Safety Versus Freedom Essay
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: United States, Literature, Monitoring, Writing, America, Big Brother, Camera, Brother
1984 by George Orwell: The bent of the writing is very pessimistic. On page 246, the description of the environment, the mention of the gritty dust and smell of boiled cabbage is a very disheartening and a very scary look at what the future holds. The fact that there is rationing of electricity also paints a dismal picture. At the same time, the fact that the telescreen is working adds to the intrusive power of “Big brother is watching”. The main character, Winston Smith’s physical description “a smallish frail figure, the meagerness of his body emphasized by the blue overalls”, robs the text of any optimism. As described in page 247, the patrol helicopters monitoring everyone and every activity lend a sense of hopelessness deprivation of human rights. The party slogans mentioned on page 248,”WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY AND IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”, are the very opposite of what one has been brought up to believe in and very arrogant. Overall, the picture painted through words is emphasizing the power of the government or party in this case, the abject living conditions of the normal citizen, and the lack of basic amenities and scarcity of food. A gloomy picture indeed.
9/11 Random Notes by Paul Auster: The description of the September 11 2001 twin tower tragedy is very matter of fact. The whole text is one of subdued aggression coupled with a sense of personal loss. It also speaks of the unpreparedness of the government agencies and the common man in anticipating and preventing such an attack and consequent tragedy. The fact that people lost their beloved ones in a senseless act and the frightening ramifications of this on the United States generates a dream like sense of disbelief. That this could happen now, and perhaps get repeated.
The United States Of Boo, by Michael Moore: The writing is sarcastic, humorous, critical and has touches of Irony. It aptly describes the efforts of the leaders of the United States in blowing the threat of terrorism out of all rational proportions. The author clearly finds it very difficult to accept the fact that terrorism can be the biggest threat to human life in the US. This is amply demonstrated in page 168, when the leaders are quoted as saying that this is “war against terror.” Here the author is trying to point out through everyday examples on how the American public’s mind is diverted from more critical and real issues, and the government is using scarce funds to fight an imaginary war, at the cost of depriving citizens of their more pressing needs. There is a fear psychosis being created in the average American’s mind on how everyday things should be looked at with a suspicious eye and that any and everything can be related to a terrorist threat. And all this, to make the world accept Americanism and its many quirks, by force if deemed necessary.
Big Brother’s Eyes by William D. Eggers and Eve Tushnet: The language used here is simple to understand and quite persuasive. The words flow smoothly and the whole writing is done in a competent and progressive manner. It is almost as if the writers are hand holding the readers through their ideas and research.
The topic is red hot. This is uppermost in most American’s minds now, especially after the U.S governments’ involvement in similar activities which became public. It is a very necessary subject for discussion by all since the ambit of the topic encompasses everyone. Also this is almost the beginning and development on these lines will only happen through contributions by all, whether it is technological knowledge, fears and uncertainties, points of views or opposition.
The various circumstances under which cameras and similar biometric equipment are used for monitoring are examined. From here, it is apparent that though monitoring through surveillance cameras had existed for quite a while now, the full import of their various uses are slowly coming to light. A lot of good can happen through systematic surveillance like preventing crimes and assaults, identifying culprits through footage, preventing frauds, identifying persons, monitoring traffic and risky activities.
The writers intentions are to bring to fore in a systematic manner how these cameras and such technology have been used in the past and how they can be used in the future. There are a lot of plusses and a few minuses. The writers have taken us through the different scenarios on how this technology can be used for and also some where they can infringe on an individuals’ privacy. Also suggested are the framework and means of keeping this within the legal parameters.
For the readers, this is an eye opener. The writing provides clarity of thought and a concern for an issue which is common for all. As examined here, what is more precious? Our liberties of actions, or to have some controls in place? This also brings the question of whether feeling safe is more important or feeling hidden from the prying eyes of Big Brother. One thing must be kept in mind here, that this technology has immense scope and temptation for abuse. And as the writers put it, someone has to “watch the watchers”.