Skip to comments.Orwell's time-tested warnings
Posted on 06/21/2009 3:26:45 AM PDT by MartinaMisc
NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR opens with one of the most famous first lines in modern English literature - the vaguely unnerving It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. The line it ends with is even more famous, and considerably more sinister: He loved Big Brother.
George Orwells brilliant, bitter novel turns 60 this month, but after all these years it has lost none of its nightmarish chill. Its hero is the decidedly unheroic Winston Smith, a weak and wistful man who lives in the totalitarian police state of Oceania, which is ruled by the Party - personified in Big Brother, whose menacing image is everywhere - and in which the Thought Police ruthlessly suppress any hint of dissent. The Party enforces its will through constant surveillance, relentless propaganda, and the annihilation of anyone who rebels against its authority, even if only in private thoughts or conversation. Winston engages in such thought-crimes, first by secretly recording his hatred of Big Brother in a diary, then through a love affair with a young woman called Julia. Eventually he is arrested, interrogated, tortured, broken.
Nineteen Eighty-Four was Orwells warning of what unchecked state power can become - a warning informed by the horrors of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, with their contempt for human life and conscience, their cult of personality, their unremitting cruelty and deceit. I do not believe that the kind of society I describe necessarily will arrive, but I believe . . . that something resembling it could arrive, Orwell wrote after the book was published. I believe also 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.
(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...
I’m actually about halfway through re-reading it at this very time.
(From the telescreen in front of you)...you sir are engaging in thoughtcrime against Obama ... do not move stay where you are... the sound you hear are officers of minluv on the stairs.
Ironic that Obama supporters ran an ad mocking Hillary as potentially a “Big Brother”.
What amazes me is - that since 1988- when Ronaldo Maximus was still POTUS - we’ve come to OBAMA ! One generation . The future looks bleak , to say the least . I don’t see things getting anything but WORSE , until Christ returns .
HAHAHA, thoughtcrime, facecrime, speechcrime all in response to Obama’s duckspeak. I just fear the time when we will become unpersons. I forgot how absolutely creepy this book is. I read it when I was in junior high so some of it, I’m sure, was lost on me.
On a lighter note, Happy Father's Day to all fellow FReeper dads.
“Orwell himself was a committed socialist, and he insisted that Nineteen Eighty-Four should not be taken as an attack on socialism or the left wing. And, in truth, though the ruling ideology in the book is named Ingsoc (English Socialism in Oceanias language of Newspeak), the Partys aims have nothing to do with collectivizing wealth or any other socialist prescription.”
INTERESTING that the articles author should try to point this out. Socialism by itself and in a perfect world would be great. Many are quick to point out that the Early Church is a model of socialism. Karl Marx himself once a christian merely removed the concept of god from the early christian church model and replaced it with the state.
But the world is never perfect and mankind is never completely altruistic. A ‘committed socialist’ has not yet learned this lesson. They still hope for the day when mankind will abandon the human condition, adopt a universal altruistic nature, and proceed to build a beautiful utopian dream.
But if Orwell is such a genius to have written this landmark literary piece, then how could he have ignored the obvious parallel between the totalitarianism of thought required to implement his ‘committed socialist’ paradise, and the totalitarianism of thought that’s embodied in his literary work.
Perhaps the author is trying to make the point that Orwells ‘committed socialist’ totalitarianism is the altruistic kind, and not the kind that only exists to pursue the increase of it’s own power. “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake, Winston is told by OBrien, the Party official who interrogates him. “
So why is it that Orwell being such a ‘committed socialist’ then doesnt have the required grey matter to account for the human condition?
Jeremiah 17:1 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
I am guessing that the role of Emmanuel Goldstein was played by GW Bush.
An interesting point, and not one I had heard, although I am quite certain it must be true. I've often thought, and occasionally said, that socialism is a kind of perverted, over the top form of Christianity, only without God.
Talk about ironic. This quote could be applied to anything printed in the NYT in the last 40 years.
In the end, Winston Smith also came to like rats as well as Big Brother.
Hardly. I've read 1984 twice and I didn't remember this. Seeing it now, I cannot recall having heard/seen it quoted in other contexts. Jacoby needs to read some more.
"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."
"Who is John Galt?"
It does look that way don't it.One relies on the goodness and authority of God,the other on the goodness and authority of man.
So in a back-handed sort of way all those academics who salivate over socialism are actually agreeing that christianity is good,they just don't want He who knows all men meddling in it.
Books like this are marvelous extra-Biblical prophecy. Another is “Philip Drew” by Edward Mandell House. In it, he plays out the plan for world government, now being executed by the Illuminati, CFR, NWO, New Age, central banks and International Communism.
“Brave New World” is another. (Aldous Huxley)
“So why is it that Orwell being such a committed socialist then doesnt have the required grey matter to account for the human condition?”
Jeremiah 17:1 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Right you are. Man cannot be altruistic for long unless and until he is born again and takes on God’s nature. The nature of man is that of Adam and all it knows is how to sin, no matter how much he wishes he could do well.
Romans, Chapters 7 and 8 capture and lay out these thoughts beautifully.
LOL. Ipso facto, it is not one of the most famous first lines in modern Engllish literature.
All twelve spies worked from the same data set. Ten saw certain doom. Two saw further opportunities for God to demonstrate His power, goodness, and faithfulness.
There are, in this country, at this moment, millions of Christian young people who were not "rendered unto Caesar," who were not raised to view Caesar as the ultimate power, the ultimate arbiter of the universe. God would have spared Sodom for ten righteous folks. He obviously has a future for this nation, since He is raising up a redemptive remnant among us.
Will we be ready if Islam was suddenly discredited? Folks, learning Turkish, Farsi, or Arabic is a long lead-time project. Let's get started! As Caleb and Joshua said, "These people are bread for us! Their defense is departed! The LORD is faithful!"
Seems a lot of BDS is still prevalent in taxachusetts.
One .. a diane-a wrote, to counter BDS;
Thanks Jeff. I am very concerned.
He took over the banks, and is still holding them. But he didn't need to.
He bailed out AIG for insuring MBS's globally, but he didn't need to.
He created a huge government-centered union-biased stimulus package. And he didn't need to.
He 'saved' the auto industry by giving Chrysler to an auto company in Italy. And by giving the union ownership of GM. But he didn't need to.
He kept all of Bush's national security policies. But he didn't need to.
He committed to close Gitmo. And he didn't need to. He said we tortured prisoners. (But the AG Holder said we didn't.) And he didn't need to.
He repeatedly said Islam is good and America is bad. But he didn't need to.
He sent more troops to Afghanistan. But he didn't need to.
He wants to continue military presence in Irag. But he doesn't need to.
He gave $800M to the Palestinians and Hamas. But he didn't need to.
He created tens of thousands of new government jobs. But he didn't need to. He demands States support new regulations for taking Stimulus funds. But he didn't need to.
He authorized a NYC flyby, frightening people. But he didn't need to.
He spent taxpayer dollars for a night in NYC. But he didn't need to.
He fly's in steaks from Japan. But he doesn't need to.
He removed ceremonial swords from the USN Academy graduation. But he didn't need to.
He reduced military spending. But he didn't need to. He increased the budget. But he didn't need to.
He repeatedly talked down the economy until it tanked. But he didn't need to.
He selected an activist judge for the SCofUS. But he didn't need to.
He created 21+ (control) czars (when he already has a full cabinet). But he didn't need to.
He complains about Fox News (when he already has all the other media either promoting his agenda or hiding his problems). But he didn't need to.
The unemployment rate will soon hit 10%, and it didn't need to.
It has already been ordained that things will keep getting worse until Jesus comes back to set things right. Who knows; maybe we will be the generation that gets to experience His return during our lifetime...it’s certainly getting close to the cesspool it will need to be and no clearing on the horizon. Look for what seems to be peace and amity between Arabs and Israel and an apparent uptick in world economics at the same time - if those two things coincide, I’m spending a lot more time with spiritual guides...
I recall the first sentence of 1984, but then I have read it many times, almost as a vaccine against being infected by the leftist trend of government over the years.
One of the most memorable, to me at least, of the first sentences of novels is from Wells' War of the Worlds:
No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that this world was being watched1 keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.
It's not as if I do not remember anything about the book, or as if people aren't helping me remember all the time. Big brother is watching. War is Peace. Ignorance is Strength. Freedom is Slavery. But really, clocks striking thirteen is something I just do not remember at all.
I reread it last fall. Well worth reading again, that’s for sure. The parallels are very eerie.
After that I read “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis.
Just finished “Liberty & Tyranny” by Levin - most excellent.
Those led me to “The Road to Serfdom” which I’m reading now.
Socialism is like Sex ... voluntary it’s fine ....force someone...it rape
Actually, Hitler once said the same thing. That Bolshevism was a Christian heresy.
I love Orwell’s writing.
What is “It Can’t Happen Here” about? Besides the obvious, hahaha.
It Can't Happen Here is a semi-satirical political novel by Sinclair Lewis published in 1935. It features newspaperman Doremus Jessup struggling against the fascist regime of President Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip.
Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, a charismatic but power-hungry politician, is elected President of the United States on a populist platform, promising to restore the country to prosperity and greatness. Once in power, however, he becomes a dictator, outlawing dissent and putting his political enemies in concentration camps. As Windrip dismantles democracy, most Americans either support him wholeheartedly or reassure themselves that fascism cannot happen in America (hence the book's title).
One of the few who openly oppose Windrip's regime is journalist Doremus Jessup, who writes editorials decrying the state's abuses of power. Shad LeDue, head of the state police and Jessup's former employee, terrorizes Jessup, eventually putting him in a camp. He also goes after Jessup's family, attempting to seduce Jessup's daughter, Sissy. Eventually, however, Ledue falls out of favor with Windrip, who puts him in the same camp as Jessup. Against Jessup's protestations, the other prisoners gang up on Ledue and murder him.
While Jessup languishes in prison, Windrip's hold on power begins to weaken; the economic prosperity he promises has not materialized, and more and more people are fleeing to Canada to escape his government's brutality. Eventually, Windrip's lieutenants stage a coup and exile him to France. In the ensuing power vacuum, they fight among themselves for control, setting the stage for the regime's self-destruction.
With help from a sympathetic guard, Jessup escapes from the camp, rejoins his family, and goes to Canada join a resistance movement.
Any of this sound oddly familiar?
Ah, got ya. Alot of it is very close to current events. I just hope Texas secedes before that point. I don’t want to go to Canada and I sure don’t want to go to Mexico. Of course all would be better if we have a conservative landslide in 2010.