When George Orwell wrote 1984 after WWII, he thought he was looking forward to a time that hadn't yet come. But was he?
Shaker leaders were very cognizant of sexual attractions, however, and took steps to prevent backsliding, or lapses in faith and commitment. Men and women occupied opposite sides of dwellings, which usually had separate entrances and stairs. Work was assigned by gender; the sisters had their own shops and the brethren theirs. Yet even more steps were needed, they believed. See that window on the roof of the Centre Family dwelling at Pleasant Hill? Here it is from the inside:
But even more safeguards were needed. Church services have been a time-honored place for young people living in rural communities to come together, to begin courtships, and to form lasting bonds. Were Shaker churches any different?
It's not my intention to criticize the Shakers, but rather to point out what appears to me to be a near universal abuse of power. In churches, schools, governments, and businesses, there always are those who feel called to control the behavior of others through surveillance. The more structured the organization and the more power is vested in a few at the top, the greater the surveillance and control. Sometimes it is justified by security needs; often it is justified only by the leader's need to be in control. Sometimes it's simply because they can. The sad part is, we welcome it because we are told it will make us safer.
Benjamin Franklin said "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."