Okay, so clearly this poster is a bit of an exaggeration. At least that was my reaction.
But a quick Google search suggested that there are actually people who quite legitimately believe that America today is creeping toward a recreated version of the society in 1984.
Some of their reasons:
1) The increasing presence and availability of surveillance cameras, tracking devices, and recording mechanisms
2) Mass-produced media that doesn’t tell “the real story”
3) Misuse of technology
4) Propaganda in the form of government-issued PSA’s as well as campaign posters and advertisements
5) Class divisions similar to the Inner Party, Outer Party, and the Proles (i.e. upper, middle, and lower class in America’s terminology)
6) Identification by numbers such as a social security number, driver’s license number, college ID number, and account numbers for various necessities and optional programs
7) Increased party division, especially since the 9/11 terrorist attacks
8) Less privacy for individuals as well as increased public security measures
Having read Orwell’s book in my sophomore English class, I see why some of these reasons may have been formulated, but largely I think the idea of America becoming the next Oceania is radical.
Orwell’s fictional society and America’s present society may have some similarities—far-fetched though they may be—but under no rational terms can they be considered equivalent or even approaching nearness. Oceania’s powerful government was an oligarchic dictatorship ruled by the Party and headed by a totalitarian leader. America’s government, though powerful, is most assuredly a democracy.
Oceania’s society was based on government surveillance, public mind control, suppression of free will, and the idea that individuality and reason are punishable crimes. America has always sold itself on being the land of opportunity, individuality, and freedom—a societal melting pot.
Orwell’s 1984 warned against powerful governments in which human life is viewed merely in consumer terms as important to the economic sustenance of the country. In America, we undoubtedly regard human life with the utmost importance.
Furthermore, I find it equally ridiculous to predict that the U.S. could ever turn into an Oceania. Orwell’s society could only succeed so long as its subjects remained unfalteringly obedient and unquestioning of their leadership.
America’s peoples could never be bent backwards or controlled to such an extreme. We have far too much history and experience of criticizing and questioning our leaders.
And so long as we remain in the habit, the world of Big Brother cannot become a reality.