it. But the state cautiously enacts its takeovers incrementally, so as to not arouse the public. Also, it is able to persuade people that the agenda it is pursuing is for their own good or for the betterment of society. Consequently, little resistance is offered.

Of course, you already know how the state operates but I wanted to remind you again before discussing three invasive government proposals that will seriously encroach on our freedoms. In fact, these three, if they materialize, should make us turn off the TV, put down the remote control, get off the couch and take to the streets.

The first has been reported on LRC by both Rep. Ron Paul and Wendy McElroy: the "New Freedom Commission on Mental Health" that proposes a governmental mandate requiring mental-health screening for all Americans, including public schoolchildren and even pre-school children, with or without parental consent. Rep. Paul criticized the proposal as follows: "...it negates parental rights and would encourage the over-medication of children." Although this law would provide a windfall for the pharmaceutical industry and greatly enlarge the Washington bureaucracy, it would be a disaster for Americans especially families.

The excessive use of antidepressants by children was the subject of recent editorial by The Beaufort Gazette that contained this comment: "A growing body of research, some of it performed by the FDA's own experts, but suppressed until recently, indicates that children and teenagers may be at risk for suicidal tendencies after taking antidepressants that were approved for use in adult patients." Ritalin (methylphenidate), one of the primary drugs used to control children, is addictive and has serious side effects. Methylphenidate is already being abused by young drug users. When mixed with heroin, it is called a "speedball" and is illegally sold on the street for a "quick-fix."

The second encroachment, still in the discussion stage, is for government to monitor homeschooling more aggressively. But homeschooling is already subject to government scrutiny, including enforced testing requirements and so forth. Frankly, the word "monitor" raises a red flag because government monitoring usually evolves into government control. Public schools, or perhaps the more appropriate designation that has been suggested, "government schools," blend indoctrination with education and imprudently rely on the latest untested teaching fads.

These are some of the reasons why many parents elect to home school their children. But Washington bureaucrats won?t rest until they are able to control the curricula, philosophy and teaching techniques of home schooling.

Finally, there is the "American Community Survey," a new annual census report which has been described as "an attempt to invade every aspect of our lives." The questionnaire is a breathtaking 24 pages long and contains all-encompassing questions dealing with such issues as "a person's job, income, physical and emotional health, family status, and intimate personal and private habits." Questions demand to know how many days you were sick last year, whether you have trouble getting up the stairs, and, curiously, what time you leave for work each morning. You must give the names and addresses of your friends and relatives and answer inappropriate questions about them as well. If others live in your home, you are required to indicate how many years of school they completed; when they last worked at a job, what languages they speak, and their physical and emotional problems.

So, what happens if you, like me, think these questions are none of the government's business and you don't want to become an informer on your friends and relatives? Your noncompliance will cost you big bucks. For every question not answered, there is a $100 fine. For every intentionally false answer, there is a $500 fine and Washington bureaucrats will decide whether the false answer was intentional or not.

These three proposals amount to a bureaucratic inquisition. And I don?t think I exaggerate when I call them Orwellian. Once implemented their scope will be gradually expanded. Our children will, in essence, become wards of the state, even while they are still pre-schoolers. The state will decide if the behavior, thought processes and opinions of our children are suitable. If not, they may need to be drugged or subjected to corrective tutoring. Home schooling will be forced to conform its curricula and philosophy with government schooling so all students? beliefs can be made uniform. Expanded surveillance of citizens will be used to help Washington identify those whom it suspects are resisting government efforts to "protect" our freedoms and "improve" society. Once these noncompliant citizens are known, bureaucrats can decide what measures should be taken to modify their insubordination.

Our apathetic representatives in Washington, Republicans as well as Democrats, have no qualms about supporting proposals like these. Yet they expect us to continue to return them to office.

September 27, 2004

Gail Jarvis [send him mail], a CPA living in Beaufort, SC, is an advocate of the voluntary union of states established by the founders.

Copyright ? 2004 LewRockwell.com



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Re: The Orwellian US [Re: Zahid]
    #3192910 - 09/28/04 08:54 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

The first paragraph made me go, "huh?".
Orwell was writing about soviet Russia, and I think most of his readers knew this.

The article does raise some great points, but there are a few things in it that are a little sketchy.

Ritalin (methylphenidate), one of the primary drugs used to control children, is addictive and has serious side effects. Methylphenidate is already being abused by young drug users. When mixed with heroin, it is called a "speedball" and is illegally sold on the street for a "quick-fix."

Ritalin's side effects are rarely serious, so that's kind of an odd claim to make. Despite the fact that it's wildly overprescribed, when it is used in the right situations, it can be a miracle. I'm sure you've all known some kid who was put on the stuff, and didn't really change at all, but for every ten of those kids, there's one who was completely unable to sit still or accomplish any schoolwork before ritalin. (Oh, and a 'speedball' usually refers to cocaine and heroin, but way to throw a little drug war hysteria into the mix).

Not to say that parents shouldn't have control over what mental health treatment their children receive, but there are children out there who aren't receiving the care that they should be because their parents have bought into anti-psychiatry propaganda. Just because a drug is overprescribed doesn't mean that there are situations when it is extremely helpful or even necessary to someone's mental health.

Public schools, or perhaps the more appropriate designation that has been suggested, "government schools," blend indoctrination with education and imprudently rely on the latest untested teaching fads.

I'd like to see some sort of data behind these claims as well. Relying on "untested teaching fads"? Generally, new "fads" in teaching come about as a result of a few scientific studies. The author doesn't seem to attempt to give us any examples.

"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson

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Re: The Orwellian US [Re: Phluck]
    #3193177 - 09/28/04 09:52 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

Orwell was not writing about Soviet Russia with 1984. Though, Animal Farm was a satire on Russian Revolution. 1984 was just a story Orwell wrote about a totalitarian government.


"What business is it of yours what I do, read, buy, see, say, think, who I fuck, what I take into my body - as long as I do not harm another human being on this planet?" - Bill Hicks

Edited by bellylard (09/28/04 09:53 PM)

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