We've Always Been At War With Eastasia

August 20, 2013

After reading David Miranda, schedule 7 and the danger that all reporters now face I couldn't but help be reminded of the serious insanity of the leaders in Orwell's 1984.

If you haven't read the story (and it hasn't been covered a lot in the mainstream press so far), the UK government after some amount of pressure apparently visited the Guardian newspapers and smashed all their hard drives in an "effort" to destroy Snowden articles and data.

When the guy from the UK government was quoted saying "You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more", I can't imagine a more classic 1984 moment. I wish I could draw, this would make an awesome poster.

I can't believe anyone would be stupid enough to think destroying a few MacBookPro's and whatever else they had would accomplish anything. It makes more sense that this was intended as some kind of intimidation but even that seems farfetched; unless you really are living in a world of your own imagination trying to intimidate people who are spread all over the world is never going to work.

But the world of 1984 made it clear that control of everything people see, hear and even think makes it much easier to keep people in line. I remember in the heady early days of the Web we thought it was liberating and made things so much more free. Like the popular culture of the late 60's (during which I was just a child) it turned out the freedom was mostly illusionary. It seems the Internet is a two-edged sword, making it both easier to be freely expressive and be freely suppressed.

It's weird to me that someone could come uninvited into your office and hammer all of your computers to bits without any recourse on your part. Sometimes I wonder what might happen if a government entity walked into your datacenter and destroyed all of your servers. Sure, you might have backups but would they be out of reach? If you used your backups to restore to a new set of servers would they also be a target? I can't believe I'm even writing such a paragraph.

I wonder if there is more to come, an even more outrageous attempt to put the animals back in the barn long after the barn was destroyed. Yet if 1984 is truly an operating manual for insane governments, there still remain a lot of pages of inspiration for future mayhem.

"You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more." is the most amazing statement I've read in a long time. If it was truly spoken like this, I hope we never hear anything like it again.