Is "1984" The New 2017?
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Politics and Activism

Is "1984" The New 2017?

Why George Orwell's novel still has relevance today.

Is "1984" The New 2017?

In centuries past, societies have been concerned with their trust in the government. Even today in 2017, many still question whether or not to even trust the government. They has the ability to know what you’re thinking and where you are at all times. Governments that have complete control, such as Stalin's and Hitler’s, lead society to fail. Many have believed we are following in their footsteps, because of the corruptive power of our government.

In George Orwell’s,"1984," the government abuses more than just its power. "1984" is a civilization where there is no freedom but everyone lives under a dictatorship--but is this 2017? Is to live in 2017 to live in George Orwell’s, "1984?" "1984" is a communistic based government, opposite of what the United States sought to be. Although, it appears the government of 2017 has foreshadowed aspects of the government represented in "1984."

1984 is a fearful era for the individuals of George Orwell’s novel. The protagonist, Winston Smith, describes what it means to live in the year 1984. In the beginning of the book, the dominance of Big Brother is seen clearly. Big Brother is the dictator in 1984, his name alone signifies he is always there and can intervene in your life at any second. 1984’s government controls all aspects of life, and their citizens are slaves to society.

The government of "1984" is referred to as the Inner Party, who uses every form of surveillance such as telescreens and thought police. Each individual in the Inner Party is denied every aspect of freedom--giving the government full control. The Party expresses their full control through telescreens and large posters described as "contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath ran.” The telescreens provoking a certain type of fear, "received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard.” Both the posters and the telescreens implant paranoia and fear throughout society--keeping all citizens obedient to Big Brother.

In 2017, citizens are more than just slaves to our society that so closely resembles the society of 1984. Technology plays an integral role in affecting society. It has corrupted our government, which is now quite similar to Orwell's Big Brother and also destroyed our sense of privacy. Telescreens of "1984" and the surveillance cameras of 2017 signify the government's abuse of technology that it exerts on society.

Although we do not have telescreens in our apartments just yet, we do have surveillance in largely populated areas such as Times Square, which has always been over-populated with numerous tourist attractions. After that fateful day on September 11, 2001, the government imposed camera surveillance in all populated areas to protect us. In 2017, many citizens have compromised being watched in populated areas for our protection, unlike the citizens in "1984."

In 2014 till now, many had questioned how much the government could know about our private lives. Throughout the Orwell's novel, there is no balance of privacy. In 2017, the technology produced such as iPhones’ have also corrupted our sense of privacy--becoming a new age accessory that never leaves the palm of societies hands. Although, many have questioned how the iPhone and government connect, others are worried about whether or not the government tracks us or view us from the devices' front camera.

These are just some fears society has of our powerful government. The real question is--is the government of 2017 spying on you? Spyware packages, what is now called “electronic surveillance” are government created programs that we unknowingly download to “update” our products. Many individuals believe that by updating their electronics they are allowing the government full access to their private lives. The fear of government invasion through our daily use of electronics is actually quite realistic. It’s not just limited to iPhones, of course. There are various spyware packages that run on PCs, Android, and Blackberry, and its uses are mind-boggling.

The CIA, for example, is using phone-tracking software to target drone strikes in the Middle East and Central Asia. It recognizes the subject by their voice print, but the actual target isn’t terribly accurate. Snowden, a former technician for the CIA, released all the secrets of government surveillance saying, “I don't want to live in a society that does these sorts of things.” Is Snowden is the 2017 realistic version of 1984's Winston Smith? Snowden, as well as Winston, both believe their governments have destroyed the basic rights of individuals or risked the lives of people.

The government has abused their powers and betrayed the trust of their societies over time. Many can agree that "1984" is extremely similar to our world today. Society is taught to find comfort in surveillance and to resist the simple pleasure of privacy, and technology has advanced to the point where it is believed the government can see you through your phone coincidentally as if you had a telescreen in your apartment. "1984" by Orwell is a novel generated to protect the future from government corruption; however, some say it is clear that 2017 is the new "1984."

Note to readers: This is an essay I wrote on '1984' for a literature class in 2014 edited to fit 2017, after reading, would you agree it was accurate then and now?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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