Orwell’s 1984: Are We There Yet?

The second most terrifying thing about George Orwell’s 1984 is the supposition that it is possible to destroy humanity without destroying humankind. The first is how many aspects of our democratic nation resemble his dystopian nightmare.

George Orwell wrote 1984 in 1948 as a political satire of a totalitarian state and a denunciation of Stalinism. Orwell himself was a socialist, who fought for the republicans in the Spanish Civil War and was wounded by a sniper bullet to the throat. As the West became aware of the horrors of Stalin, Orwell became disillusioned.

1984 was Orwell’s resulting futuristic-cautionary tale of Winston Smith in a world of government domination defined by anxiety, hatred, and cruelty. The Party, whose head is reverently called Big Brother, presides over existence through omnipresent surveillance and mind control. Their subjugated citizens are programmed not only to accept if Big Brother says that 2 + 2 = 5, but also to believe it. Winston’s adventures begin as he slowly and fearfully steps out of the established traces, sensing the hypocrisy that surrounds and penetrates him, to search for truth. What he finds is pain.

1984-book-cover-picCommenting on 1984, Orwell wrote, “I do not believe that the kind of society I describe necessarily will arrive, but I believe that something resembling it could arrive.”

Has it?

Of course, the United States is not autocratic; but many of the disturbing elements of 1984 actually exist in American society. In some cases, what is happening in the U.S. is more draconian and invasive than anything Orwell conceived.

War is Peace
One of the Party pillars in 1984 is endless war on a global scale. The war, however, is a fabrication accepted and treated as fact. For, unreal as it is, it is not meaningless. World powers become enemies and allies interchangeably simply to keep the masses in perpetual fear, perpetual industry, and perpetual order. War provides outlet for unwanted emotions such as hate, patriotism, and discontent, keeping the structure of society intact and productive without raising the standard of living.

Where is the enemy—or the end—in our “war on terror?” The faceless foe and limitless objectives are productive of a widespread atmosphere of paranoia and restricted civilian liberties. In the wake of the sequestration military-spending cuts, it is also manifest that, to many, war means little more than a job.

Freedom is Slavery
The perpetual warfare in 1984 sacrifices individual freedom for collective freedom. By submitting entirely to the Party, people surrender their identity and the impulses that arise from having one, passively receiving everything. The principles of unfreedom and inequality are consciously perpetuated to stifle revolution and uprising, uniting all in a trance under the watchful eye of Big Brother.

True freedom is the unimpeded capacity to realize the human good. Freedom in America is generally defined as mere license, which enslaves when human inclinations stray from the good. This American fallacy defines liberty as getting what is wanted, and moreover, that the government is there to give it. Subservience through mindless entitlement for government handouts and bailouts is not freedom, but slavery.

Ignorance is Strength
Any transgression against the Party is a capital crime. The common habit, therefore, is invincible ignorance: the appearance of orthodoxy without knowing what orthodoxy entails. The Party’s world-view is impressed most successfully on people incapable of understanding it.

Has anyone read the Affordable Care Act? The plan appears to be to swallow it in blind lip-service to the ideologies of big government. This mentality is rendered common by a declining—if not fallen—education system. (Who can afford college anyway these days?) Rather than address the plague of ignorance, America seems more concerned with protecting the ignorant from profiling and unequal opportunity.

Telescreens
Practically every public and private place in Orwell’s fictional world is under surveillance through “telescreens,” that also broadcast announcements, news, and propaganda. They are the sleepless eyes monitoring every move, every word, every facial expression, and every involuntary reaction of every person in the effort to detect thoughtcrime. “Big Brother is watching you.”

Social media keeps close record of our “likes” and activities. Our telephone calls and browsing histories are accessible to apparently any NSA analyst, according to Mr. Snowden. Our social security numbers and zip codes are increasingly part of everyday transactions. Private lives are spied upon. Drones fly overhead. Cameras record invisibly. Data is collected. We, too, are being watched.

Doublethink
Party members in 1984 practice a mental contortion that assumes two contradictory premises simultaneously for the sake of exercising control over reality. This practice is called “doublethink,” and leaves no impression that reality has been violated. This mind control, or memory control, allows the Party to shape their world: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”

Politicians often use forms of doublethink when they carefully and consciously lie. National Intelligence Director James Clapper, for instance, was asked at a Senate hearing last March whether the NSA collected information on millions of Americans. “No,” Clapper answered. “Not wittingly.” Following the NSA leak, Clapper insisted he did not lie, but responded in the “least untruthful manner.” We are too accustomed to mutable “truth”—the gospel according to Wikipedia. From conflicting Benghazi reports to misleading Trayvon photographs, the media regularly and unabashedly fabricates, falsifies, and manipulates according to the agenda du jour.

Newspeak
A prominent feature of progress in 1984 is the language “newspeak,” a stripped-down, impotent distortion of English. Orwell draws a connection between the success of the tyrannical government and the deterioration of language, as newspeak renders certain ideas literally unthinkable through reduction of vocabulary and grammar. Language control results in thought control.

We have our own variations of “newspeak” that limits what we think by limiting what we say. “Politically correct” language is speech that hedges thought. Technological autocorrect and autocomplete functions often dictate our phraseology. Emails and tweets promote stilted communication. And let us not forget text talk, which AFAICT, is not helping anything. WYSIWYG. As a language deteriorates, the grand and noble ideas it is capable of expressing are in danger of deteriorating also.

Although we are not citizens of Orwell’s world, there is a complacency in our civilization that is akin to Orwellian capitulation. The fears and confusions of a rapidly changing culture and its permeating devices are disorienting and discouraging. Affairs may not be as grisly as they were for Winston Smith, but we may not be far off. After all, can facecrime really be much different than hate-crime? Is it better for sex to be reduced to its practical purpose or its pleasure? Whether memory holes or paper shredders, a society resembling Orwell’s description may have arrived.

There is only so much we can do. When all are monitored, all are suspect.

“We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone. But how far away that future may be, there is no knowing. It might be a thousand years. At present nothing is possible except to extend the area of sanity little by little.”

Sean Fitzpatrick

By

Sean Fitzpatrick is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and the Headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy. He lives in Scranton, PA with his wife and family of four.

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  • Dick Prudlo

    It is here and we do nothing.

  • publiusnj

    As the book cover shows, sex is part of a 1984-ish goverrnment agenda. Although the Government in its present incarnation tells women and gays that sex is all important to get their votes, the real government agenda is to make sex unimportant. Proof: Gay Marriage (the sex of your spouse and/or yourself is a matter of indifference to the State); California’s New Transgender Rights Law (your sexual equipment is a matter of indifference to the State); The New Rule opening up the Combat Arms to Women (your sex is a matter of indifference to the Army and to its bodybags). The only time sex is important is if a victim group is looking on sexual difference as the basis for a claim against a private entity (states always protect themselves).
    How should the Heterosexual Male respond to this? Well, in the view of the State, he clearly has been fooled up until now into dying for his Family, God and Country and into supporting “his” family which is really just an agglomeration of individuals who voluntarily associate with each other “for so long as they all shall want.” If the combat arms can be done as effectively by women as well as men, then dying for your country is neither “manly” nor “womanly.” By extension, being an infantry-person is therefore no more “manly” than serving as a hairdresser. IOW, heterosexual men have been tricked all along into taking on responsibilities that the State merely thought “convenient” to assign to them and now is the time to rectify that imbalance.
    ANSWER: A 21st Century Lysistrata Project. Males Going on Strike seems the only way to deal with the State’s interference in societal norms on the genders. I am not sure what should go into the Strike; we probably don’t want to hurt our loved ones too much, but clearly we are well along on the road to perdition if we don’t do something. One thought: if sex is not a matter of body parts but of “preference,” then why shouldn’t all men proclaim themselves women and erase “gender distinctions” in a flash? The Viet Nam Generation which is now in power has always been in favor of declaring victory and going home (most recent examples Iraq and Afghanistan), so if the glass ceiling is coopted instead of destroyed, we still all win (since we are all women). And our relations witho our wives don’t have to be hurt either since the marriages would just be sme sex marriages once we declare ourselves women. (TO BE CONTINUED).

    • Sygurd Jonfski

      Please note that by using the term “gay” instead of “homosexual” you are following the rules of newspeak.

      • Adam Baum

        I think we should bring back “buggery”.

        • Sygurd Jonfski

          It’s certainly more precise, even better than “sodomy”.

        • Lisbeth Salander

          I am fond of Crimes against nature and God.

        • roxwyfe

          Actually, with the homosexual community in the US, the term homomafia is quite appropriate.

        • dragoon38@hotmail.co.uk

          Kinky!

      • publiusnj

        I like your singular focus, but do you disagree with my larger points?

        • Sygurd Jonfski

          Well, I’m not sure if I understand what your “larger points” are. Other than that, the topics touched upon in your posting are so wide and multifaceted that I would probably have to spend the next week trying to comment upon them. I’ll be just content with my “singular focus” then…

        • Adam__Baum

          There is a theory that an effective way to enact tyranny is to remove all moral restraints on sex, so as to distract people from the coming restraints with conspicuous “freedoms”.
          You say that the government is attempting to make sex unimportant, I say they are attempting to make us obsessed with the carnal, at least in the short run.

          • STF

            The trend is that sex is important – so long as it is sterile.

          • Lisbeth Salander

            I think that the state is fascinated by sexuality since it is a locus of control. There are those who fit the norm and those that do not. If you fall out of the norm, resources have to be spent to “protect” the rest of society from your “crime” or “potential crime” – it is true that many facets of what was once criminal have become less of a concern, legally, but still rank as matters of conversation outside of law.

            I read Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality and think that much of what he wrote about would pertain to your line of thinking. The state apparatus is responsible (in it’s modern incarnation) with protecting not individuals, but populations. The application of population distinctions includes questions of sex. The distinctions, while often arbitrary, cannot be simply erased. They exist in people’s practice.

      • STF

        doubleplusgood

  • Watosh

    This is an unusually perceptive commentary on the state of our nation.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    “Has anyone read the Affordable Care Act? ”

    I have, but I don’t think anybody for it has, and most people who are against it haven’t read it either. The ACA isn’t socialist, it’s fascist- the biggest corporate welfare package ever devised, guaranteed to deliver 30 million new customers into usury and debt slavery to large faceless corporations. And if you’re one of those 30 million- you will be paying someplace between $0-$2,095/year more for your health care- even if you are currently self-insured.

    The moral implications (required contraception & abortion to avoid costly pregnancies) is just a red herring to keep us from looking a the real problem: A precedent setting, government enforced consumerism.

    • Sure Whatever

      Republican or Democrat or whatever, this was coming no matter what and its scary as shit. You summed it up perfect “government enforced consumerism” thank you.

      • Anon

        So universal healthcare is “fascist” ans “scary as shit”? No wonder people say America is fucked. I’ll bet you oppose the proposed rise in the minimum wage as well. Brb enjoying living in the UK, where human beings aren’t left to die

        • Sure Whatever

          You clearly have not read AAC, and clearly don’t understand a lot of the rules that are involved. Yes please stay in the UK and pay your existence tax, tv taxes and all other ridiculous taxes. Do I want universal health care for USA citizens, of course. Do I want it shoved down my throat, like it is now, fuck no. You sir need to know what you’re talking about before just quoting and spouting off out of your limey mouth.

          • Bono95

            Existence tax, TV tax, and all other ridiculous UK taxes . . .

            “If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street.
            If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
            If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat.
            If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.” :-D

            - The Beatles “Taxman”

        • Adam Baum

          Can you two try to express yourselves without profanity?

          Moderator: how about removing posts with four-letter words.

        • Sygurd Jonfski

          No, in the UK they are being killed off by the Liverpool Care Pathway …

        • Lisbeth Salander

          I would love the system that the UK has. The system that is proposed here has NO BENEFITS. I live in a state with 100 counties. I cannot find a health care plan that is valid in every county in my state, much less every state in the union. This is big government offering a trapped consumer base to the titans of the insurance industry. They are the ones who created the mess, now they get compulsory participation as a reward.

          • Adam Baum

            The “mess” is the creation of politicians pandering, mandating benefits, all against the backdrop of the federal government imposing a myriad of complex, confusing and contradictory regulations through the IRS, the DOL and CMS. And then there’s the lawyers that offer to “help” you if you were “hurt” by your doctor.

            • Bono95

              Yeah, it was a similar English government/legal mess that exacerbated the potato famine in Ireland. The jungle of red tape made it so that the English government and charities couldn’t send food or other relief except under certain conditions like giving up one’s Catholic faith.

          • Slainte

            Lisbeth, my uncle in England, lately deceased, was denied cataract surgery at the age of 87 years old because the cataract condition was deemed not sufficiently “mature”. Now of course the issue is moot.

          • msmischief

            You like starving to death in the hospital?

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  • Marcellus

    To the extent that your three sentence summary of the “war on terror” could be
    considered an analysis, are you making the claim that this “war” has been fabricated “simply to keep the masses in perpetual fear, perpetual industry, and perpetual order?” That seems a bit glib and simplistic. Political understanding is usually not the gift of the young, as you may remember from your reading of Plato and Aristotle (which I assume you read at Thomas Aquinas). Political analysis is also quite different from the teaching of mythology and poetry.
    It would also be nice to know what you mean by: “In the wake of the sequestration military-spending cuts, it is also manifest that, to many, war means little more than a job.”

    • STF

      It is not my intention to suggest that the “war on terror” is the same thing as Oceania’s war with Eastasia/Eurasia. I only wish to point out that the objectives and appellations attached to the “war on terror” are vague—especially to the average American. In my opinion, it is difficult to understand what it means to wage war against an idea or a state of being. Such rhetoric puts me on my guard. Just as people objected to President Johnson calling his Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 a “war on poverty” because it communicated a poor analogy of what actually needed to happen, so too might one consider the title of the current military undertaking. With no clear idea of the goal, it is difficult to stand behind it. Clarity is always preferable to obscurity.

      Now, you are quite right in questioning my abilities as a political analyst because I am not a political analyst. I am simply someone who tries to be attentive to what is going on around me, and to make judgments about them in light of what I have learned and what I believe. If my statements are simplistic that is partially due to my intentionally painting with a broad brush in consideration of the medium, and partially to my own view of things, which is broad. Again, I am not a political analyst, but a political observer.

      The final comment I made concerning the sequestration is a reference to the uproar over furloughs caused by the military budget cuts. There were many people with domestic military jobs who were upset about the spending cuts because they lost their wages (which, of course, is unfortunate and regrettable) rather than upset because of an ideological or national motivation. The war is so far away to so many (both physically and psychologically) it is difficult to comprehend the import or purpose of it, which can breed—again, in my opinion—a strange cultural attitude about it.

      If my observations are glib, I can only say they are not meant to be. They are honest, and, if off target, I am open to the truth in these matters.

      Thank you for your comment.

      • Adam Baum

        You know Sean as a resident of Scranton, PA, you could easily see Newspeak in action. If you visit that federal facility with Steam in it’s name, you will see that it is now completely powered by internal combustion.

      • Marcellus

        Thank you for responding with such good will. I think that shows that you have promise. A good will is more important than a good intellect, and without it a good intellect usually goes astray. Just be careful in offering summations of the state of society or political affairs, especially as you look so young from your picture.

    • SAC Crew Dog

      As a former Air Force officer, I see the operations in Southwest Asia as an Oceania/Eastasia/Eurasia farce. I’ve talked to troops that have returned from that theatre of operations, and it is not pretty.

      In my day, our orders were to destroy the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and take and control the Soviet landmass sufficiently to eliminate any possibility of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union mounting a counteroffensive. We had specific people to kill and specific sites to conquer.

      Today’s troops have no such thing. Their orders are, “Kill terrorists.” Do these terrorists have names? Nope. Do they wear uniforms or fly flags? Nope. Do they have military bases and political parties that can be seized? Nope. Just “Kill terrorists.” When all is said and done, our troops are essentially being used as city cops. Not a military force; street police. There is no end, since there are no criteria that can be met signifying “victory.” Endless War for Endless Peace. (The truth is endless war for endless profits for the Military-Industrial Complex Eisenhower warned us about.)

      The Patriot Act and its accompanying laws are not to protect us, they are to enable the Party to subjugate us for the above endless profits for the Party.

      Do I speak the truth? Did you see the recent article about the 341st Strategic Missile Wing failing an nuclear safety and surety inspection, for the second time? Think about it…….

      • Marcellus

        I have some background in military matters as well, and have studied military science for a number of years. I have also spoken to many troops of various rank who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.

        While one could argue that the policies of both this and the prior administration may be misguided or confused, my point was that it is reaching to say that they are designed to “simply to keep the masses in perpetual fear, perpetual industry, and perpetual order.” It is also simplistic to think that the policies pursued, however misguided, are being pursued simply to enrich the “military-industrial-complex.”

        I did see that the 341st received an “unsatisfactory” rating due to tactical-level errors during one exercise. What’s your point? The standards are still high and they are sometimes hard to meet.

        • Adam Baum

          “Failure is not an option”.

          A second failure indicates something worse; the inability to identify and effect corrective action. Then again, perhaps the commanding officer is preparing to host drag queens as one AFB recently did.

      • WRBaker

        As an Army Vietnam vet, we had the same problem because the North Vietnamese rarely came out to fight and we never took it to them (ground forces, that is). This left the Viet Cong – truly the terrorists of South VIetnam (no flags, uniforms, etc) and brutal in their methods.

      • slainte

        If the Congress does not declare war, don’t go.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          Reminds me of a slogan I saw on the walls of the Sorbonne in May, 1968, « Imagine: c’est la guerre et personne n’y va! » [Imagine: there was a war and no one turned up]

          There was another, more realistic, current at the time, « Le futur n’a plus d’avenir » [The future has no future]

          • slainte

            Enforcement of the Constitutional provision which requires Congress to declare war might have protected many young, innocent, and heroic men and women from untimely death.
            I think of these heroes when I visit our United States Veterans Cemetery at Pinelawn, Long Island. While I walk toward the graves of my family, I must walk past those who have died so recently in Iraq and Afghanistan…so many, so young, so tragic. The graves contain personal notes from wives and young children; there is always a profusion of flowers and small stuffed animals. Two years ago, I observed a young woman lying fully prostrate on a grave as if trying to communicate with her lost love…such sorrow.
            For those who have served, I thank you most sincerely and for those who have lost a valiant soldier, may God’s peace be with you and your family.

  • Greg Cook

    I think it is an important distinction that Orwell fought in an anarchist unit and that he was later almost captured and killed by the socialists. A very interesting read is the brief dual biography of Orwell and Waugh by David Lebedoff: “The Same Man.”

    • Adam Baum

      Orwell was also a socialist, interestingly. Perhaps had he lived longer, Eric Arthur Blair would have seen that the totalitarianism he wrote against wasn’t the betrayal of socialism, but it’s natural course.

      • Sygurd Jonfski

        Erratum: “its”…8)

        • Adam Baum

          Indeed. Duly noted. Thanks. Detrimental reliance of spell-check should be a sin.

          • Sygurd Jonfski

            Agreed.

    • Sygurd Jonfski

      Actually, not by the socialists but the communists.

  • Dave

    This is an oversimplified, slippery-slope kind of an article. Many of the comparisons between Orwell’s world and the US government and society are, at very best, cherry-picked, worst-case interpretations. Fluffy and sensational.

    • B

      You sir, are, let me guess, a delusional Republican that doesn’t believe his party has been hijacked. And you support Rubio, Cristie and the like?

      • Adam Baum

        He sounds more like he’s from the other party where there isn’t the slightest idea that the state is omniscient, omnibenevolent and incorrupt and incorruptible.

        • Adam Baum

          errata: isn’t…

      • Dave

        Worse. I am a clear-thinking Democrat (though I suspect you’ll argue the point) who thinks anybody right of Rubio and Cristie is a little psycho and, thankfully, not ready for primetime.

        • Adam Baum

          I never dispute the clarity of Democrats’ thinking. It’s the intent and the effects that bother me. You little worker bees know your place, and you’ll tatter your wings in search of pollen, and if need be, disgorge your innards in defense of your queen.

          • Dave

            I don’t think any more Democrats think that way than do Republicans, though the party rhetoric is different. Both parties have factions that affect some version of contempt for “the great unwashed”. Republicans think Democrats hate red-necks and Democrats think Republicans hate peace-niks; and there’s a slice of truth in both those preconceptions. Once again, I think you are taking it too far and only see it as a left-wing problem.

            • Adam Baum

              No I don’t. There is at least a fight on the right, on the left there is absolute intellectual homogeneity. By the way “Dave”/”Mrs. Smith congratulations on your cyberspace gender reassignment.

              You should continue to use “dave”, I rather favor “Mrs Smith’s” pies, and I’d rather not associate those fine products with your insipid tedium.

              • Dave

                That’s someone else. No need to change names; I can deal with you quite well with one identity, plus I wouldn’t want to ruin your dessert.

    • Adam Baum

      Only a fool can’t see the resemblances and a dangerous one tries to sweep them away with vacant adjectives like “oversimplified”.

      If you add the obliteration of the family, the commoditization of humanity and the sexualization children present in Huxley’s Brave New World, along with the elevation of homosexuality and exclusion of males and masculinity present in the lesser known but equally powerful “Shore of Women” (Pamela Sargent) you see we may not exactly be headed to 1984, but to fusion of three seperate dystopias.

      • Dave

        You make it sound like there’s a single governmental brain trust that is in collusion on all of this. Are you saying everybody’s in on the conspiracy? Much of what you describe has been going on over several years, presidential administrations, bodies of congress and so on. Who is the Svengali in this puppet show of yours? Plus, now your mixing and matching political satirist writers to bolster your strange, biggoted and paranoid argument.

        • TomD

          I tend to agree about your skepticism of a “single governmental brain trust.” Government today seems to be mostly incompetent and the use of the word “brain” with “government” in the same sentence is, shall we say, a bit of an oxymoron.

          There are too many conspiracy theories floating around on the internet that require, or assume, an organized, competent, governmental threat, similar to those depicted in 1984. If anything, government today is too incompetent to be a 1984-like threat.

          But, somehow, that doesn’t make me feel better.

          • Sygurd Jonfski

            Still, SOMEBODY (in fact, many “somebodies”) is implementing the Frankfurt School program and Samuel Alinsky’s subversive tactics on the top level…

          • Adam Baum

            Even the dumbest beast knows and subdues it’s foes, instinct works wonders.

            • Dave

              I wonder if you can stop answering everything with a hodgepodge of empty adages and loosely linked metaphors long enough to make a real argument in which you identify your perpetrators. Who is your dumb beast? Can you be specific? I’m genuinely curious to hear how you think this has all been orchestrated. Do you have an answer or are you going to continue to quote from old Kung Fu episodes in hopes of passing yourself off as a deep thinker? If you have a theory about a systematic and contrived initiative by the government (or whoever) to control our minds and bodies that’s been in place for who knows how long (or whatever it is you believe) with any substance and specifics behind it at all, let’s hear it, Chief. Or did it all start with Obama? I don’t even care if your answer is belittling, as long as you can actually produce something tangible to back your heretofore vague assertions.

              • Adam__Baum

                Dave, you really are boring, I’m sorry.

                • Dave

                  That’s okay. I except your concession.

                  • Dave

                    ‘Accept’, that is.

        • Adam Baum

          Given that you seem to nothing to offer but a reflexive defense of the state, you are the bigot in the true meaning of the word.

          Too a lesser mind, gravity acting on a body in space might seem like a conspiracy, rather than the natural result of a massive body deforming space and time.

          Of course, since you used lower case “congress”, did you mean to make an archaic reference to sexual intercourse or was that just an attempt at rhetorical flourish in your stammering, viscerally indignant but intellectually vacant protest?

          • Dave

            ‘Not really sure how my “defense of the state” is any more reflexive than your sloppy, amorphous musings. Suggesting that questioning your conspiratorial tendencies is analogous to calling gravity a hoax is a funny (and somewhat desperate-sounding) way to attempt a distraction from the fact that you really don’t have much substance to back your assertions. Your last paragraph was just silly and pointless; you ought to be able to do better than that.

            • Adam Baum

              There’s a certain amount of intellectual and moral disorder implied by changing pseudonyms in a thread.

              I didn’t suggest that lesser minds call gravity a hoax, but a conspiracy, and you are the conspiratorialist, not me. I work in the beast, I understand it. You are merely an acolyte of somewhat you thing you can’t seem to believe might not be worship.

              Then again “silly” is a charge you level when you can’t form a decent response. Since it’s a matter of taste, it’s a vast void, devoid of substance and form. Of course I can tell you are intimately familiar with vast voids.

              • Dave

                A thousand apologies! Hoax vs. Conspiracy… utter intellectual and moral disorder has, indeed, broken loose! How could I have missed your true meaning so entirely? ‘Not sure how you know me so well – have we gone drinking together? I work for a Fortune 20 company and am a very proud Capitalist. I just get tired of all the carnival barking… from both sides of the aisle.

                • Adam Baum

                  Overwrought sarcasm isn’t a defense against a failure to make the proper point while slinging your arrows.

                  • Dave

                    Something about a pot and a kettle seems apropos.

                    • Adam Baum

                      Incoherent thinking and projecting is a toxic brew. Stop imbibing.

                    • Dave

                      Why does everything you say sound like a fortune cookie? Can’t you make an argument? You still haven’t explained how your theory could plausibly be. Besides, if we were anywhere near Orwell’s dystopia, how do you suppose the author of this light-weight article, or any of you disciples of this wacko, extremist brand of thinking, haven’t been detained and charged with Thought Crime by now?

                    • Adam__Baum

                      I don’t say anything here, I write or state it.

                    • Dave

                      Enough with the semantic evasions. Do you have anything to “write” or “state” that has any substance at all?

          • slainte

            “…….just an attempt at rhetorical flourish in your stammering, viscerally indignant but intellectually vacant protest?…”
            Are you sure you’re a CPA and not an English major?

            • Adam Baum

              I despised English as an undergraduate, mostly because of incidents like the day after the election of Ronald Reagan our instructor indulged us in an indignant rant about the outcome, telling us (all 20) that “in as much as you were responsible for this”.

              I realized as an undergraduate economics major, but especially as a bureaucrat that most people (especially the ruling class) is largely innumerate and they use creative anguage as a weapon. I rather enjoy going into a meeting and meeting some lawyer with logorrhea word for word, it renders the apoplectic.

              • Adam Baum

                them. obviously, my proofreading needs work.

                • Dave

                  You guys should go to Prom!

                  • Adam__Baum

                    We’ve advanced beyond high school.

                    • Dave

                      Well done.

              • slainte

                I liked the flowing dexterity of the prolific nature of your word usage…..I laughed as I read it.
                I was also partly responsible for President Reagan being voted into office. He was the first President I ever voted for and I never regretted it. What an amazing and inspiring leader! Nancy was a lovely and protective wife and First Lady.
                May his soul rest in peace, and may perpetual Light shine upon him.

                • Adam__Baum

                  When I’m really despondent, I listen to “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall..”

                  • Bono95

                    Or how about the 9 scariest words in the English language, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”? :-O :-D

        • Scottsevil

          even if its not “known” to all .. it is known to a very few that this plan of collusion is working. Even if people don’t know they are IN on the conspiracy, they are a part of it. just as much as you or I am.

      • Bono95

        We could also throw in C.S. Lewis’s “That Hideous Strength”. A giant pseudo-scientific corporation called the National Institute for Coordinated Experiments, or NICE, takes over a small college town, and plans to move on from there to the rest of England and then the rest of the world. One of the main protagonists is involved with the institute. He’s a flawed hero who eventually is rescued, but before then he witnesses and participates in several dystopian crimes in the name of his idols of progress and the “in-crowd”. As he attempts to penetrate further, he discovers that those who seemed “in” were really more “out” and those further “in” than the first group are still not the most initiated. Just who or what really controls everything he never discovers. The answer is provided elsewhere in the book, but I won’t spoil it here.

        • musicacre

          Yeah, it’s a good read.

          • Bono95

            Amen. I’ve read it (and the previous 2 books in the trilogy) 3 times, and have yet to be tired of them. Even though I already know what happens, the stories are all fresh, exciting, impossible to put down, thought-provoking, and profound every single time. That’s one of the hallmarks of a great book or story, you can’t leave it alone, you never get tired of it, and after it’s done, you still want more.

  • Adam Baum

    One minor quibble. The question isn’t “are we there yet”, it’s how far in are we?

    The groundwork for the present situation was laid a century ago, when the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments were passed.

    The Sixteenth Amendment, of course, allowed the federal government to tax income. It also removed important controls on the form and amount of taxation. The first control was that was lost when the individual states were no longer in between the individual and the federal government.

    A government is in a much better position to dispute the “necessity” of expenditure and the form and amount of taxation, and to see differential treatment as as the division part as the first part of divide and conquer. Individuals are all to easily divided, distracted and exhausted in dealing with the federal government. The income tax was enacted as easily born instrument of sufficient revenue. In a mere 100 years it has grown in scope and intrusiveness, magnitude and complexity. Despite raising enormous moneys, it can’t seem to ever sate the ambitions of the spendthifts that seek office.

    The second key in the self-destruct sequence initiated a century ago was the direct election of Senators. It has not improved the moral caliber of the Senate (as promised), but removed the necessary power of individual states to ensure that their interests were accounted for in federal action. A side consequence was to remove an important buffer between the individual and the supreme government-making the individual a subject of remote and all powerful state.

    Given the vast numbers of people who are caught up in the engineered dependency that exists today, I suspect we will fully enter 1984, less than 50 years late, before 2034.

  • Mrs. Smith

    Your reference to “big government” and the evils of the ACA is the biggest example of doublethink I have seen in a while.

  • Tim Tufuga

    Nice critique and semantic fools guide to Orwellian wordspeak. I was impressed with Orwell’s unique talent at neologism and the perpetual use of the oxymoron expression. He may have been a socialist but his deductive reasoning of a futuristic pessimistic political world was anything but a Hegelian or Marxist dialectical progression from a bifurcation of history to one that will endure perpetual conflict. Orwellian verisimilitudes perception or closer to the perception of political political theory and heuristics has some reflection from the Karl Popper empirical falsification of political history. The failures of socialism as may be alluded is the likelihood of socialist regimes to manifest into totalitarian dictatorship regimes, such as Stalinism, Maoism, Kim’s of North Korea, and the Fidel Castro’s of Cuba. This has become a prophetic truism of political realty and indeed the theory of communism has become falsified in actuality, instead, the processes for true communism was indeed a diffusion of Marxist economic theory which would correctly amount to a Popperist verisimilitude and an empirical falsification of classical Marxism in actuality.

    • Wayne

      Orwell would have been saddened by this post. His rules for writing 1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. 2. Never use a long word where a short one will do. 3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. 4. Never use the passive where you can use the active. 5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
      While you haven’t broken most of them you have egregiously breached 2&5.

      • Tim Tufuga

        Oh really, well, in George Orwell’s day he would be eating his own words for being a hypocrite for inventing new words into the English lexicon, which were indeed foreign at the time.
        Secondly, these are not big words for people who understand their meaning and conceptualise it in the context of the Orwellian thought thread. I was merely citing Karl Popper and not inputting intellectually elite concepts to impress the laity. If you don’t understand their inference then google search it. By the way in George Orwell’s day the word google would be a foreign word with absolute no substantive value and unknown by any intelligent English man living then.

  • E.J. Rotert

    I agree with the claim made by Neil Postman in his book `Amusing Ourselves to Death’: that Huxley’s `Brave New World’ got it more right. The control comes more from within — and freely at that — than without.

    • slainte

      The control from within is aided from without.

      • E.J. Rotert

        Agreed.

  • Maccabeus

    I take only one exception to your well written article. There is no “faceless” enemy; you simply haven’t been watching closely enough. Our enemies clearly have faces, faces snarled with hatred toward freedom, women and Christ. Their faces are attached to bodies that brandish swords sword which they are far too eager to use in slashing your throat. What is truly Orwellian is that our own government intends for them to do just that.

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  • WRBaker

    Whenever I think of 1984, I think of Brave New World and the song, In the Year 2525. Both books were read in high school and the song was a hit in 1969. There are so many elements to the song that was ahead of its time, but waytoo long in some of its predictions. (Parts of the song follow.)
    In the year 2525, if man is still alive
    If woman can survive, they may find

    In the year 5555
    Your arms hangin’ limp at your sides
    Your legs got nothin’ to do
    Some machine’s doin’ that for you

    In the year 6565
    You won’t need no husband, won’t need no wife
    You’ll pick your son, pick your daughter too
    From the bottom of a long glass tube

    In the year 9595
    I’m kinda wonderin’ if man is gonna be alive
    He’s taken everything this old earth can give
    And he ain’t put back nothing

    Now it’s been ten thousand years, man has cried a billion tears
    For what, he never knew, now man’s reign is through
    But through eternal night, the twinkling of starlight
    So very far away, maybe it’s only yesterday

    • Bono95

      And don’t forget Living Colour’s hit “Cult of Personality”.

  • Anon

    This is really interesting although i think its examples should include more than just things that happen in the US… This is happening all over the world and people need to become aware to the facts.

  • Kevin Cooney

    That’s what happens when you put your faith in man., especially when the devil has him & God is left out of it! It’s not in who God we trust ; but with this government ” the devil we trust? “

  • Edward Shipp

    I love you, beautiful synopsis/ article.

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  • STF

    Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.” Sobering.

    • Adam__Baum

      Today the whole are of government consists in the art of being dishonest.

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  • Lisbeth Salander

    I agree withe the article, but I feel that Orwell can only address so much of what is awry in our current situation. I like Brave New World for its implications of science and the social structure that renders most any concerns irrelevant, much like our media conflates drone warfare with Kim Kardshian’s antics. I like the prison planet and mental control suggested by a Clockwork Orange. I think Orwell covers a lot of needed territory, but the situation is in fact much worse.

  • hombre111

    Nice piece of propaganda in its own right. Along with the NSA, the big brother that is watching you is usually a corporation, such as Google.

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  • roxwyfe

    1984 was on the required reading list for one of my high school literature classes. Nowdays, there are neither literature classes (in any real sense of the word) nor required reading lists. You cannot learn to think critically while sucking on the teat of big government and accepting the handouts it gives, both physical and mental. We, as a society, need to wake up and take back control of our government and what/how our children are being educated!! before it’s too late.

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  • cestusdei

    After 8 years of Obama and another 8 of Hilary I think we will almost be there.

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  • jklon

    and the goverment in usa try to include europe into a worlwide Control over movements of their communitis.

    • jklon

      now i cursed ;)

      • jklon

        bt i`m happy ,proably untouchabel living in a free
        contry therthe goverment can`t overrule and make New rules for each Chase.

  • Elwin Ryan Ransom

    I have been saying exactly all of these for the last 3-4 years. At first my husband thought that I was being a little dramatic, but not anymore.

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