A Tribute to Britain's Rebels Against The Future

Dallas Darling

It is said that John Stuart Mill once rebuked Jeremy Bentham for being interested only in the question "Is it true?" Mill believed a more significant question was "What is the meaning of it?"[1] (Recall that Mill was a British philosopher and economist who believed in individual liberties instead of unlimited state control. He was also a proponent of Utilitarianism, or "the greatest good for the greatest number.")

When British rioters flooded the streets over deferred opportunities and dreams, Prime Minister David Cameron should have asked "What is the meaning of it?" Instead, ruling elites, backed by powerful corporate entities and financial institutions, sent thousands of security forces to arrest and beat "looters" and "gang" members. Social networking was banned, houses indiscriminately raided. Youthful dissent was crushed and criminalized.

Discontent and grievances over social, economic and political conditions and disparities in Britain is not new. The contentious but enlightening exchange between Mill and Bentham occurred during the Industrial Revolution. It was an era that disrupted families by forcing them from their small farms and imposing a harsh and regimental factory system, one that favored Britain's aristocracy and monopolists and large land owners.

To survive, family members, including children and youth, were forced to labor for long hours and low pay in squalid conditions and unsafe work environments. The factory system, a kind of techno-natural selection, caused mass unemployment, homelessness, poverty, and death. Strikes, protests and riots were common. Britain's rulers combated public disturbances with penal colonies, mass hangings, work houses, and even massacres.

Is Iraq Also Turning Into an Orwellian State?

Dallas Darling
World News

By the time former President George W. Bush ordered massive and deadly bombing campaigns over Iraq, followed by a preemptive military invasion that killed thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, there was no need to burn books. Neither was there concern over public demonstrations, anti-war rhetoric, acts of sedition, or Americans disrupting Congressional hearings and televised news accounts of the war. In a nation that no longer reads books, there is no need for book burnings. In a society that no longer knows how to think, there is no need for the thought police. In a country that speaks only in euphemisms-words and phrases devoid of any meaning and reality and facts-there is no need to suppress speech. In a state that fences and cordons off areas for protesters, the Gestapo and secret police are not needed. Furthermore, in a society socially engineered to consume manufactured, yet illegal, wars and high-tech atrocities, brutal occupations and collectivized murder becomes entertainment. Reality in an empire, or what appears to be reality dictated through illusions, is much more comfortable and easier to digest and to live with than moral convictions, moral courage, and moral outrage.

This is exactly the kind of totalitarian society and state George Orwell warned and wrote about in his book: "1984." It also appears to be what is now occurring in Iraq. Recently, and similar to America's Orwellian State, when thousands of protesters in Iraq demonstrated and demanded the same reforms that other Arab nations were experiencing, Iraq's government declared there would be no more demonstrations, except, of course, in certain "assembly zones" surrounded by fences. Several days later, Iraq's government announced a total ban on protests in the capital city of Baghdad, claiming that it was hurting street vendors businesses. These were the same common tactics used by both Republican and Democratic Parties in the United States to suppress free speech and the right to assemble at their meetings, rallies and conventions. The reason is always for "security purposes." Other protests in Iraq, including many against U.S. occupation troops, have either been denied because of no "legal" marching permits and strict curfews, or spatially limited due to Iraqi security forces. These same ploys have been used for years to "cage" American protesters and free speech movements.

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