On this day in 1903, Eric Blair was born in India.
But the year for which he is most noted is 1984, even though he died in 1950.
Under the pen name George Orwell, Blair penned the novels “Nineteen Eighty-four” and “Animal Farm,” as well several other semi-autobiographical books and numerous essays.
When Orwell wrote “Nineteen Eighty-four” he wasn’t forecasting a particular date, he simply transposed the last two digits in 1948, when he wrote much of the book. Though a life-long socialist he despised the totalitarian and despotic nature of communism, fascism and Nazism.
He added to the lexicon: Big Brother, thoughtcrime, newspeak, doublethink, Room 101, as well as the painted slogans WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
In “Nineteen Eighty-four” the warring nations kept changing enemies, just as we were at peace with Islamist a few weeks ago we are now at war, if you can remember.
If you don’t think freedom is slavery, consider the “Life of Julia.” Julia, by the way, was Winston Smith’s girlfriend.
Ignorance is definitely strength, not for us but for politicians who the ignorant keep electing.
As for newspeak and doublethink, consider that our one-worlder president says we are not fighting a war against terrorists but trying to prevent man-caused disasters. His Defense Department (They don’t call it the War Department anymore.) sent out a memo saying: “this administration prefers to avoid using the term ‘Long War’ or ‘Global War on Terror’ [GWOT.] Please use ‘Overseas Contingency Operation.’” And a man standing on a table, firing a gun, shouting Allahu Akbar is merely workplace violence.
How can there be any thoughtcrime if we are not allowed to use certain words. People aren’t in the country illegally, they are merely undocumented. And this too changes over time. Once the word negro was the preferred and politically term, but now it is a slur.
“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?” Orwell wrote in “Nineteen Eighty-four.” “In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”
Back in 1975, David Goodman wrote in The Futurist magazine that 100 of 137 Orwell predictions in “Nineteen Eighty-four” had come true. With the advance of computer surveillance and drones, how many more have come true?
Here are some previous Orwell references from this blog: