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See Something? Don’t Say Anything.

Interesting exercise in thought control: in an essay on citizen solidarity against the state, the “authorities” (blog administrators) choose to silence my participation in dialog because I drew attention to the shallowness inherent in the framing of the debate.

Oh, well, time to stop following this “100 Best Philosophy Blogs” site.

In the context of the essay, the critical point is that the “state” is not a faceless entity – it is composed of leaders that perceive their authority as tantamount to the legitimacy of the state. Oppression takes root when citizens question the authority of leaders – in fact, to stimulate those questions is the worst form of treason against the state. This is why Vladimir Putin goes to such extremes to ensure that those that rally resistance against his authority are annihilated – either violently in public spaces, or through horrific poisoning in exile. Both methods of execution strike at the trust so essential to the peace of mind that underpins civil society.

Comparing Putin’s antics to the toothless controls of the blog administrator may seem overblown, but it illustrates just how tempting it is to silence dissent – even among those that claim to safeguard intellectual and ethical integrity.

The Electric Agora

by Daniel Tippens

The children, on the other hand, were systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report their deviations. The family had become in effect an extension of the Thought Police. It was a device by means of which everyone could be surrounded night and day by informers who knew him intimately.

–George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell’s 1984 is, in large part, a discussion about the importance of solidarity between citizens. This becomes clear once one notices that much of what the ruling Party does is designed to engender distrust between its citizens. Ingsoc has placed televisions equipped with cameras in people’s homes, and cameras are hidden in the streets. It has passed laws requiring people to report on their neighbors, whether they are attempting to lead an uprising or simply having a thought that isn’t in line with the party’s ideology. If anyone…

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