Friday, May 19, 2006

2006 = 1984

"When war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous. When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity. Technical progress can cease and the most palpable facts can be denied or disregarded."
"The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy — everything." - G. Orwell, '1984'

If you are the type of person who pays attention to what is happening in the world and this nation over the last five to ten years, then '1984' and 'The Handmaid's Tale' have to be two of the most frightening books you could possibly read. These two novels depict future distopias that our society seems to be approaching with alarming speed.

George Orwell's '1984', written about 60 years ago, has some very startling parallels in the current 'war on terrorism'. A seemingly neverending conflict, that is occurring without any kind of real national sacrifice (the military and their families excepted) with very vague and misleading reasons and goals against a shadowy enemy, that is used as an excuse to invade privacy, jail citizens without due process, manufacture news, manipulate or hide facts and in general keep the populace in a state of fear for political purposes. In the book, the war is basically a forgotten fact of life against an evil, relentless and bloodthirsty enemy (al Qaeda?) with an enigmatic, diabolical and mad leader named Goldstein whose very existence is an unanswered question (bin Laden?).

One has to ask one's self: why wasn't bin Laden captured like we were all promised he would? Because he fits the role. He is the 'shadowy mastermind' that wants to end our way of life. It doesn't seem to matter that in all his recordings and writings he has never stated that his goal is to end our way of life, much less see us all dead. But as long as our leaders keep repeating these apocalyptic statements over and over again against the backdrop of the 9/11 murders, most people buy it.

What would Orwell think if, instead of a dire warning, for some people '1984' was seen as the perfect blueprint to amass power and eliminate Freedom?

"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier - just so long as I'm the dictator." - George W. Bush, December 18, 2000

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