Monday, August 31, 2009

Big Brother is watching you

Actually, I am left to wonder how many people even know who Big Brother is or the reference in pop culture. As I talk with people, I have come to realize that many of them understand the Big Brother refers to an overly intrusive government but many fewer know where the term first originated. I guess that 1984 is not necessarily required reading these days. It almost makes me feel old since it was required reading when I was in school. But on the flip side, it gives a very gripping picture of life under a very controlling and authoritarian government. It is not something to which many Americans are accustomed, especially those who were born or grew up after the end of the Cold War. But it is something that seems to is generating a new level of attention within the parameters of the Obama administration and the recent health care debate. A major part of the debate concerning health care relates to the concerns of a large, intrusive government running the medical system.

This concern may seem to be overblown to supporters of the proposed reform, but is it? I received a link to an interesting site that was sent under the aegis of opposing President Obama's proposed reforms. What struck me as interesting, aside from the humor within the site itself, was that it was under the ACLU banner - a group that is not known as a supporter of conservative causes. Is it possible that data will be stored in the manner indicated in that site? Certainly. Is it possible that it can be used in such a manner as indicated in that site? Maybe. It does seem a bit far-fetched at the moment but it is never beyond human nature to misuse information to gain or maintain power.

Frankly, the best way to prevent the abuse of power by a government is to prevent the government from amassing too much power in the first place. Granting government additional power, even in the guise of helping its citizens in the form of guaranteed medical care, may simply be an inevitable progression in the existence of the US. But for a nation that was built upon the basis of individual liberties and rights, abrogating those rights for any reason, regardless of how reasonable it seems on the surface, may not serve the longer-term interest. As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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