Tag Archives: George Orwell

The Omnipresent Surveillance State: Orwell’s 1984 Is No Longer Fiction, by John W. Whitehead

Orwell couldn’t have dreamed of the many of the methods and technologies by which governments now keep track of us, although he anticipated some of them. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”—George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state.

It’s been 70 years since Orwell—dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm—depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984.

Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, “He loved Big Brother,” we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.

“To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone— to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink — greetings!”—George Orwell

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or “Party,” is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: “Big Brother is watching you.”

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”―George Orwell

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70 Years Later, It’s Still ‘1984’, by Matthew Feeney

Orwell realized that controlling the language was essential to controlling thought. From Matthew Feeney at insidesources.com:

In October 1947 Eric Blair, known today by his pen name George Orwell, wrote a letter to the co-owner of the Secker & Warburg publishing house. In that letter, Orwell noted that he was in the “last lap” of the rough draft of a novel, describing it as “a most dreadful mess.” 

Orwell had sequestered himself on the Scottish island of Jura in order to finish the novel. He completed it the following year, having transformed his “most dreadful mess” into “1984,” one of the 20th century’s most important novels. Published in 1949, the novel turns 70 this year. The anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on the novel’s significance and its most valuable but sometimes overlooked lesson.

The main lesson of “1984” is not “Persistent Surveillance is Bad” or “Authoritarian Governments Are Dangerous.” These are true statements, but not the most important message. “1984” is at its core a novel about language; how it can be used by governments to subjugate and obfuscate and by citizens to resist oppression.

Orwell was a master of the English language and his legacy lives on through some of the words he created. Even those who haven’t read “1984” know some of its “Newspeak.” “1984” provides English speakers with a vocabulary to discuss surveillance, police states and authoritarianism, which includes terms such as “Big Brother,” “Thought Police,” “Unperson” and “Doublethink,” to name a few.

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He Said That? 1/10/19

From George Orwell (1903–1950), English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic, 1984 (1949):

Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.

He Said That? 9/2/18

This seemed appropriate after John McCain’s funeral. From George Orwell (1903–1950), English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic, 1984 (1949):

The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.

He Said That? 8/21/18

From George Orwell  (1903–1950), British novelist, essayist, and journalist:

So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot

Government Eyes Are Watching You: We Are All Prisoners of the Surveillance State, by John W. Whitehead

The state and its corporate partners have constructed an electronic Panopticon. From John Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“We’re run by the Pentagon, we’re run by Madison Avenue, we’re run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don’t revolt we’ll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche…. As long as we go out and buy stuff, we’re at their mercy… We all live in a little Village. Your Village may be different from other people’s Villages, but we are all prisoners.”— Patrick McGoohan

First broadcast in America 50 years ago, The Prisoner—a dystopian television series described as “James Bond meets George Orwell filtered through Franz Kafka”—confronted societal themes that are still relevant today: the rise of a police state, the freedom of the individual, round-the-clock surveillance, the corruption of government, totalitarianism, weaponization, group think, mass marketing, and the tendency of humankind to meekly accept their lot in life as a prisoner in a prison of their own making.

Perhaps the best visual debate ever on individuality and freedom, The Prisoner (17 episodes in all) centers around a British secret agent who abruptly resigns only to find himself imprisoned and interrogated in a mysterious, self-contained, cosmopolitan, seemingly tranquil retirement community known only as the Village. The Village is an idyllic setting with parks and green fields, recreational activities and even a butler.

While luxurious and resort-like, the Village is a virtual prison disguised as a seaside paradise: its inhabitants have no true freedom, they cannot leave the Village, they are under constant surveillance, their movements are tracked by surveillance drones, and they are stripped of their individuality and identified only by numbers.

The series’ protagonist, played by Patrick McGoohan, is Number Six.

Number Two, the Village administrator, acts as an agent for the unseen and all-powerful Number One, whose identity is not revealed until the final episode.

“I am not a number. I am a free man,” was the mantra chanted on each episode of The Prisoner, which was largely written and directed by McGoohan.

In the opening episode (“The Arrival”), Number Six meets Number Two, who explains to him that he is in The Village because information stored “inside” his head has made him too valuable to be allowed to roam free “outside.”

Throughout the series, Number Six is subjected to interrogation tactics, torture, hallucinogenic drugs, identity theft, mind control, dream manipulation, and various forms of social indoctrination and physical coercion in order to “persuade” him to comply, give up, give in and subjugate himself to the will of the powers-that-be.

To continue reading: Government Eyes Are Watching You: We Are All Prisoners of the Surveillance State

Ten Ways the Democratic Northern Hemisphere Nations Became the Orwellian West, by Doug “Uncola” Lynn

If we’re not already in Oceania, we’ll get there soon. From Doug “Uncola” Lynn at theburningplatform.com:

In his book, “1984”, George Orwell envisioned a future crushed by the iron grip of a collectivist oligarchy. The narrative told of the INGSOC Party which maintained power through a system of surveillance and brutality designed to monitor and control every aspect of society.  From the time of the book’s release in 1949, any ensuing vision of a dark dystopia depicting variations of jackboots stomping on human faces, forever, has been referenced as being “Orwellian”.  This is because Orwell’s narrative illustrated various disturbing and unjust conceptualizations of control, crime, and punishment.

For example, “Newspeak” represented the language of mind control, whereas “crimethink”, “thoughtcrime”, and “crimeface” manifested as transgressions against the state.  Guilty citizens were captured by the “Thought Police”, and the ultimate punishment consisted of“vaporization”; which eliminated every last vestige of a person’s existence.

In the horrifying world of 1984, the nation of Oceania was divided into three concentric groups:  The Inner Party, the Outer Party, and the Proles, or proletariat.  The Proles constituted 85% of the population and lived in extreme privation.  The Inner Party represented the elite powerbrokers who led lives of comprehensive luxury compared to the minions in the Outer Party.

But in the real world of today, it is the globalist billionaires who own multiple mansions, fly private jets and ride in eight-cylinder limousines to climate-change conferences where policies are decreed to lower the carbon footprint of the proletariat.  It is the wealthy elite of the westernized nations who have sacrificed individual freedom upon the altar of Collectivism as political correctness has stifled free speech and enslaved citizens drown under oceans of debt.

At the same time, megalithic multi-national corporations like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter, have become the eyes and ears of Big Brother; always watching and ever listening.

Indeed, Orwell was near prophetic in describing the proliferation of listening devices in both public and private settings as well as “telescreens”, which simultaneously broadcast propaganda while relaying live video feeds back to the Party watchers.  And just as free will and individuality were sacrificed to the extreme demands of Collectivism in the fictional nation of Oceania, so do the globalists and corporate oligarchs of the twenty-first-century desire a new world government fused together by technology and the circular, magnetic dynamism of the hive-mind.

To continue reading: Ten Ways the Democratic Northern Hemisphere Nations Became the Orwellian West