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Amazon: '1984' book sales up 4000 percent since news of NSA spying

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 12 Jun 2013 12:52 User comments (13)

Amazon: '1984' book sales up 4000 percent since news of NSA spying Amazon has noted that sales of George Orwell's '1984' novel have jumped over 4000 percent since news hit of the U.S. government collecting personal data like phone records.
The popular book, written originally in 1948, is Orwell's look into a future where "Big Brother" government monitors and tracks their citizen's every move.

In Amazon's "Classics" section, the book is now up to #2, and overall it remains in top 100 best-sellers, moving from 11,800 last week.

The PRISM computer system, which was revealed to be used by the NSA (National Security Agency), allows access to data from video and audio messages, emails, phone calls and connection logs from companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple and others. Each of the companies has denied that the NSA has server-side access to their information.

Rival book retailer Barnes & Noble also says they have seen a "significant spike in sales recently as government surveillance and Orwell have been paired in the news," even though the book has long been a top seller.

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13 user comments

112.6.2013 13:05

While I am delighted that more people are reading Orwell (my favorite author), I am also disappointed that people drop words like "Orwell" and "Orwellian" so lightly.

If you read 1984, for example, it's quite clear that the modern United States, or any Western country, is still very much the polar opposite of the world of Oceania in 1984. In 1984, the government (The Party) controls the flow of information itself. History itself is rewritten by people sitting at desks, and whatever the Party says is true regardless of what you might remember... like being at war with Eurasia one week and allies with East Asia... only to have that change the next week to being at war with East Asia and allies with Eurasia. Not to mention the concept of "newspeak", a fictional language being developed that would stifle the ability to think freely and so on.

So when some kind of scandal hits where some jackass working for the government is caught snooping on people's private lives, there is a huge spike in the references to Orwell and that's simply ridiculous.

If you want to see 1984 in as close as possible to a real world example, sneak into North Korea.

212.6.2013 13:19

Quote:
If you want to see 1984 in as close as possible to a real world example, sneak into North Korea.
Very nice point: actually everything you said is pretty damn accurate.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Jun 2013 @ 13:21

312.6.2013 13:26

Originally posted by Dela:
While I am delighted that more people are reading Orwell (my favorite author), I am also disappointed that people drop words like "Orwell" and "Orwellian" so lightly.

If you read 1984, for example, it's quite clear that the modern United States, or any Western country, is still very much the polar opposite of the world of Oceania in 1984. In 1984, the government (The Party) controls the flow of information itself. History itself is rewritten by people sitting at desks, and whatever the Party says is true regardless of what you might remember... like being at war with Eurasia one week and allies with East Asia... only to have that change the next week to being at war with East Asia and allies with Eurasia. Not to mention the concept of "newspeak", a fictional language being developed that would stifle the ability to think freely and so on.

So when some kind of scandal hits where some jackass working for the government is caught snooping on people's private lives, there is a huge spike in the references to Orwell and that's simply ridiculous.

If you want to see 1984 in as close as possible to a real world example, sneak into North Korea.
NO it is NOT riduculous! If people do not stand up NOW to the Government and stop it, where do you actually think we will be in a few years? Right in Orwell's book!

There is a saying and it goes like this..."The only way evil can triumph is when good men stand by and DO NOTHING!"

Now I am not saying that this latest scandal is orwellian, but it DOES raise concerns about privacy. Concerns that should be addressed!

There is another saying that says:

"Some people will give up certain liberties for safety, these people deserve neither safety NOR liberty!

I imagine that it did not start out in Orwells book that the people of Oceania got that way overnight. Slowly through the process of TIME with liberties being taken away little by little they got that way.

A lot of dictatorships start that way also, so do not tell me there is absolutely nothing to be concerned about, because I think you are dead wrong on that!

There comes a time when you have to take a stance against the Government taking away your rights. People that fail to do this to me are simply cowards and DESERVE what they get.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Jun 2013 @ 13:28

412.6.2013 13:39

Originally posted by joebloe12:
Originally posted by Dela:
While I am delighted that more people are reading Orwell (my favorite author), I am also disappointed that people drop words like "Orwell" and "Orwellian" so lightly.

If you read 1984, for example, it's quite clear that the modern United States, or any Western country, is still very much the polar opposite of the world of Oceania in 1984. In 1984, the government (The Party) controls the flow of information itself. History itself is rewritten by people sitting at desks, and whatever the Party says is true regardless of what you might remember... like being at war with Eurasia one week and allies with East Asia... only to have that change the next week to being at war with East Asia and allies with Eurasia. Not to mention the concept of "newspeak", a fictional language being developed that would stifle the ability to think freely and so on.

So when some kind of scandal hits where some jackass working for the government is caught snooping on people's private lives, there is a huge spike in the references to Orwell and that's simply ridiculous.

If you want to see 1984 in as close as possible to a real world example, sneak into North Korea.
NO it is NOT riduculous! If people do not stand up NOW to the Government and stop it, where do you actually think we will be in a few years? Right in Orwell's book!

There is a saying and it goes like this..."The only way evil can triumph is when good men stand by and DO NOTHING!"

Now I am not saying that this latest scandal is orwellian, but it DOES raise concerns about privacy. Concerns that should be addressed!

There is another saying that says:

"Some people will give up certain liberties for safety, these people deserve neither safety NOR liberty!

I imagine that it did not start out in Orwells book that the people of Oceania got that way overnight. Slowly through the process of TIME with liberties being taken away little by little they got that way.

A lot of dictatorships start that way also, so do not tell me there is absolutely nothing to be concerned about, because I think you are dead wrong on that!

There comes a time when you have to take a stance against the Government taking away your rights. People that fail to do this to me are simply cowards and DESERVE what they get.

I'd like you to point out where I said there was nothing to be worried about.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want the NSA pooling data on me either, but when somebody tries to use the word "Orwellian" in the context of data mining, they've lost me. It actually cheapens the word "Orwellian", in much the way that I always get annoying when animals rights groups use the word "slavery" with regard to farm yard animals and pets.. it's not slavery.. sure they don't have total liberty but that is still NOT slavery, and it cheapens the meaning of the word. A word with that much power should never be degraded because there is still human beings living in bondage in areas of the world.

Now, in the context of the United States, the absolute authority on who rises to power and makes policy stops with the voter. Everything can be tracked back to voters. Even those who are appointed to roles within the Federal government without being voted for are appointed by people who were. People lose sight of that fact so easily. I read an article just today that showed poll results with the majority of respondents being OK with certain levels of phone surveillance in the fight against terrorism. That brings up the question of the liberty of the individual and the democratic rights of the collective.

This is not a new debate, the debate over where the government (law enforcement, homeland security, IRS etc.) can draw the line with investigative powers is as old as any republic.

I stand by what I said, using words like "Orwellian" does a disservice to the entire debate. It mirrors the hyper-partisanship at the heart of American politics, where the more extreme the criticism, the more vitriolic the attack, the more attention it gets.. FACTS be damned.

512.6.2013 13:51

Originally posted by Dela:
Originally posted by joebloe12:
Originally posted by Dela:
While I am delighted that more people are reading Orwell (my favorite author), I am also disappointed that people drop words like "Orwell" and "Orwellian" so lightly.

If you read 1984, for example, it's quite clear that the modern United States, or any Western country, is still very much the polar opposite of the world of Oceania in 1984. In 1984, the government (The Party) controls the flow of information itself. History itself is rewritten by people sitting at desks, and whatever the Party says is true regardless of what you might remember... like being at war with Eurasia one week and allies with East Asia... only to have that change the next week to being at war with East Asia and allies with Eurasia. Not to mention the concept of "newspeak", a fictional language being developed that would stifle the ability to think freely and so on.

So when some kind of scandal hits where some jackass working for the government is caught snooping on people's private lives, there is a huge spike in the references to Orwell and that's simply ridiculous.

If you want to see 1984 in as close as possible to a real world example, sneak into North Korea.
NO it is NOT riduculous! If people do not stand up NOW to the Government and stop it, where do you actually think we will be in a few years? Right in Orwell's book!

There is a saying and it goes like this..."The only way evil can triumph is when good men stand by and DO NOTHING!"

Now I am not saying that this latest scandal is orwellian, but it DOES raise concerns about privacy. Concerns that should be addressed!

There is another saying that says:

"Some people will give up certain liberties for safety, these people deserve neither safety NOR liberty!

I imagine that it did not start out in Orwells book that the people of Oceania got that way overnight. Slowly through the process of TIME with liberties being taken away little by little they got that way.

A lot of dictatorships start that way also, so do not tell me there is absolutely nothing to be concerned about, because I think you are dead wrong on that!

There comes a time when you have to take a stance against the Government taking away your rights. People that fail to do this to me are simply cowards and DESERVE what they get.

I'd like you to point out where I said there was nothing to be worried about.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want the NSA pooling data on me either, but when somebody tries to use the word "Orwellian" in the context of data mining, they've lost me. It actually cheapens the word "Orwellian", in much the way that I always get annoying when animals rights groups use the word "slavery" with regard to farm yard animals and pets.. it's not slavery.. sure they don't have total liberty but that is still NOT slavery, and it cheapens the meaning of the word. A word with that much power should never be degraded because there is still human beings living in bondage in areas of the world.

Now, in the context of the United States, the absolute authority on who rises to power and makes policy stops with the voter. Everything can be tracked back to voters. Even those who are appointed to roles within the Federal government without being voted for are appointed by people who were. People lose sight of that fact so easily. I read an article just today that showed poll results with the majority of respondents being OK with certain levels of phone surveillance in the fight against terrorism. That brings up the question of the liberty of the individual and the democratic rights of the collective.

This is not a new debate, the debate over where the government (law enforcement, homeland security, IRS etc.) can draw the line with investigative powers is as old as any republic.

I stand by what I said, using words like "Orwellian" does a disservice to the entire debate. It mirrors the hyper-partisanship at the heart of American politics, where the more extreme the criticism, the more vitriolic the attack, the more attention it gets.. FACTS be damned.

And I will stand BY WHAT I SAID! The moment you start to accept people taking away liberties a little at a time, you can have can orwellian world! You don't seem to grasp that. This is not about the US becoming oceania overnight, this is about dilligence in protecting our rights as Americans so America does not someday become an oceania!

Your other post acted like there was nothing wrong with what the Government did! I say there is plenty wrong with what they did.

And yes TO SOME DEGREE people are OK with SOME restrictions...however you do not point out that even those restrictions are heavily monitored by the authorities so they are not as free to be implimented on just anyone as you might think.

People have died for our freedoms, I do not think that taking a look at the Government and what it is doing and giving it a slap down by the people legally if it is needed is wrong!

And you calling people jackasses because they are concerned about their personal freedoms does not make you look much better.

612.6.2013 14:13

one my favorite authors.brilliant book.hey dela,have you read "keep the aspidistra flying". a real excercise in depression but a good read.dont think for a moment that the u.s. isnt there yet.they may very well just be better at it than north korea.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Jun 2013 @ 14:14

712.6.2013 14:18

Originally posted by joebloe12:
And I will stand BY WHAT I SAID! The moment you start to accept people taking away liberties a little at a time, you can have can orwellian world! You don't seem to grasp that. This is not about the US becoming oceania overnight, this is about dilligence in protecting our rights as Americans so America does not someday become an oceania!

Your other post acted like there was nothing wrong with what the Government did! I say there is plenty wrong with what they did.

And yes TO SOME DEGREE people are OK with SOME restrictions...however you do not point out that even those restrictions are heavily monitored by the authorities so they are not as free to be implimented on just anyone as you might think.

People have died for our freedoms, I do not think that taking a look at the Government and what it is doing and giving it a slap down by the people legally if it is needed is wrong!

And you calling people jackasses because they are concerned about their personal freedoms does not make you look much better.

If you actually read my post, I used the word jackass toward somebody snooping on the private lives of others. I didn't call people jackasses for being concerned about their rights or anything like that, stop making up straw man claims.

There are normal boundaries of liberty in free society by the way. You can own a gun because the constitution says you can bear arms, but you can't keep weapons grade plutonium or even far less poisonous and lethal materials in your home. The reason is not because some government shill wants to jerk off at taking your liberty away, it's because materials like that are deadly dangerous to both you and everybody who surrounds you. Nobody questions why you can't have high grade explosives in America, even though banning them by some interpretations is unconstitutional. Almost every law you look at is, in one way or another, determining the extend of individual rights. You can't do 100MPH in a school zone. You can't drive with busted tail lights. You can't perform lude acts in public. You must pay your share of income taxation. You cannot sell controlled substances and so on. All are, at their core, infringements on personal liberty. There is no society in the world where there is total personal liberty, the freedom and liberty of individuals or the collective are a constant debate.

Like I said, the debate has been going on forever about which trumps the other.. individual rights or the rights of the collective.... right to total privacy vs. security and so on. This is NOT new and it will go on long after this latest scandal goes out of favor of the media.

Lets take a look at a missed opportunity from an intelligence point of view. Tamarlan Tsarnaev travelled to Russia years ago and Russian intelligence observed that he was meeting with radicals. They contacted the FBI, told them about it and the FBI used their power to get an interview with him. They had no cause to detain him under the law. Tamarlan then travels to Russia to visit Chechnya again in 2012... at this point his name was on the terror watch list, but didn't raise any flags. If U.S. authorities knew he was going to Russia, they'd likely have tipped Russian intelligence who could have kept an eye on him and his movements and if he met with extremists again, that likely would have given U.S. authorities just cause to obtain a warrant to search his home and confiscate his computers etc.

Unfortunately, Tamarlan's named was spelled "Tsarnayev" on the watch list, and so no flags were raised, and he and his brother planted two bombs at the Boston Marathon instead.

Clearly, this was an intelligence failure, but what if his name was spelled correctly? Would you have preferred there was no watch list at the time and no net in which he could have been caught before he managed to carry out an act of terror?

To be clear, I'm not saying I totally support anti-terror measures.. but I'm showing you why there is a debate about them.

When it comes down to it, your vote is your ability to influence public policy. In America you have a presidential election every four years, mid term elections in between those for Congress.. and that's not even including the choice you have at the State and Local level. You have the judicial system to fight against government programs or laws if you wish to do so and there are countless groups that are doing it right now, with the ACLU having filed a lawsuit over the latest spying allegations.

The U.S. government is not some all powerful self-appointed entity, it is appointed by you, all of you. If you don't like the outcome of an election, tough, that's democracy. Even at that you still have plenty of protections under the constitution. Congress has powers to punish public figures who commit crimes etc. You are worlds away from a dictatorship, and this idea that there is some slow breadcrumb effort to turn America into a dictatorship in years and years time borders on paranoia, in my opinion.

But back on main point... the use of the word "Orwellian", and a link between the book "1984" and what the NSA is being investigated in doing now, is WEAK at best. The word "Orwellian" should be saved for a truly Orwellian society, like North Korea. Don't weaken or dampen the word for your own political point of view.

812.6.2013 15:02

Dela's right Joebloe12. Whilst we should always be vigilant, the importance of living in a democracy is woefully unappreciated.

For instance, the last time a democracy declared war on another democracy was when England briefly went to war with Finland (I think) at the beginning of WW2.


PS: Excellent post Dela.


Its a lot easier being righteous than right.


DSE VZ300-
Zilog Z80 CPU, 32KB RAM (16K+16K cartridge), video processor 6847, 2KB video RAM, 16 colours (text mode), 5.25" FDD

912.6.2013 17:35

and so... life goes on. we work, pay our bills and taxes, then we die.

1012.6.2013 21:11

Originally posted by Dela:
Originally posted by joebloe12:
And I will stand BY WHAT I SAID! The moment you start to accept people taking away liberties a little at a time, you can have can orwellian world! You don't seem to grasp that. This is not about the US becoming oceania overnight, this is about dilligence in protecting our rights as Americans so America does not someday become an oceania!

Your other post acted like there was nothing wrong with what the Government did! I say there is plenty wrong with what they did.

And yes TO SOME DEGREE people are OK with SOME restrictions...however you do not point out that even those restrictions are heavily monitored by the authorities so they are not as free to be implimented on just anyone as you might think.

People have died for our freedoms, I do not think that taking a look at the Government and what it is doing and giving it a slap down by the people legally if it is needed is wrong!

And you calling people jackasses because they are concerned about their personal freedoms does not make you look much better.

If you actually read my post, I used the word jackass toward somebody snooping on the private lives of others. I didn't call people jackasses for being concerned about their rights or anything like that, stop making up straw man claims.

There are normal boundaries of liberty in free society by the way. You can own a gun because the constitution says you can bear arms, but you can't keep weapons grade plutonium or even far less poisonous and lethal materials in your home. The reason is not because some government shill wants to jerk off at taking your liberty away, it's because materials like that are deadly dangerous to both you and everybody who surrounds you. Nobody questions why you can't have high grade explosives in America, even though banning them by some interpretations is unconstitutional. Almost every law you look at is, in one way or another, determining the extend of individual rights. You can't do 100MPH in a school zone. You can't drive with busted tail lights. You can't perform lude acts in public. You must pay your share of income taxation. You cannot sell controlled substances and so on. All are, at their core, infringements on personal liberty. There is no society in the world where there is total personal liberty, the freedom and liberty of individuals or the collective are a constant debate.

Like I said, the debate has been going on forever about which trumps the other.. individual rights or the rights of the collective.... right to total privacy vs. security and so on. This is NOT new and it will go on long after this latest scandal goes out of favor of the media.

Lets take a look at a missed opportunity from an intelligence point of view. Tamarlan Tsarnaev travelled to Russia years ago and Russian intelligence observed that he was meeting with radicals. They contacted the FBI, told them about it and the FBI used their power to get an interview with him. They had no cause to detain him under the law. Tamarlan then travels to Russia to visit Chechnya again in 2012... at this point his name was on the terror watch list, but didn't raise any flags. If U.S. authorities knew he was going to Russia, they'd likely have tipped Russian intelligence who could have kept an eye on him and his movements and if he met with extremists again, that likely would have given U.S. authorities just cause to obtain a warrant to search his home and confiscate his computers etc.

Unfortunately, Tamarlan's named was spelled "Tsarnayev" on the watch list, and so no flags were raised, and he and his brother planted two bombs at the Boston Marathon instead.

Clearly, this was an intelligence failure, but what if his name was spelled correctly? Would you have preferred there was no watch list at the time and no net in which he could have been caught before he managed to carry out an act of terror?

To be clear, I'm not saying I totally support anti-terror measures.. but I'm showing you why there is a debate about them.

When it comes down to it, your vote is your ability to influence public policy. In America you have a presidential election every four years, mid term elections in between those for Congress.. and that's not even including the choice you have at the State and Local level. You have the judicial system to fight against government programs or laws if you wish to do so and there are countless groups that are doing it right now, with the ACLU having filed a lawsuit over the latest spying allegations.

The U.S. government is not some all powerful self-appointed entity, it is appointed by you, all of you. If you don't like the outcome of an election, tough, that's democracy. Even at that you still have plenty of protections under the constitution. Congress has powers to punish public figures who commit crimes etc. You are worlds away from a dictatorship, and this idea that there is some slow breadcrumb effort to turn America into a dictatorship in years and years time borders on paranoia, in my opinion.

But back on main point... the use of the word "Orwellian", and a link between the book "1984" and what the NSA is being investigated in doing now, is WEAK at best. The word "Orwellian" should be saved for a truly Orwellian society, like North Korea. Don't weaken or dampen the word for your own political point of view.
It seems you are taking EXTREMES and going WAY OVERBOARD with what I stated. I NEVER EVER stated it would be OK to build a nuclear bomb for example, that was plainly STUPID of you to go to those extremes. It is not OK to murder someone either but what does THAT have to do with what we are discussing?

And let me point out TO YOU that Republicans are now trying to change the rules of certian voting territories to be in their favor, so don't even TRY to tell me that everyone that votes are going to be counted and that changes everything because I think you are wrong!

But let me make this point and I could care less if you agree with it or not, that's TOUGH! But if we do not keep our officials under wraps then, YES, an orwellian world could come into being! It is not impossible like you seem to think it is.

You are focused on the here and now and have your head buried in the sand about what it means for the future, if you ignore liberties being taken away NOW!

I am telling you here and now that personal liberties are NOT taken away overnight as you seem to believe. It takes time. And I am not talking about idiotic illegal CRIMES...there is a difference in CRIMES and wanting personal liberties...you understand that right?

Crimes you seem to think should be thrown IN with the topic of what we are discussing which is how far will the Government go to take away citizens rights...not criminals rights!!

And to Jemborg....I think we ARE appreciating our rights by standing up for them and not let them be taken away by the Government! Some people do not understand that when you accept at face value everything the Government says is true, you run the risk of giving said Government TOO MUCH POWER! 'nuff said.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Jun 2013 @ 21:13

1112.6.2013 23:57

Democracy is a work in progress Joe... it's not perfect by it nature.

Churchill said: "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

Sure, your country's heading down the road to luna-right fascism if you fail to be vigilant. The removal of voting rights of citizens IS a real worry. In my country Oz it's compulsory for everyone to vote. The move to an anti-democratic Objectivist dystopia is not a realistic solution either.


Its a lot easier being righteous than right.


DSE VZ300-
Zilog Z80 CPU, 32KB RAM (16K+16K cartridge), video processor 6847, 2KB video RAM, 16 colours (text mode), 5.25" FDD

1213.6.2013 16:15

"Any Government that claims the right to decide who the Enemies of Democracy or Republic are; Those are the early trappings of Fascism"

"Allowing the US Govt to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing the TRUTH by Whistleblowers is contrary to Democracy"

Is no Democracy in U.S. when the 2 parties control everything or when the Rich Republicans rule the Democrats or by no allowing a 3th. political party to compete equally (Debates, etc.).

THE WHOLE DEMOCRACY SHOW IS SOLD TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AS "PATRIOTIC" PURE LIE BY THE RICH PEOPLE CONTROLLING (Behind) THE U.S. GOVERNMENT: 1%, Corporations & Govt. Contractors leaches who suck all the blood, taxes & $$$ from us.

To make the Story short:
War on Terror brainwash is the main reason for profits by the U.S. Govt. Contractors just like it was the War On Drugs.
Anti terrorist measure will not stop another terrorist attack 'cos they are unpredictable and the U.S. Govt. is incapable to do a good job to "Protect" anyone.

The CIA no even know who or how many they are killing every day using Drone strikes:
http://rt.com/usa/cia-drone-strikes-unknown-targets-293/

We have more honesty from Edward Snowden in 1 article than from 12 years of the White-House press release. VIDEO:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl...d&v=syhhOuWIHWo

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Jun 2013 @ 16:48

Live Free or Die.
The rule above all the rules is: Survive !
Capitalism: Funnel most of the $$$ to the already rich.

1313.6.2013 19:02

Originally posted by joebloe12:
It seems you are taking EXTREMES and going WAY OVERBOARD with what I stated. I NEVER EVER stated it would be OK to build a nuclear bomb for example, that was plainly STUPID of you to go to those extremes. It is not OK to murder someone either but what does THAT have to do with what we are discussing?

And let me point out TO YOU that Republicans are now trying to change the rules of certian voting territories to be in their favor, so don't even TRY to tell me that everyone that votes are going to be counted and that changes everything because I think you are wrong!

But let me make this point and I could care less if you agree with it or not, that's TOUGH! But if we do not keep our officials under wraps then, YES, an orwellian world could come into being! It is not impossible like you seem to think it is.

You are focused on the here and now and have your head buried in the sand about what it means for the future, if you ignore liberties being taken away NOW!

I am telling you here and now that personal liberties are NOT taken away overnight as you seem to believe. It takes time. And I am not talking about idiotic illegal CRIMES...there is a difference in CRIMES and wanting personal liberties...you understand that right?

Crimes you seem to think should be thrown IN with the topic of what we are discussing which is how far will the Government go to take away citizens rights...not criminals rights!!

And to Jemborg....I think we ARE appreciating our rights by standing up for them and not let them be taken away by the Government! Some people do not understand that when you accept at face value everything the Government says is true, you run the risk of giving said Government TOO MUCH POWER! 'nuff said.

I'm not going to the extreme at all (you don't need caps lock btw, I'm not visually challenged). The fact is that in the most glaring example of a liberties debate in America, the second amendment, the proponents of firearms call any form of gun control government infringement on personal rights to own weapons, and unconstitutional at that. But if they are right about guns based on a couple of lines from the constitution, then you could make the same argument that you should be able to possess high grade explosives too, and assault rifles and so on. Yet, you can't. So is the government enforcing an unconstitutional policy with regard to high grade explosives and assault rifles?

My point is not to argue in favor of any kind of weapons ownership or against it, my point is that society decides the level of personal liberty all the time, in almost all debates on almost all issues. Like I said, almost every single law made by every level of government sets a bar, a line that citizens are told you cannot cross, or a mandate, such as a tax you must pay, insurance you must have and so on. Living in society means living in the confines of rules made by the collective.. the only areas exempt from collective democratic choice involve the most basic rights, like the right to life. Everything else is negotiable in society... in the gun debate so many proponents forget that its called the second "AMENDMENT", meaning it was added later, and any amendment that passes the required criteria can be made to the constitution. Hence, the responsibility lies ultimately with the voters because you elect the people you want to represent you and make decisions.

There has been cheap talk of "armed revolt" ever since the rise of the so called tea party movement in the United States in 2010. The idea that a country could democratically elect its leaders, then lead an armed revolt against them, is frankly ridiculous. In order for a government to have sinned so badly against its citizens to require an armed overthrow, it would have to have carried out actions that were clearly unconstitutional in the first place, and the thing about the constitution is it can sometimes take court after court after court, right up to the supreme court to determine whether something is unconstitutional. Even in this NSA case at the moment, the opinion on constitutionality of the actions taken differs based on a person's political views, so opponents like the EFF say its downright unconstitutional, yet proponents say no it's not unconstitutional and accuse the EFF and the media of hyperbole etc.

Remember, you don't "exactly" live in a democracy, you elect leaders to a fixed term in office and in cases have the ability to chuck them out mid-term.. what they do in the mean time provided that they don't break the law is ultimately down to the fact that you selected them in the first place. Imagine a society where every single decision made by a leader needed popular approval.. sounds great doesn't it? Only it would be CHAOS.. you'd never pass a budget, for example, because nobody can get everything they want. Every President or representative pisses off somebody with every single decision they make.

You don't have to tell me about undemocratic practices in America though, I absolutely agree that shady strategies to manipulate the outcome of elections should be illegal. The effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans to fix an almost non-existent problem (voter fraud) is shameful and needs to be addressed. As are gerrymandering tactics where the districts are drawn up in a deliberate manner to make it more likely that a candidate will win and go to congress... that is a bipartisan problem though republicans do take part in it more than democrats currently. But on disenfranchising voters.. you must also remember here that normal checks and balances DID interrupt such efforts, with state and federal courts declaring voter ID laws and other things unconstitutional, in that case the system did actually work most of the time. Also remember in those cases, it was efforts at the STATE level to block people from voting, so now you also have to question what power the FEDERAL government has to tell the state what it can and cannot do. Again, the debate over power, over liberty, over sovereignty and rights plays out in those cases.



One thing I observe from your responses to me is you appear to think I disagree with things you say for the lowest possible moral reason, or because I'm ignorant or whatever. That's why politics are so messed up, it's become less about the substance of the debate and far more about the people making arguments. It's easier to say things like "Obama is a socialist" than to describe HOW he's a socialist, and republicans get the same shit from democrats all the time ---> "You don't support government funding for aftercare programs for kids??? WHAT? YOU DON'T LIKE KIDS?? REPUBLICANS HATE KIDS!!" etc.

My initial point is that when words like "Orwellian" are so easily thrown around, they lose their meaning. Take for example feminism, and the use of the word "patriarchy" with regard to some cases of gender inequality in the Western World. In reality, a real Patriarchy would be observed in Saudi Arabia, where women are forced to cover almost every inch of their body and have to be accompanied by men at all times, can be beaten etc. That's why the word "patriarchy" should not be used in the context of.. "Why are there more men on corporate boards than women?"

In the same way, Orwellian to describe data mining cheapens the term. An Orwellian society exists, it's called North Korea. The United States is not even 1% of an Orwellian society, in the context of the Orwellian world in 1984. These practices by the NSA and other National Security divisions will be investigated internally, then at the congressional level, will be put to public scrutiny in the media and will also likely result in dozens of legal challenges in the courts. The system is there to address the concerns, to get a clear picture of what's going on rather than jumping to conclusions, to look at the facts and the evidence because they trump all else whether it is a person's political opinion or an assertion made by someone. There will be dozens of ruling, decisions and findings based on the scandal.. and they will even conflict with each other.

In public, people will continue the debate about security and the protection of civil liberties, because at the end of the day nothing is black and white, nothing is perfect, nobody is right all the time and a broken clock is right twice a day.

It might have been helpful, for example, if authorities had been able to pry deeper into the life of Zacarias Moussaoui in 2001 when he was detained on immigration violations. Concerns were raised about him because he was seeking to learn to fly, but he wasn't all that interested in taking off or landing. When he was arrested in August 2001, there was a Boeing 747 flight manual, some knives and other things, and a laptop found in the car. Based on the concerns, the Feds sought permission to do a digital analysis on his laptop hard drive.. but were turned down. They also requested to search his home, and were turned down. 9/11 conspiracy theorists point to this as evidence that there was government involvement... but in reality, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) prior to the PATRIOT Act did not give the feds power to search either his computer or his home.

Thus, they missed an opportunity to link him not just to other 9/11 conspirators, but also to Ahmed Ressam, the al Queda terrorist who was thwarted before he could carry out an attack during the millennium celebrations in the United States.... at the time Ressam was cooperating with the the Federal government to attempt to gain a more lenient sentence, and he could identify Zacarias Moussaoui later on. So, the Feds actually had a 9/11 conspirator in custody a month before the attacks, and because of his civil liberties and regulations on surveillance, they missed an opportunity to prevent the largest aerial attack on American soil in its history. Could the cost of Moussaoui's civil liberties be 3,000 innocent lives??? I admit, that's a loaded question and there's more to it than that, but it proves a point, there must ALWAYS be a debate about these issues, and there always will be. It's simply nothing new, it's just morphed over time as technology has changed.

People quote Thomas Jefferson, who I am very fond of, a lot when it comes to personal liberty. Even though, like I said I like him, we must also remember a few facts. Firstly, this man who is apparently an authority on liberty, owned slaves (hundreds of them) regardless of what's quoted about him on slavery. That means he deprived hundreds of people of their basic personal and civil liberties, willingly, for his own personal gain (he owned plantations). The second thing to remember is Thomas Jefferson lived in a different world... the most sophisticated and powerful weapons were cannons.. people bearing arms meant single-shot long-reload rifles that were intended to be kept in case of invasion by the British or any European colonial power. Nuclear weapons didn't exist in his day... planes didn't either, nor did anything resembling electronic communication. So his words in this context are almost meaningless, he's from a different era, a different world etc.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Jun 2013 @ 19:09

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