Julia, Winston Smith's love interest in Nineteen Eighty-Four -- a fellow thoughtcriminal -- sums up in one word the greatest fear of Big Brother and the Inner Party: love. The powers that be in every generation fear love, in all its various manifestations, more than anything else.
Why is love so anathema to authoritarianism? It is because when people truly love they embrace a sense of wonder and community. They want to help others become the best they can be and, most importantly, it is that much harder to motivate such people to hate.
Hate is a crucial component to any top-down system. Certain groups of people are chosen to be demonized and scapegoated. The populace is manipulated to view this demonized group (or groups) as the source of their own lack of success and security. Your life would be so much better, the leaders shout, if not for these miscreants who are messing things up for everyone.
The sad irony, of course, is that it is the leaders themselves who are insuring that the majority of the populace lacks the ability to be secure and successful. Behind the scenes, they are crafting a system where all the benefits flow to them, but no else. They connive to impoverish their own people and then use that impoverishment as the whip to get the people to focus their anger and desperation on the demonized groups.
This gambit works time and time again. That's why the elite keeps employing it. And it will continue to work until we can learn to cast aside hate for love.
For all the talk of Christian fundamentalists in this nation -- both in politics and in "private" lives -- it seems to me that love is THE missing component. I thought this was the central message of the ministry of Jesus, to love your enemies as yourself.
But you wouldn't think that listening to these people! They talk about mistrust, fear, loathing, punishment and hate far more than they talk about love. Even when they mumble the word, their actions don't match up at all with its meaning.
If you love people, you don't spy on them! You don't try to rip away their dignity and privacy.
I understand that, in this modern world, some forms of surveillance are a necessary evil, but this necessary evil should be reserved SOLELY for people who you believe have ill-will towards you. It should be reserved for those individuals of which you have a strong suspicion that they mean to do you harm.
Spying indiscriminately on everyone says that you don't trust anyone. Trust is a necessary component of love. If you can't trust people, then you can't love them and, if you love no one, then you can't even love yourself.
That's not the kind of world I want to live in. In fact, I refuse to live in it. So, regardless of what the talking heads say, I choose to continue to love.
What about you?