How many things have you started to write and stopped because you were afraid of who or what might read them? How many blog posts have you shelved, how many files have you deleted, how many pages have you burned because you feared what might happen if the wrong person or wrong thing spotted them and decided to make an example of you?
Have you ever wondered what the criteria might be under which a message in a chat room might trigger increased scrutiny, like mysterious malfunctions of your computer?
How many fears have you not expressed or opinions have you kept to yourself because you feared what might happen the next time you tried to board a plane?
We now live in a time in which the most paranoid rantings pale in comparison to the reality.
We're back to the days of "Don't do that, you'll wind up on a list, and you'll be in trouble when They need to clean it." We're back to the days of remaining silent because we fear what may happen one night.