This has an obvious motive, of course: first you are able to identify and remove the "troublemakers" in society and, second, you are able to stop them encouraging anyone else to take any kind of action. Totalitarian states realise that—whilst single people are, on the whole, rather disinclined to martyr themselves—a pack of humans (reverting to instinct) can egg each other on to acts that might threaten the regime.
Of course, as always with any totalitarian method, when attempting to introduce constant monitoring of your citizens, it is wise to go for the old divide et impera strategy—start singling out minority groups and then gradually encroach on everyone.
So, should you be an aspiring totalitarian ruler, you might want to start with putting cameras on roads to catch speeding drivers—after all, it's for the kids and the majority of the population could not possibly argue with that.
Then put cameras everywhere; if people notice them, just say that these cameras are for their own protection—you are not watching them, you are watching the criminals who might do them harm.
Next, of course, you should pick on the rich or, more specifically, the homeowners. You can put it about that they are not nearly paying their "fair share" of tax and that you simply want to help the poor by collecting tax that reflects the true value of the privilege that these people are enjoying. This enables you to wheel out the satellite monitoring without alarming anyone unduly.
Now you move onto tagging the population. The docile fools have become used to this through the electronic tagging of criminals, of course, but they won't all submit to having a radio transmitter attached to their ankles.
Never mind, compulsory ID cards or passports with short-range RFID chips in them are the next best thing. It's not that you can actually track the documents through this technology, of course, but it won't do any harm to let people think that you might be able to. The trouble is that people might object, so what minority can you target to justify this...?
Ah, yes, of course: immigrants. Not only are they coming here and "stealing all of our jobs" but they are also "stealing all of our benefits". Sure, there may be a bit of a contradiction here, but you can always raise the spectre of those immigrants' huge families. Yes, so you'll make the immigrants get cards first and then you can move onto other sections of society. No bother.
But you still haven't got a proper handle on the population. After all, you can't track them through those RFID chips, and cameras and satellites are not only not nearly mobile enough but they don't tend to pick up conversations—in short, you need people to do the spying. Of course, you have your security services but they are expensive and understaffed for the kind of universal monitoring that you desire.
So, you might choose to pick another cause—let's say that you choose global warming. By now, of course, you have been working hard and have a large number of huge corporations willing to do you bidding—so you could, for instance, get an energy company to produce a programme encouraging children to spy on their parents.
Sure, in theory these kids are only supposed to monitor their parents for "green" crimes but the point is to create the right environment—when these children grow up, they won't consider spying on people—or being spied on—to be unusual. You are creating an environment conducive to your long-term plans.
Have the people born all of this with weary resignation? Yes? Good. They are unlikely to kick up a fuss now that they are becoming conditioned. Now it is time to move onto the adults. Again, you want to choose some specific bunch of undesirables—immigrants? No you are already dealing with that. The Jews? No, a bit of a cliché and, besides, it might put the wind up people—it's too obvious (although, give it another generation...).
Having consulted my peripatetic Greek friend, I know what we should do—this is a country of petty, pathetic individuals so let's focus the spying efforts on those who "ruin communities" by being just generally mucky and unthinking.
Nosy neighbours are being offered rewards of up to £500 of taxpayers’ money to spy on other residents, it emerged today.
They will be given cash for reporting offenders who let their dogs foul pavements, drop litter, dawb graffiti or fly-tip.
The amount offered is staggered, according to how far the prosecution is taken.
If a court summons is issued the snooper gets £100. On a conviction he gets £150 and if the offender gets a maximum sentence he receives £500.
The scheme, launched by Waltham Forest Council in North London, could be copied by local authorities across the country.
That's bad—it's horrifying, it's petty, it's profoundly depressing—but you read on, and get to this:Some UK councils are even paying children to supply them with information on environmental offences like leaving recycling bags and rubbish bins out on the pavement.
Ealing Council, in West London, employs hundreds of Junior Streetwatchers, aged between eight and ten.
Harlow Council, in Essex, employs 25 Street Scene Champions, aged between 11 to 14 who are encouraged to report vandalism to bus shelters, graffiti, abandoned vehicles, fly-tipping and other offences.
While Crawley Borough Council, in West Sussex, has 150 Streetcare Champions who are asked to keep a look out.
I find this utterly nauseating. "Junior Streetwatchers"? Words utterly fail me. Shoot me in the fucking face, but shoot them first, together with the scumbucket who thought this up (bet they're pleased with themselves, too).
"Junior Streetwatchers"? God, I loathe these people.
Yes, but this Greek gentleman is a minority and his bleating will simply be lost in crowd—if you decide to let him back into the country.
Besides, by the time that anyone is ready to wake up, your network of spies will be in place—and so will the gulags. After all, you have meantime been softening the population up in other areas—they are now used to the idea that jury trials are "wasteful" and that summary justice (in the form of ASBOs and the like) is an everyday occurrence. And, of course, everyone is in favour of locking up "terrorists" without trial—sure, you've not detained Greek terrorists but the great thing about Islam is that any nationality can be a Muslim, eh? You know, just like that British shoe-bomber type—Richard someone or other...
So far, the plan's been going pretty well: of course, it's been helped immensely by the fact that, for a few generations now, you have been ensuring that people have had any knowledge or critical faculties taught out of them through the state school system. Sure, there are a very few who have attended private schools but you do need a few well-educated people to produce things so that you can tax them: you don't want an economic collapse—nothing's surer to end your rule. Besides, if those private schools become too uppity, you can get them to play ball by threatening to close them down.
Cunningly, you are allowing people to think that they still have some control over their destinies through that brilliant democracy thing—those who actually care imagine that they can change things when, in fact, you are simply offering them the choice of three identical paths.
Yes, I think that you can be pretty proud of yourself: the plan is very much on track, and it is so much more subtle—and likely to be far more long-lasting—than a crude military coup. You might like to lean back now, and listen to your favourite song...
Well I'm standing by a river
But the water doesn't flow
It boils with every poison you can think of
And I'm underneath the streetlight
But the light of joy I know
Scared beyond belief way down in the shadows
And the perverted fear of violence
Chokes the smile on every face
And common sense is ringing out the bell
This ain't no technological breakdown
Oh no, this is the road to hell
And all the roads jam up with credit
And there's nothing you can do
It's all just bits of paper flying away from you
Oh look out world, take a good look
What comes down here
You must learn this lesson fast and learn it well
This ain't no upwardly mobile freeway
Oh no, this is the road
Said this is the road
This is the road to hell...
You allow yourself a thin smile as you contemplate the next phase: this is where the whole thing gets so much more exciting...
UPDATE: Polista has a comment on this; I don't necessarily agree with the main thrust of his post, but this first paragraph is on the money.
Devil's Kitchen has a rather chilling dystopian image to put over. However, I think he's tilting at the wrong windmill. States, as such, don't plan to control their citizens. People plan to control citizens through the state, to make them 'better' in some way.
This is, of course, why I am no fan of democracy: people do try to impose their vision of society on everyone else—whether those others agree with the proposed vision or not. That's why it's called the tyranny of the majority.
And it is wrong, and it is fundamentally evil.