“What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.” —Bertrand Russell, Skeptical Essays, 1928
bq.. “The government is compiling a database to track and store the international travel records of millions of Britons. Computerised records of all 250 million journeys made by individuals in and out of the UK each year will be kept for up to 10 years. The government says the database is essential in the fight against crime, illegal immigration and terrorism. But opposition MPs and privacy campaigners fear it is a significant step towards a surveillance society. The intelligence centre will store names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details of travellers.”
“The adjective Orwellian describes the situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free-society. It connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past, including the ”unperson” — a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory, practiced by modern repressive governments. Often, this includes the circumstances depicted in his novels, particularly Nineteen Eighty-Four.”
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“It might be funny when a mild-mannered guy who walks his cat on a leash gets arrested for taking pictures of trains, especially when the people who run the trains have explicitly encouraged the activity. Humor helps, because ridicule can be influential. We laugh. But it ought to be a laughter tinged with nervousness. The current rise of authoritarianism (I’ve called it ”the totalitarian dawn“) in America, England, and the democracies of the West is something to be taken with the utmost seriousness, in principle. Authoritanism has got its toehold, and the current climate of persecution against photographers is a good illustration of how it goes about gaining momentum. We can only oppose authoritarianism so long as it stays small and its power remains limited: once it gets free rein and power, it will usurp our protections, abrogate our rights, and, most likely, make life miserable for the greater mass of us. That, anyway, is authoritarianism’s usual course.”