In Orwell’s 1984 a never-ending war pervades the lives of those in Oceania (British Isles), Eurasia (EU and Russia) and Eastasia (Korea, China, Japan and India). Strategic chess pieces are moved about for its purpose; the three superstates are formidable. All three hold totalitarian ideologies.
But in 1984, there is an underlying suggestion that Oceania’s war is a fabrication and that it is, in fact, a world government. Airstrip One is the sole territory rather than an outpost, and the ‘war’ is perpetuated to keep the proles ignorant and poverty stricken. Those above the proles, the working class, are fearful of the screens watching and listening to them.
Although 2017 is still far from the 1984 one world government, parallels can be drawn. It’s important to recognize that though we’re not heading down the path described in Orwell’s 1984, we may be voluntarily taking a different route towards the same conclusion.
As Orwell said in his last public speaking:
“I do not believe that the kind of society I describe necessarily will arrive, but I believe … that something resembling it could arrive. I believe that totalitarian ideas have taken root in the minds of intellectuals everywhere, and I have tried to draw these ideas out to their logical consequences.”
Here are some parallels between 1984 and our world today that are difficult to ignore.
Big Brother is Watching
On the first page of 1984 the reader is hit with the line: “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.” Where ever Winston Smith walks, he reminds the reader that he is being watched. Posters, telescreens, police patrols, the Ministry of Truth and of Love are constantly scrutinizing its citizens.
Is it so far from the truths of 2017, with PRISM, NSA warrantless wiretapping and the Five Eyes alliance? Assange’s Vault 7 revelation reminded us that Big Brother is no longer fictional. Our widescreen Smart TVs can now record our conversations. The governments hack our computers. And what about the mini screens we all carry in our back pockets, forever turned on and connected to the internet collective? ‘You’re one of us now’ resonates deeply.
Newspeak vs. Oldspeak
The Ministry of Truth reminds us through Orwell that language can be used to deceive the masses. Self-expression, freedom of thought, and free will are restricted by what words we can use. Anything that threatens the Party’s ideology becomes criminalized. Political correctness, anyone? The recent phenomenon of fake news also falls under this category – the public’s acceptance of content and government control.
Newspeak is contrived to remove the possibility of rebellious thoughts by eradicating certain words and rears its ugly head in today’s MSM journalism and our own self-censorship. “Axis of evil,” first used by Bush in 2002, stigmatizes countries and justifies military action. Then there is the “alternative facts” connotation, or “word crimes,” when you’ve offended someone and then become a “hater.”
Unpopular ideas can be suppressed without the use of force, Orwell once said in unpublished papers.
As George Carlin so eloquently puts it, political correctness is “about obscuring reality … about muddying the waters.” It’s about smoke and mirrors.
War is Peace. In 1984, the slogan is embraced and perpetual war is striven for. The government uses all economic surplus, maintaining domestic servitude and poverty, thus control over the proletariat – the Proles. A middle class ceases to be as the everlasting war is fought. The lower class, the Proles are fed with mindless entertainment, alcohol, drugs and pornography to keep them happy as taxpayer dollars are spent on foreign policy.
The War on Terror, Iraq, Afghanistan, now Syria, and Korea…when will the everlasting, perpetual wars stop?
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