1984 by George Orwell

September 3, 2006

Saturday, Sept. 2nd

1984 by George Orwell.  It’s a book that I’ve been told by many people recently that I need to read.  Reading is something I never do unless there is nothing else to do – a backup plan, so to say.  Now I seem to find myself with plenty of free time.  And with no TV or computer in my room, reading’s the perfect antidote for a lazy evening.  And I am so glad I read 1984.  I think it should be required of every young person to read, and for a number of reasons:

1.It would warn our youth, our future, that government, when unchecked, can become invincible.
2. That the wheels of propaganda are always spinning, attempting to drive our minds wherever they (the forces driving the propaganda) intend for us to go.
3. If a lie is told enough through propaganda, the viewers, readers, or listeners will believe the lie to be true.
4. An ignorant society is one that can be easily controlled.

The three slogans of the Party of Big Brother in the book are     War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

After reading 1984, it is easy to dismiss this book as seemingly far-fetched, when in actuality it is a chilling novel with warnings about our future, and I see many warning signs already.  Big Brother’s party in the book has the ability to “change” the past through their ability to convince the population or Oceania that something that is now, always has been.  They change past news stories, and delete anything, or anyone, that puts the party in a negative light.  This relates to us because – it is easy to forget that as late as the ’80s, the U.S. was arming the “Afghan Freedom Fighters” in their fight against the forces of the once mighty USSR. The freedom Fighters eventually became, surprise, the Taliban!  Also, believe it or not, the U.S. armed Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war in the ’80s.  Don’t believe me?  Look up Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein on Google, and you will come across a photo of them shaking hands.  The point?  The propaganda machine is trying to convince us that the U.S. was always enemies of tyrannical dictatorships, when in reality, we helped install many of these governments.  And a lot of people are buying the bullshit.  1984 quotes that, “He who controls the past controls the future.  He who controls the present, controls the past.”  And here’s another quote from the book: “The more the party is powerful, the less it will be tolerant; the weaker the opposition, the stronger the despotism.” Look at what the Republican party is doing with only 6 years of control of the presidency, both House, and now, the Supreme Court: They passed the Patriot Act, which gives the government the ability to monitor what we check our from libraries, monitor our bank accounts, search homes without warrants, hold human beings in prison without charges being filed or a trial; monitor phone calls without a court order; torture has been permitted and encouraged; they’ve attempted to limit free speech by almost passing an anti- flag-burning constitutional amendment; they’re destroying women’s rights to choose to have an abortion; they do not tolerate gays, non-Christians, the lower class, minorities, immigrants, the French, independent farmers, labor unions… I could go on.  And you can go on living your life just fine with all that I just mentioned.  But eventually, they’ll come after something that you believe in.  Then you’ll know what it’s like to be any of the aforementioned people.  Or me- A conscientious objector in the military.  Imagine another 8 years of a president like Bush, and 1984 becomes a likely scenario. Maybe radicalism of any aspect is equally as dangerous as the next.  But this country needs a change.  Educate yourself.  Start by reading 1984.  Don’t be the ignorant prole mentioned in the book.
More quotes from 1984 to remember:
-“Until they become conscious, they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” This references the proles, the common man of Oceanie: uneducated, poor.  They comprise 85% of Oceania’s population, yet they have no power whatsoever.
-“Power is not a means, it is an end.” Look at the liberties we Americans have given up to support the so-called War on Terrorism.  What happens if that war is seen as won?  Will we just get all of our rights back?  Or is it more likely that there will be another war in which more rights are taken away?  Which allows me to transition to another quote form the book:
-“The object of waging a war is always to be in a better position in which to wage another war.” Think about it.  Or better yet, don’t.  The government thrives and survives on people who don’t.
-“In the long run, a hierarchical society is only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.” Which is why I am convinced that the government will never truly address the issue of poverty. The government needs the poor like they need the stupid.
As long as our government consists of rich, old, white men, than it is assured that the rich in this country will remain rich, old, white men.  Nothing will change unless we the people demand it.  March in the streets!  Surely I’m not the only only who’s angry!  Don’t let the visions of 1984 become reality.


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