Ed Driscoll

Great Moments In Orwellian Government Ads

Pennsylvania is currently running this state tax amnesty ad on TV, with this slightly chilling text:

Your name is Tom. You live just off of Fifth Street. Nice car, Tom. Nice house. What’s not so nice is that you owe Pennsylvania $4,212 in back-taxes. Listen, Tom, we can make this easy. Pay online by June 18th and we’ll skip your penalty and take half off your interest. Because, Tom, we do know who you are.

The message from the ad seems to be that the Keystone State is prepared to deploy billions of dollars worth of Tom Clancy-style technology against citizens slow on tax payments. It’s running in a period when PA’s unemployment rate due to the Oba-recession stands at about nine percent:

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I was very much reminded of this ad by the BBC from a few years ago. Its tone and visuals seemed to promise that the BBC would deploy equipment borrowed from James Bond’s Q-Branch, to track down those late on their license fee payments to the original state-run media:


As American Pundit writes, linking to the PA ad, “The whole thing ends on a black screen with white lettering, reading, ‘Find us before we find you.’ Orwell called; he wants his material back.” But then, taken together, both ads are a reminder of Steven Den Beste’s quip that George Orwell’s 1984 is warning for the rest of us, but a user’s manual for the left. Taken together, these ads prove the truth of that no matter which side of the pond you’re on.