We’re living through an era in which novelist George Orwell’s book “1984” seems less like fiction and more like a blueprint of what’s to come.
In fact, right now, the classic novel, written in 1949, is the No. 2 best-selling book on Amazon, a platform that, earlier this week, essentially removed the conservative social media site Parler from the internet because the company disagrees with the way the Twitter alternative polices its content.
The setting of Orwell’s dystopian story is “Airstrip One,” formerly known as Great Britain, a province of the bloated and powerful superstate “Oceania.” Those who live there, according to the Audible summary of the book, are victims of perpetual war, unending and inescapable government surveillance, as well as the impenetrable manipulation of information.
Oceania’s political ideology, euphemistically named “English Socialism” (shortened to “Ingsoc” in “Newspeak,” the government’s invented language that will replace English or “Oldspeak”), is enforced by the privileged, elite “Inner Party.”
Via the “Thought Police,” the “Inner Party” persecutes individualism and independent thinking, which are regarded as “thoughtcrimes.” The tyranny is ostensibly overseen by a mysterious leader known as “Big Brother,” who enjoys an intense cult of personality. The Party “seeks power entirely for its own sake. It is not interested in the good of others; it is interested solely in power.”
The book’s protagonist, Winston Smith, a member of the “Outer Party” and an official with the ironically named “Ministry of Truth,” which wields control over the flow of information, is tasked with rewriting newspaper stories so the narrative always matches up with the leading Party’s agenda. Workers are led to believe they’re correcting misquotes. In reality, however, they are replacing fact with fiction presented as valid information.
There’s also the “Ministry of Peace,” which keeps Oceania in a constant state of war, as well as the “Ministry of Plenty,” which rations food to all citizens. In addition, the government uses its pre-approved language, “Newspeak,” to limit the vocabulary used by the people.
It’s no wonder “1984” is flying off the shelves. I have a copy of my own sitting on the bookshelf behind me.
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SOURCE: Faithwire, Tré Goins-Phillips