We’re In 2012, Not 1984

Okay, so clearly this poster is a bit of an exaggeration. At least that was my reaction.

Referring to George Orwell's science fiction book predicting a society overrun by government authority, this illustration's message is that present-day America may be in a similar state of dystopia.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s