Does the contemporary U.S. government pursue people with unpopular opinions, as in Fahrenheit 451?
In Fahrenheit 451, the government controls all venues of news and entertainment. It uses this enormous power to target and eliminate private citizens for perceived crimes or simply for disagreeing with its practices, up to the point of setting a violent mechanical hound to kill them.
Although there has been government oversight of communications for a long time, it was only after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that government spying on domestic soil became a truly contentious subject. The Patriot Act allowed an unprecedented level of intrusion into private lives, and it was extended by President Obama in 2011 for a further four years. Through this and other extensions of government power, many people claim that they have been targeted by the government for censorship and negative propaganda; for example, grass-roots protest movements feel that they are unfairly portrayed by both the media -- who some claim to be strongly influenced by the government -- and the government itself, which releases statements condemning various groups, organizations, and even private citizens. However, with the exception of domestic terrorists and violent protest mobs, the government rarely takes direct action against groups opposed to it, preferring to wage its war in the domain of public opinion. Generally speaking, a person or group must be guilty of a specific crime to be actually arrested or taken into custody by the government; conspiracy theories aside, there is little evidence to show that the U.S. government is actively targeting or abducting innocent people for purpose of censorship or interrogation.
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