Daily Wisdomisms: Radio Free Albemuth
This excerpt is from an obscure novel by Philip K. Dick. In it, America finds itself in the grip of an administration intent on eradicating an illusive organization called Aramcheck. This organization has no official membership or solid philosophy other than the subversion of the American way of life. Sound familiar? The corrupt administration seeks to root out Aramcheck agents through the creation of lists of possible agents and having friends and neighbors turn each other in for “suspicious activity”. Really, is this sounding familiar yet? This excerpt deals with the main character, a science fiction writer named Phil who is ruminating on the rise of the Orwellian administration.
“The human being has an unfortunate tendency to wish to please. I was in effect exactly like those captured Americans: a prisoner of war. I had become that in November 1968 when [President] Ferris F. Freemont got elected. So had we all; we now dwelt in a very large prison, without walls, bounded by Canada, Mexico and two oceans. There were the jailers, the turnkeys, the informers, and somewhere in the Midwest the solitary confinement of the special internment camps. Most people did not appear to notice. Since there were no literal walls or barbed wire, since they had committed no crimes, had not been arrested or taken to court, they did not grasp the change, the dread transformation, of their situation. It was the classic case of a man kidnapped while standing still. Since they had been taken nowhere and since they themselves had voted the new tyranny into power, they could see nothing wrong. Anywho, a good third of them, had they known, would have thought it a good idea…Their freedom to do as they were told had been preserved.” (Philip K. Dick, Radio Free Ablemuth. p. 64)