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Gen Z Welcomes Government Monitoring in Homes

George Orwell’s book 1984 is one of our society’s most frequently referenced illustrations of what life would be like under an authoritarian government. In the book, citizens of the fictional nation of Oceania are under constant government surveillance, including in their own homes. Devices called telescreens display propaganda and record peoples’ actions. This allows the government to monitor people even in what should be the most private place they know—their homes.

Historically in the US, the Fourth Amendment protects Americans from "unreasonable searches and seizures" by the government, acknowledging the "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects." It is a bedrock principle of the Bill of Rights.

But a new survey reveals that an astonishing number of Americans, particularly younger Americans, would be comfortable throwing this fundamental protection on the ash heap of history. The Cato Institute survey of Americans finds:

29% of Americans aged 18 to 29 respond affirmatively when asked, “Would you favor or oppose the government installing surveillance cameras in every household to reduce domestic violence, abuse, and other illegal activity?”

20% of Millennials between the ages of 30 and 44 also want everyone watched.

However, among Americans 45 and older, support for such totalitarian surveillance drops considerably to 6%.

From Ivy League campuses to the digital domains of Facebook, there is an Orwellian sense of perpetual emergency. There is an irrational fear that misinformation and hate speech will overwhelm society unless every utterance is subject to a censor’s scrutiny.

If these trends continue, the US may confront a very different privacy landscape in the future. It is possible that at some point, the American public will be open to extreme government overreach.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Christians might think that if we aren’t doing anything wrong what does it matter if we are being watched? But do you spank your children? Might some government official somewhere want to recast that as abuse? Do you teach your children that God made us male and female? Do you insist that marriage is between one man and one woman? What might some in the government think about that? To be constantly monitored is to be constantly assessed. And knowing, as we do, that our governments don’t measure right and wrong by God’s standards, we should fear the prospect.

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