Novus Ordo Seclorum (1)

Novus Ordo Seclorum (1)

 ". . . in the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end. Every citizen . . . could be kept for twenty- four hours a day under the eyes of the police . . ." -- George Orwell, "1984 "(2, 3, 4)

Without any fanfare, without in fact anybody noticing anything at all, the government of the United States of America shifted from the hands of the electorate through its representatives in Congress, the Presidency and the Supreme Court to those of secret spy agencies: the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and others unheralded and unknown. Entirely unresponsive to Congress, to the Judiciary and the Executive; openly and flagrantly spying on every citizen and every branch of every government in the entire world; gathering data illegally and without any pretense of Constitutional restriction; utterly negating the blackletter of the law and thumbing its nose at any attempt at control. They are unresponsive to any condemnation and blandly continue in the face of direct orders to the contrary.

One definition of a "Failed State" is one that no longer has a monopoly on the legitimate use of force within its borders. Another is a State which, although capable of providing the basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government, is not in fact capable of reigning in the actions of a substantial and powerful branch of its own bureaucracy: a branch that operates by its own rules in open defiance of the larger government. J. Edgar Hoover was one such, who had so much dirt on so many people that he was a force unto himself. Never, however, in his wildest dreams was he capable of spying on every citizen; every elected official; every telephone call and communication; every action of every entity in the entire world. He could not imagine correlating the meta-data thus gathered into a complete, predictive overview of past, present and future activities--licit and illicit. The spy agencies have become the Demiurge--the malevolent manifestation of the material world, the anti-God; the real--as opposed to the ideal--government. (5)

(1) July 17, 2009
In George Orwell's "1984," government censors erase all traces of news articles embarrassing to Big Brother by sending them down an incineration chute called the "memory hole."
In a move that angered customers and generated waves of online pique, Amazon remotely deleted some digital editions of the books from the Kindle devices of readers who had bought them.
An Amazon spokesman, Drew Herdener, said in an e-mail message that the books were added to the Kindle store by a company that did not have rights to them, using a self-service function. "When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers' devices, and refunded customers," he said.
Amazon effectively acknowledged that the deletions were a bad idea. "We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers' devices in these circumstances," Mr. Herdener said.

Customers whose books were deleted indicated that MobileReference, a digital publisher, had sold them. An e-mail message to SoundTells, the company that owns MobileReference, was not immediately returned.

Digital books bought for the Kindle are sent to it over a wireless network. Amazon can also use that network to synchronize electronic books between devices — and apparently to make them vanish.
An authorized digital edition of "1984" from its American publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, was still available on the Kindle store Friday night, but there was no such version of "Animal Farm."
People who bought the rescinded editions of the books reacted with indignation, while acknowledging the literary ironies involved. "Of all the books to recall," said Charles Slater, an executive with a sheet-music retailer in Philadelphia, who bought the digital edition of "1984" for 99 cents last month. "I never imagined that Amazon actually had the right, the authority or even the ability to delete something that I had already purchased."

(2) "New Order of the Ages" from the Fourth Eclogue of Virgil, adopted as the motto on the Great Seal of the United States, July 4th 1776

(3) Midas, King of Phrygia in the late 8th century, BC, employed spies to tell him everything that went on throughout his kingdom, and the proverb "that kings have long arms" was changed in his case to "King Midas has long ears." Misunderstanding this, later accounts portrayed Midas as having the ears of an ass -- actual long ears -- as a punishment for judging the musicianship of Pan as superior to that of Apollo. 

(4) Big Brother, the ever-watchful leader in the novel 1984, has popped up all around George Orwell's former home in London.
If you haven't had your daily dose of irony yet, here it is. Within 200 yards of George Orwell's flat 27B overlooking Canonbury Square in Islington, North London, there are thirty-two CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras.

Orwell's view of the tree-filled gardens outside the flat is under 24-hour surveillance from two cameras perched on traffic lights.

The flat's rear windows are constantly viewed from two more security cameras outside a conference centre in Canonbury Place.

I have to say, the Brits are going on a bit of a CCTV surveillance binge lately. Britain now has over 4.2 million cameras - that's one for every fourteen people. A typical citizen is caught on camera an average of 300 times per day.

Just like in 1984, watchers have the opportunity to talk to you anywhere you might be by attaching speakers to CCTV cameras - see "Big Brother Would Like a Word With You." Some of them are even using children's voices to chide adults - see 'Baby' Brother Cams.

The next steps? There is a proposal on the table for a national standard for CCTV cameras; this would make it possible for all images gathered by individual cameras to be accessed by authorities.
Alistair Darling, transport secretary, has outlined a proposal to charge UK drivers in a "pay as you go" tax to pay for roads. In order to implement the plan, all cars would carry a device that would be tracked every minute by satellite. The UK already uses ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras placed every 400 yards along major roadways to create a national vehicle movement database 
Just to give you a little taste of the novel, here's a snippet on BB:

"The black-moustachio'd face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston's own... In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people's windows."
Read more at "The Daily Mail" (Story submitted 4/14/2007)

(5) The word "demiurge" is an English word from a Latinized form of the Greek demiourgos, literally "public worker," and which was originally a common noun meaning "craftsman" or "artisan", but gradually it came to mean "producer" and eventually "creator." The philosophical usage and the proper noun derive fromPlato's Timaeus written c. 360 BC, in which the demiurge is presented as the creator of the universe. This is accordingly the definition of the demiurge in the Platonic (c. 310-90 BC) and Middle Platonic (c. 90 BC-300 AD) philosophical traditions. In the various branches of the Neoplatonic school (third century onwards), the demiurge is the fashioner of the real, perceptible world after the model of the Ideas, but (in most Neoplatonic systems) is still not itself "the One". In the arch-dualist ideology of the various Gnostic systems, the material universe is evil, while the non-material world is good. Accordingly, the demiurge is malevolent, as linked to the material world.

(January 3, 2013)

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