Making the Case for ‘Big Brother’

A human eye on a flat screen computer monitor, representing 1984's Big Brother

A Look at the Post’s Occasional Lapses in Judgment

When Americans became concerned about FBI eavesdropping on private citizens, the editors of the Post dismissed such fears as paranoia.

There has been a lot of arguing recently about who is to blame for the large amount of electronic eavesdropping done by the FBI, but it seems worth asking why there should be any blame at all. It seems only reasonable that most of the information the police would like to get by eavesdropping is information that would lead to the prevention or solution of crimes. Is it not possible that our unthinking anxiety about “Big Brother” eavesdropping on us is a sign not of civic virtue but of paranoia?

—“Why Get Bugged about Bugging?” Editorial, January 14, 1967

This article is featured in the March/April 2017 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.