1984 Totalitarianism

Do you ever feel like your privacy is being encroached upon? Almost everyone uses a cellphone or a computer. Some may not know that cellphones and computers are constantly being monitored. How do you personally value your privacy? In George Orwell’s 1984, the people live in a place where the Party inspect all human actions with the watchful eye, Big Brother. George Orwell arose political turmoil in 1984 through the lives of the characters Winston and Julia regarding the totalitarian government they faced everyday.

George Orwell was against Imperialism. During World War II he was rejected from the military. He then headed for the Indian Service of British Broadcasting Corporation. He wrote novels that had patriotic sentiment, advocacy of libertarian, and the idea of socialism. Orwell believed our world should stand for socialism. He stood for all the values, democracy, liberty, and equality. George Orwell had many bad experiences with totalitarianism, and recounts these events in 1984. He experienced the firsthand effects of a totalitarian government in World War II.

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George Orwell Wrote 1984 right after World War II, as a warning against totalitarianism. He expresses his worries about the dangers of a totalitarian government by creating his own dystopia 1984. During World War II, mass murders were ordered by totalitarian leaders like Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. 1984 symbolizes a dystopian society and is very similar to the Soviet Union and the Nazi party of Germany at the time. These two events had a lot of power in the world at the time so it was not uncommon for people to know the conditions of the government and freedoms there. Instead of coming out and telling people what he believed, he used 1984 as a way to try and warn people that one day we might end up as restricted as these people had been. “It is his way of describing a way of life and a society that he thought may happen in the future but he would never want to live to see (David A. Tilem)”.

A totalitarian government “seeks to control not only all economic and political matters but the attitudes, values, and beliefs of its population, erasing the distinction between state and society(Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia).” George Orwell’s 1984 is about a man Winston smith in a country called Oceania with a government called IngSoc. Winston lives in constant fear of being arrested and tortured by members of the Party. Orwell shows how IngSoc is a controlling government and discusses the dangers of a government. IngSoc is a totalitarian government. They control everything by using a telescreen to watch and hear every move you make. “The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound Winston made,above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he re-commanded, he could be seen and as well as heard(6)”. The party puts into their head that you should do as they say and follow their motto “War is peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is strength(7).” or they will be brutally tortured because “Big Brother Is Watching You(5)”

The government in 1984 manipulates every source of information, rewriting and modifying the content of all historical records and other documentary evidence for its own gain. “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past(32)”. Winston dares to express his thoughts in a diary and pursues a relationship even though “…,Big Brother and the Party and the Thought police could all be swept into nothingness by a single splendid movement of the arm(29)”.

Today North Korea is living in a similar world as the characters in 1984. People that live in North Korea are living in a totalitarian government that is controlled by their leader, Kim Jong Il. When a leader is appointed the head of the state or the general secretary of the party in North Korea, he serves in the position for life. The fact that Kim is a lifelong leader of the state means that his policy endures in the state for a very long time. “The leader monopolizes decision-making. Given this highly centralized decision-making system, the leader’s role is more significant than it would be in democratic or authoritarian societies( Lim, Jae-Cheon)”. People in North Korea are constantly being physically controlled and manipulated. This means that the totalitarian government these people live over will never get out of it until their leader dies. The crazy thing is that this is still going on today.

George Orwell’s 1984 has a major impact on today because we are living through it. “George Orwell’s vision of a dystopian future sheds light on Donald Trump’s behavior and actions throughout the 2016 campaign(McKay, Ivy)”. Throughout the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump strived for the dystopian country he wanted. People gave in and voted for him and now he is our current president as of January 2017. His plans for the United States are leading people to believe we are not free as one would think, like the totalitarian government in 1984. 1984 explains how a government could control and own every aspect of its citizen’s life. It is clear that even today democratic governments use similar, but less extreme, methods to influence the way we think of their policies.

Overall George Orwell’s 1984 changed society’s way of seeing the world by viewing society, as well as, our own government. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. It is not interested in the good of others; it is interested solely in power. In a way, this is not far off from our own government systems. George Orwell’s 1984 teaches people to not let other people rule your mind; have your own ideas. Protest against those that want to control you. Technology is great, but use it, don’t let it use you. Don’t let social media tell you what you should do, form your ideas, or control you.

Works Cited

Lim, Jae-Cheon. “Kim Jong-il’s Leadership of North Korea”.

Routledge, 2008.

Traverso, Enzo. “Totalitarianism between History and Theory.”

History & Theory, vol. 56, no. 4, Dec. 2017, pp. 97–118. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/hith.12040.

McKay, Ivy. “Donald Trump and Doublespeak: An Unsettling Precursor to the Dystopian Society of George Orwell’s 1984.”

University of Central Florida Undergraduate Research Journal, vol. 10, no. 1, Oct. 2018, pp. 22–28. EBSCOhost, Orwell, George. 1984. London: Secker & Warburg,1949.

Tilem, David A. “Breaking news, original content covering U.S. news, politics, entertainment, sports, world news, technology, health, science, movie and TV reviews, opinion, religion and blogs.”

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