The new programs implemented by President Bush in order to protect Americans and discourage terrorist behavior have made evident the similarities between modern American society and Orwellian socialism as described in 1984. The Patriot Act has been the most significant of these post-9/11 measures. Americans' fear of economic decline and terrorist activity has allowed the government nearly free reign to disrupt the delicate system of checks and balances, expand their powers of surveillance and to declare war.
With the swift enactment of the Patriot Act, the government took the first significant step towards an Orwellian society. On October 6th, 2001 assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh proposed an act that would make sweeping changes to over 15 different statutes (EFF1); allow for an extreme expansion of surveillance of the American public (ACLU 3), increase the authority of the executive branch (Herman 4), and a grant of never before seen war powers. Originally, many congressmen were weary of such a bill, but after Attorney General Ashcroft warned that "terrorist attacks are imminent" and that Congress would be blamed if the bill was not passed immediately the bill was passed within a week (Center for National Security Studies 2). By the 12th of October both houses of Congress had passed nearly identical, unchanged versions of the bill. Bush maintains, however, that the programs were based on "the latest intelligence and how best to protect our country (Gerstenzang A3)."While Savage claims that The Act's
objective is to "lower the wall between intelligence gathering and criminal investigations (Savage A16)," the EFF disagrees, saying that there is "no evidence that our previous civil liberties posed barrier to effective tracking or prosecution of terrorists (EFF 2)" The
Patriot Act, like 1984's MiniTrue, has a name designed to gloss over the project's true meaning. In 1984, MiniTrue's objective is, ironically, to conceal the truth, replacing news stories with ones more positive to the party (Orwell 128). They take no concern to cover-up their lies, simply creating or erasing people like Comrade Ogilvy and expect the people to accept their lies (Orwell 42). Similarly, the "Patriot" Act actually denies Americans of many rights true "patriots" would have fought for. The Act has found a way to deny us of four amendments from possibly the most "patriotic" document we have; The Constitution (Herman 1) (US Constitution).
Surveillance measures have been the hardest pill to swallow of the Patriot Act's many upsetting directives. Through spy projects like TIPS, complex networks of government informants have been established with easy access to private homes. These "informants" will include postal workers, utility technicians and even your "cable guy" (ACLU 2). Similar to the "thought police" and the zealous citizens of Oceania in 1984, everyone around the common citizen seems to be watching, waiting for a neighbor to expose himself as a criminal by the...