Back in the ’80s when, on a couple of occasions, I visited the Soviet Union, I always wondered what was it really like to live in that godforsaken place. But it didn’t much matter. For all the creepy spying that was going on, I realized I’d be out of there in a week or two.

Now I know what it was like. It’s come home.

I live in fear.

I don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. Every phone call I make, every email I send, every text I message, every article I write including this one, I imagine being bugged or recorded.

1984 is here and it’s not pretty.

It infects everything we do.

For example, I want to criticize the IRS with every breath I take, but in the back of my head I worry — what if they come after me? What if I’m audited and have to spend the next few years and untold dollars on accountants and attorneys? Is this fair to my family? Is this how I want to spend my life?

Just today I was going to follow up on some information about the wretched prevarications surrounding Benghazi and hesitated. Should I email the source? Telephone? Send a letter? Snail mail would take too long.

What about buying one of those throwaway phones at Radio Shack? But then I would be compromising the recipients of my calls. I would be implicating them.

A few weeks ago CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson phoned me to ask about my Benghazi contacts. I assumed the call was being recorded. Now I read that her computer is bugged. It turns on and off by itself in the middle of the night.

Mine doesn’t. At least I don’t think it does. I tend to be asleep at three a.m.

Still, I live in fear. And I don’t think I’m the only one. I think a lot of people do now, in various degrees. They want to think they don’t, but they do.

It’s not a terrified fear. I don’t cower under my desk. It’s a nagging fear, a trepidation. Something that never goes away.

Someone is watching me, monitoring whatever I do. If I make a mistake, I will pay for it. My future will be bleak.

Basically, I am being silenced. And so are you. Purposefully or not, they are trying to shut us down and shut us up.

They say they’re not, but they are.

They don’t believe they are, but they are.

They have protective mechanisms in place, but who knows if they function?

We have to rely on the beneficence of our overseers, but how can we believe in that?

How can we believe in anything? Everything is too big. We are just cogs in the wheel. Winston Smith had it better than us. The technology was not as efficient in his day (1984).

So I live in fear.

And here’s the big problem: it’s hard to see how it’s going to get better.