A number of years, I helped a friend of my son’s write a college paper. While in London for eight days I met an older woman, born in 1945, who quoted Orwell, and many other people. Orwell made me remember this paper. Here it is:
“All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. –George Orwell. George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 was foreshadowing the future. The United States of America is gradually moving into a dictatorship style government as illustrated in 1984. The ideological similarities and systematic changes between Orwell’s 1984 and post 9/11 America is vast and will be thoroughly proven in this paper. The surveillance of America is being increased dramatically everyday with the use of camera’s. Wiretapping and microphones are another way the government is using technology to monitor the American people. Children spies are now being used to supervise adults and report back to “Big Brother.” Osama Bin Laden was used as a scapegoat in order to pass unconstitutional laws and illustrate a face linked to “terrorism.” The United States has been constantly at war since the beginning of the new millennium in order to keep the American people in a constant state of fear. The United States government is now transforming local police officers into full combat military soldiers and is propelling a repressive police state. America has been using misinformation and disinformation for numerous years in order to keep the American people from knowing the truth.
The United States of America is using twenty-four hour surveillance cameras in order to spy on the American people. The novel 1984 also uses twenty-four hour constant surveillance in order to spy on the citizens of Oceania. “It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move.BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran… The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely.” (Orwell, Page 5.) Oceania has surveillance of its citizens 24/7 in order to make absolutely sure that the citizens do not conspire against Big Brother. “Due to major security concerns in America, the US is catching up to its British ally: about 3,000 cameras are being installed as part of the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, a trend echoed in many other American cities including Dallas, Phoenix, Baltimore, New Orleans and Los Angeles.” (Hayes, Journal) Hayes is explaining that the United States is installing a vast amount of camera systems in order to deal with security threats. Hayes is absolutely wrong. Government camera surveillance will not benefit the citizens of the United States; yet actually strip more freedom away. One counterargument would be that 24-hour surveillance would give the American people a safer America. History has shown that increased government assistance inevitably creates lack or freedom and increased government control. Ben Franklin once said, “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.” The United States is moving towards an Orwellian surveillance system that will not work in the favor of its citizens. Increased surveillance will lead to more control by the government and strip more freedom away from the American people. Cameras are not the only source of technology that the government is using to control us, but actually microphones too.
The United States is using illegal wiretapping and hidden microphone’s to spy on the American people.Orwell also used microphones and wiretapping on the citizens of Oceania in order to keep control of the state.“There were no telescreens, of course, but there was always the danger of concealed microphones by which your voice might be picked up and recognized.” (Orwell, Page 98.) This explains the paranoia faced by the Oceania citizens because Big Brother also used microphones in order to maintain control over the state. “Violation of FISA is a felony, and we know, through his own admissions, that Bush failed on at least forty occasions to obtain court approval for the wiretaps, despite the clear requirement of the statute that he do so. He even authorized wiretapping when the Justice Department refused to sign off on its legality.” (Holtzman) This quote proves that the United States is violating American freedom by using illegal wiretapping. This is a great source because this is unconstitutional and Holtzman is absolutely right about George W. Bush violating our securities. One counterargument is that Bush is doing this in order to fight terrorism and help make the United States even safer.This is a false statement. No president should spy on his own people especially when it is illegal. That doesn’t prove that he is fighting to make a better America. Wiretapping and microphones whether it’s in a novel or in present day, always leads to the freedom of the people diminished. This technological innovation is another way for the government to keep track on its people. Anything that contradicts the constitution should be red flagged and discarded. Microphones are one way of invading citizen’s freedoms, but governments also use children spies.
The United States is using child indoctrination by encouraging children spies to turn in their parents in order to obtain cash rewards. In 1984, Orwell illustrated the use of children spies in order to turn in enemies of the state. “Nearly all children nowadays were horrible. What was the worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages, and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party” (Orwell, Page 24.) Oceania uses indoctrination of children as one of the tactics in order to sustain control over its citizens. “Ms. Ross’s children are part of what experts say is a growing army of “eco-kids…” Amid their pride in their children’s zeal for all things green, the grown-ups sometimes end up feeling like scofflaws under the watchful eye of the pint-size eco-police, whose demands grow ever greater, and more expensive.” (Foderaro) The United States is now using children as spies to reinforce the “green” eco-friendly movement. This is a good source proving that the government is using children in order to help the state. One counterargument might include the great help the nation is getting by using these children as more “carbon cops.” That argument is false because throughout history many totalitarian leaders, including the Nazi’s, have used children to spy on their parents and neighbors. Children are young, dumb, and malleable. No government should be using children to benefit itself, and if so that government should be overthrown.
After the attack on 9/11, the United States used Osama bin Laden as a scapegoat in order to put a face on terrorism and strip away Americans rights. Orwell uses Emmanuel Goldstein as the distant enemy in order to keep the citizens fearful. “The program of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Goldstein was not the principal figure. He was the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party’s purity. All subsequent crimes against the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or other he was still alive and hatching his conspiracies: perhaps somewhere beyond the sea, under the protection of his foreign paymasters.” (Orwell, Page 14.) Emmanuel Goldstein is used as the scapegoat in order to keep the Oceania citizens constantly fearful. “John F. McManus claims that the USA PatriotAct, which was passed in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, gives the president authority and powers that are not limited to the pursuit of terrorists. McManus warns that the act licenses snooping on U.S. citizens, including the seizure of business records, the collecting of e-mails, and the wiretapping of phone calls.” (McManus) The threat of Osama Bin Laden, after 9/11, posed an enormous threat to the American people.This drove legislation to create new laws that contradicted American freedoms. One counterargument is that the patriot act is beneficial to the American people because it fights terrorism. History has shown that when citizens give up their freedoms in order to obtain increased security, they eventually lose both freedom and security. The American government is not concerned with terrorism but rather driven to slowly strip the American people of their constitutional rights in order to control them.
The United States is keeping the American people terrified by using the “war on terror” as a scare tactic.Keeping the population on edge from a foreign enemy is an easier means of control, compared to the nation in a comfortable state of mind. Orwell’s totalitarian state of Oceania was constantly at war with other nations in order to keep the people fearful. “If he were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies. The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might evaporate.” (Orwell, Page 162.) The people of Oceania are living in fear because of the constant threat to their nation.“Fanatical Muslims replaced Soviet Communists and, like the reds, these enemies could be anywhere, including in our midst (they may not even be Muslims, but kindred agents who likewise “hate” us and oppose our values)…The political commodity of fear has no practical limits… “War on terror” is useful for the President, but irrational forthe nation. Terrorism is not an enemy; it is a method of using violence to gain political objectives. (Greider) The United States is using this tactic in order to scare the American people into carrying out political goals that wouldn’t be possible if weren’t for the “war on terror.” One counterargument would relate to using the “war on terror” to help protect our nation from the terror’s overseas. This is absolutely wrong. The real terror is within the overgrown American government. The endless war on terror is one way to keep American citizens controllable.This way the government has the freedom to do anything.
The United States is becoming a police state because the government is militarizing the local police officers with heavy artillery. Orwell illustrates Oceania as a repressive military police state. “Someone was climbing through the window. There was a stampede of boots up the stairs. The room was full of solid men in black uniforms, with iron-shod boots on their feet and truncheons in their hands.” The military police in the book are technologically prepared for a rebellion due to the quantity of men and their weapons. “This militarization of police work started a long time ago… It began with the use of terms like “war on crime” and “war on drugs…” When police officers are inundated with this kind of military training and language, they go out thinking they’re soldiers; that they are the line between civilization and anarchy… This aggressive, military-style policing is misguided policy, misguided political leadership and misguided police leadership.” (Lindorff) This quote explains that the United States is militarizing their police officers and it isn’t helping the nation. They are absolutely right. Police officers are made to serve and protect, not intimidate citizens. One counterargument is that the streets are safer from any big threats because the police officers are heavily armed. The Nazi’s used their military police to enforce tyrannical laws that lead to total control over the people. Also judging from the book 1984, the military police do not exist in order to serve and protect. The United States needs to demilitarize the police officers in order to restore state power and reduce federal control over the nation. One-way of controlling a nation is by brute force; the other is by disinformation.
The United States uses misleading information through the media to misinform the American people on issues that are important to independent sovereignty. Orwell uses Newspeak as a means of misleading the citizens of Oceania from finding out the truth about the totalitarian government. “The messages he had received referred to articles or news necessary to alter, or, as the official phrase had it, to rectify… This process of continuous alternation was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound tracks, cartoons, photographs-to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance.” (Orwell, Page 36.) The bias and misleading information is a tactic used by governments in order to keep actual facts from their citizens. “We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government.” David Rockefeller, founder of the Trilateral Commission, in an address to a meeting of that organization in June of 1991. This quote explains the intent to misinform the American people in order to push their political objectives. One counterargument could assume that the government is misinforming the nation through the media and propaganda, in order to help the nation and its people. This is not true. History has shown that past governments lie in order to push an agenda that is not in favor of its citizens and their rights. Oceania used false information to keep its citizens from wising up to their government and revolting. The United States is using the media as a foundation to promote false information in order to gain progress in the government’s secret agenda. History has shown that advancement in technology ultimately leads to government control of people.
George Orwell had traveled throughout the world and had seen numerous totalitarian governments. Orwell wrote this book to warn the coming generations of the dangers that mankind would inevitably face. 1984 illustrated the use of twenty-four hour camera surveillance in an age in which cameras didn’t exist. Microphones were also used to monitor people. Orwell taught us that double agents were not the most feared agent, but actually children.Goldstein was the face to terror and revolt. War was a constant affair that was fed with endless amounts of propaganda. The thought police were the military that would arrest a citizen for even thinking something different.The information supplied to the citizens was absolutely false and this disinformation tactic was a key in maintaining the dictatorship. Every single Orwellian point talked about can be directly connected with modern day America. As the millennium advances, our freedoms and liberties are slowly being striped away as if we were living in Nazi Germany. The American people must look at these similarities, between 1984 and modern America, and wake up to the fact that we are moving towards a totalitarian government. The freedoms we take for granted everyday would no longer be available to us. There will be no society ruled by law, but in fact ruled by a handful of elite oligarch’s. This book is read in every single school around the nation with the intent to warn American’s of the consequences of not standing up for liberty. This novel is certainly an extreme into what a totalitarian government can unleash, but is absolutely possible. It is time for the American people to stand up to our oppressive government and take our country back. For if we do nothing now… 2+2 will most certainly equal 5.
- Alinsky, Saul David. Rules for Radicals; a Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals. New York: Random House, 1971. Print.
- Foderaro, Lisa W. “Pint-Size Eco-Police, Making Parents Proud and Sometimes Crazy.” New York Times [New York] Oct. 2008. Print.
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