Modern Politics Of George Orwell's '1984'
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Modern Politics Of George Orwell's '1984'

Did Orwell In Fact Predict The Condition Of America In This 1949 Release?

Modern Politics Of George Orwell's '1984'

During my senior year of high school, I was introduced to “1984” by author George Orwell. In many ways my life shifted after having read and conducted a deep analysis of the book’s fictional content. I wondered what our government’s true motives were; how could we as a nation save ourselves from the cruelties and injustices that could arise as government sanctioned practices?

Headlining this year’s list of trends was none other than the race to the White House between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. For many, the election was a harsh look into the future of America, the most powerful corporation in the world. For those who have read “1984,” however, I’m sure a host of similarities between the futuristic world Orwell described, and the state of our nation during and post election, have resonated.

For those of you who have not yet read Orwell’s classic, “1984,” it follows the story of a man named Winston Smith, a low-ranking member of the Party, the reigning governmental force in London, Oceania. The Party controls the production and reproduction of the people’s history and their language. Newspeak, a language invented and implemented by the Party, attempts to eliminate the risk of political rebellion essentially by eliminating the words that relate to uprising. Thoughtcrime, the simple act of thinking in a rebellious manner, is not only illegal, but considered to be the worst of all crimes. For these reasons, Winston and other citizens like himself, are monitored at all times by Party members via telescreens. This technology combined with the flooding of Party propaganda, serves as a reminder that Big Brother, the omniscient Party leader, is always watching.

Abuse of Language/Rhetoric

The abuse of language and reconstructing of truth, is foreshadowed tremendously throughout the confines of this novel. In fact, Orwell repeatedly reminds his readers to consider the overarching importance and power of language. Donald Trump’s victory was in fact built on a system of radically charged rhetoric. He used “white rage and bigotry as a way to win the White House,” demonstrating the power language displays over the uneducated.

Regarding rhetoric, Orwell describes doublethink as a contradictory Newspeak component of Party politics. It is described as,

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it.”

Mr. Trump, does this sound familiar to you?

Systematic Surveillance

Yes, while there are overarching similarities between the power antics of Big Brother and our current president-elect Donald Trump, there are also distinct similarities between citizenship, livelihood, and the condition of a nation that seem to have transcended as well. As mentioned, one of the most pervasive themes in Orwell’s novel is the idea of a surveillance state. While middle and upper class citizens are not monitored by telescreens as is the case in “1984,” the handheld devices we carry around daily, cell phones, are used as ongoing governmental surveillance tactics. In 2006, the FBI released a case proving this, after having hacked into the mics of a mobster’s phone to record whereabouts and potential endeavors.

Blinded Lower Class

The Proles, or lower class people, constitute the majority of the population in Oceania, as is true today in America. As a result of their dubbed insignificance, the Proles are largely ignored by the Party and do not face the same extent of prosecution for crimes including porn engagement, prostitution, drug dealing, etc. The idea here, is to keep the Proles as distracted from their political conditions as possible. In America today, the lower class is arguably and similarly kept within the dark with regards to conditions of the state, although they do actually constitute the majority of America’s economic platform.

Published in 1949 as a rendition of what the future could potentially look and feel like, George Orwell’s “1984” has proven timeless. The condition of America and American politics have demonstrated the array of similarities that seem to have transitioned from the pages of Orwell’s book to the livelihood of American society today.

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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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