When Al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11/01, their main stated goal was to destroy us by pushing us into compromising our system's balance between laws and freedoms and by damaging our economy via a hit on the World Trade Center. They knew us well.
In no time at all, our Congress, Repugs and Conservadems alike, bent to the will of so-called President Dubya and force-fed us the Patriot Act, perhaps the most misnamed piece of legislation to ever cross an Oval Office desk (well, except for things like Dubya's "Healthy Forests" initiative, Clear Skies Act, etc.). Since then, aided by the cheering of media co-conspirators, we've put Orwellian spy cameras just about everywhere imaginable, been patted down and worse by TSA "inspectors", and had even our most boring e-mail cookie recipes read by Das Homeland Security. 1984 came a little late, but it's here.