The 1984 Canvas
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“George Orwell's 1984 was published at about the time that Kim Il Sung set up his system, and it really is as if he got hold of an early copy of the novel and used it as a blueprint."
– Christopher Hitchens
George Orwell was a journalist, novelist, and veteran of the Spanish Civil War. Had he known that by writing 1984 he also became a soothsayer, the thought would have sickened him worse than tuberculosis that took his life at the age of 46.
In his prophetic novel Orwell envisioned Ingsoc, a totalitarian regime that controlled every aspect of its subjects’ lives. Language that contradicted Ingsoc’s party line was censored to the point where even dissident thought was growing impossible; Now we need no government influence at all to abolish “politically incorrect” ideas from public discourse. Ingsoc’s ironically named Ministries of Love and Truth dispensed only loathing and lies; Now we have the National Security Agency, which strangles citizens’ privacy at the expense of their own security. Ingsoc’s Britain was seeded with listening devices and video cameras everywhere; Now people voluntarily carry them anywhere they go.
To single out one nightmarish aspect of 1984’s dystopia and prove it doesn’t yet exist, at least in some nascent form, in the real world would be difficult if not impossible. Big Brother may already walk among us.
Orwell meant to warn about the things that would destroy us, yet every passing day further demonstrates that 1984 is being used as a blueprint by the very people who would have gleefully joined Ingsoc’s regime of fanatical oppression. Defy them.
Find the whole 1984 collection.