WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
That is from George Orwell’s dystopian classic novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” Orwell wrote that book way back in 1949, it was his vision/warning of the future he saw as a distinct possibility. Orwell’s purpose was to warn people of the dangers of totalitarian regimes, and his fear of the use of technology being used by these regimes to monitor their citizens and preserve the power of the government.
I thought of this book as I was drinking my coffee this morning, reflecting upon the big event(s) that have dominated the headlines the past four days or so; those of course being the rioting protests and attacks on American Embassies across the Islamic world. However it wasn’t these protests and attacks that lead me to thinking about a book that paints a bleak future for people living in once Free states, it was the rhetoric that was being bandied about, both explicitly and implicitly by both members of the media, and politicians.
You see, in that book, the government encourages a constant vigilance against its enemies, which essentially leaves the fictional country of “Oceania” in a perpetual state of war, or readiness of war, to defend itself from these enemies; thus the above quote from the first chapter on this book. To a rational thinking individual those above slogans are ridiculous in their absurdity, unfortunately though they are the prevailing themes of what many in the media and many politicians are saying. Notice I said themes, I know they are not saying exactly these words.
The general theme today is that in order to protect our peace we must maintain an ever increasing war like posture. Forget that the protestations and attacks are not on our own soil. In order to protect the Homeland we need to take the fight to them, before they get us. In order to do this though we need to clamp down on the very freedoms that those who wish to do us harm supposedly hate so much. This means that we need to monitor all data to ferret out those who oppose us (read this article in Wired Magazine for more on this). This means that we need not think about the implications of these words and actions, we need to be strong in knowing that the government is handling things.
It just strikes me as a subtle little curious coincidence that there are these similarities, as well as others, between the work of fiction written 63 years ago, and actual events today. Sure, there will be some who will think of me as a conspiracy theorist nut job; I can assure you I am not. I am simply recalling what I remember from a book that I read many years ago (close to the actual year of 1984) and relating what that book is about to today’s events. Sadly though, few will have read that book, and many of those who have read it dismissed it as an impossibility, because it is a work of fiction after all. Do we live in as bleak an environment as Winston Smith (the protagonist in Nineteen Eighty-Four)? No, of course we don’t, not yet at least, but I think it might be a little too naïve of us to think that, given the current trend, we aren’t inching in that direction.
A scene from “1984:”