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George Orwell? s 1984 George Orwell's novel 1984 is a frightening example of a totalitarian government. This government of unchallenged power controls not only the present and future of its people, but also the past. Many times the Party, the name of the government, alters the past to suit its needs. Orwell's vision is frightening because of the total lack of freedom given to the people by the government.
In many ways George Orwell's vision of the future has come true, and the similarities between the present and the world in George Orwell? s 1984 are very frightening. In George Orwell's 1984 the situation of the people in Oceania seems extreme and impossible. In many ways those same situations are present today. Our government recently has greatly resembled the party in its use of doublespeak. Doublespeak, definition: two contradictory ideas expressed in such a way as to negate any confusion.
Affirmative action, a recent hot topic in the election, is a definite example of one of these doublespeak plans that our government proposes so very often. One can easily see the contradiction in Affirmative Action, to help against discrimination during the hiring process by discriminating against others. To say that this is a great plan of action to stop discrimination during the hiring process is a folly. Their proposal of removing the discrimination merely redirects it.
The government? s attempt to control the situation in Bosnia is another example of our governments use of doublespeak. Our efforts to keep the peace in Bosnia is a glaring contradiction, keeping peace by threatening to kill. How can a peace-keeper convey the message of peace with an M- 16 in his hands and a rocket propelled grenade (an RPG is similar to a bazooka) strapped to his back?
Another example of doublespeak has greater implications, why must we send troops to Bosnia? The government says to keep peace, but what about keeping the peace in our own streets. This blatant doublespeak is not only characteristic of the totalitarian government in 1984 but also the government of the United States of America. The Party in 1984, was very dependent upon the slave-like proletarians.
Our government is no different, only they do not think of the lower class people as beneath them. A citizen of the US would say that? s not true, there have not been slaves since the time of Abraham Lincoln. But what about jury duty?
Do you have a choice? No, one must attend or face being fined. Once in attendance, the jury is selected through discrimination and racial stereotyping. After the final jury is selected they are forced to give up their right to freedom of speech.
If they try to speak out they are confronted by armed guards who will arrest the person, or in some cases, if that person tries to run away, shoot to kill. The people of the jury are paid five dollars a day, that? s not even enough to buy food. The whole matter is out of ones hands, the so called obligation to being a citizen is forced upon the people with violence if necessary. This does not sound like a democratic way of doing things, in fact it reminds one of 1984, where refusing to do something ordered by a person? s superiors can result in that person being erased from all public record, in essence vaporized.
Thought-crimes are crimes that are never mentioned but merely though, one would think, nothing like that could happen in America, or can it? Thought-crimes in Orwell? s novel are a serious offense, and one can even be vaporized for this. It is detected in something as innocent as a frown during the daily hate, or looking angry at the tele screen when having to do the morning exercises. The average person thinks that such a crime would be impossible to have in the United States, but there are such things. William Blythe, the author of one of my sources, was working for one of the major micro-chip manufacturers in Silicon Valley.
One day all the employees received a memo from management stating that ' undressing someone with your eyes, is a form of sexual harassment and any offense is punishable if the victim wishes to press charges. ' This is the exact same principle as a thought crime. One being punished for something that it thought but not expressed, and noticed by someone else because of the certain way you look at someone. Even though it sounds ludicrous it is true and is enforceable. The United States military is very similar to the armed forces of Oceania. Our two militaries are very similar because of one main factor, the need for total and thoughtless discipline. In 1984, the army is always described as a wall of blank faces marching directly into the fray.
Both armies need the soldiers to have no thought for the consequences of the actions they are ordered to perform on behalf of the government. There must be no hesitation when the time to push the button arrives and we stand at the brink of nuclear holocaust. It is necessary in both of these militaries for example, for the troops to give their will, mind, and morality to the superiors. They must not think about the orders, only carry them out. If the common grunt begins to show intelligence what do they do in our armed forces? They break that person?
s spirit by working him harder than he has ever been worked before. Both armies, the US military and the Oceania military, practice a form of slavery. Oceania? s army, even though military service is portrayed as a glorious contribution to the country and to Big Brother, the army is made up of people who are being forced to fight. Our country has a very similar practice the draft, it is not right for the government to order young men to go off to battle when that person never signed up for the army life. If one tries to dodge the draft they face prison time.
That practice sounds nothing like the practice of a democratic government does it, forced to sign up, forced to fight, forced to kill, and forced to die. In Orwell? s novel, the populous is constantly monitored through a device called the tele screen. It is very similar to a television except for the fact that it transmits as well as receives data. The Party exploits this to spy on everyone all the time. No one would believe that this is possible in this country, but it is.
Not a person I know has ever even thought about the telephone. It is a part of our lives and presents no harm to anyone. But no one ever checks to see if the microphone really turns off when one hangs up the phone. In some cases it does not! It continues to transmit data along the line. Maybe we all are being listened to and do not even know it.
Also with the rise of the Internet, it is now very easy for someone to run a check on anyone and dig up purchase records, where that person likes to eat the most, credit information, and all sorts of other personal records. Both of these types of monitoring are nearly undetectable ad can happen to anyone. Even though the Party in 1984 and the government of today seem very different, it is very easy for one to see the striking similarities. The one hope for making a difference, is in the ingenuity of our leaders to lead the world to peace not through warfare but through trust. This fact is very important in the quest to reverse what seems like a trend towards totalitarianism and the governments absolute control over our lives and our freedom.
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