it is clear that a highly regulated society is a better place to live in
principle, does this belief carry over into real life? The answer, broadly
speaking, is no.
People are, at heart, private and solitary creatures, preferring to choose who they get naked with, who they expose their vulnerable sides to – and an overly surveilled society is not going to allow that level of choice. On the contrary, such a system relies on the government having hideously intrusive powers of investigation, and would enable them to root out all manner of secrets, both criminal enterprises that should be stopped and brought to justice and harmless privacies that should be left well alone. In any society, the powers that be will have to draw an arbitrary line between civil freedoms and security. As at present, when we have governments and law enforcement seeking greater powers to investigate, listen to and infiltrate communities suspected of harbouring criminal or terrorist activity (wittingly or not), at war with those who preach tolerance, acceptance and a ‘live and let live’ mentality. Each terror attack strikes a blow against privacy and freedom, and for control, surveillance and restrictions of freedoms…
While the idea of curtailing all crime and anti-social behaviour is a tempting one, it doesn’t take one very important factor into account: human nature. People do not like being watched all the time (okay, maybe some very narcissistic exhibitionist people do!) and they certainly don’t like being watched by strangers who are examining their actions for negatives.
This is no whim – people need (not want, not wish for, need) a place and a time to be alone, a place where they can let themselves fully relax and unwind. Overly cramped conditions, always under someone’s watchful eye is an excellent way to cause mental health issues in a sizeable portion of the population.
Finally, any system relies – at some point, and usually quite near the top of the authoritarian pyramid – on other people. And people are fallible. We make snap value judgements and choose to believe people based on their looks, their charm and other superficial facts, rather than following the truth and the facts. Any system that is overruled by such considerations is sure to end up being unfairly biased against people who do not deserve opprobrium and who only want a fair shot at truth and justice.