Big Brother, My Butt: Jonah Goldberg takes issue with media references to Big Brother.
I bring this up to make a simple observation: Big Brother never existed. The book 1984, in which the phrase was coined, was a work of fiction. I say again: Big Brother = Not Real. 1984 was a n-o-v-e-l.
I don't mean to talk to you like you're idiots or uneducated, but there are a lot of people who seem to think that during the 1950s or 1960s, there was some government agency or maybe even a real person named "Big Brother" who intruded on everybody's life. Just last week the Denver Post ran an editorial titled, "Is Big Brother Back?" Again: He was never here!
Novels do occasionally have social relevance and predictive value though, that's part of what makes them interesting. It's called a m-e-t-a-p-h-o-r.
Federal agents who searched 16 homes and offices in Northern Virginia last week were focusing on a tightly interconnected, complicated and very private financial empire with worldwide ties that has drawn the suspicion of investigators for at least seven years.
Showing up with warrants and drawn guns, the agents seized computers, financial records and boxes of other documents from some of the nation's most reputable Islamic organizations and leaders -- a coordinated series of raids that outraged many Muslims.
Losing the War on Terrorism in Peru: on how the fight in one war, to eliminate drugs, has set back the Peruvian government in their fight against insurgent groups such as the Shining Path.
Bad Faith: on the tendency by Bush and Ashcroft to include only the religious in their world view.
A month or so ago, in a speech to the National Religious Broadcasters' annual convention, Attorney General John Ashcroft said the following: "Civilized individuals, Christians, Jews, and Muslims, all understand that the source of freedom and human dignity is the Creator. Governments may guard freedom. Governments don't grant freedom. All people are called to the defense of the Grantor of freedom, and the framework of freedom He created." And with those words, Ashcroft encapsulated everything that is admirable, and everything that is awful, about the Bush administration's understanding of religion in the United States.
In most situations, people tend to seek pleasure and avoid pain, which generally makes sense.
I want to suggest that at this moment in history, U.S. citizens need to invert that. If we want to become human beings in the fullest sense of the term, if we want to be something more than comfortable citizens of the empire, if we want to be something more than just Americans -- then we have to start seeking pain and reducing pleasure.
By that I don't mean we must become masochists who live in denial of the joy of being alive. Rather, I mean that to be fully alive we must stop turning away from a certain kind of pain and begin questioning a certain kind of pleasure. I mean this quite literally, and with a sense of urgency; I think the survival of the species and the planet depends on Americans becoming pain-seeking and pleasure-reducing folks.