George Orwell 1984
George Orwell wrote his novel 1984, originally published in 1949, as a forecast of what will become of the political class. The year is 2018, and much has come to pass. Orwell may have missed the date of what happens in the future, but he did stipulate in detail what becomes of the future once the oligarchs take over power.
Orwell foretold of a society where the government would peddle propaganda to the citizens, all that, in an excursion to distract the people from the real problems in society. Propaganda, in this case, is used to alter the truth and manipulate people into thinking that whatever the party says, the party is never incorrect.
The works of 1984 by George Orwell is an example of where art imitates life. Through Winston, Orwell paints the picture of 1984; “large TV screens that broadcast government propaganda, news and approved entertainment” in addition to having the Ministry of Truth as the architect of the lies (Beale). Misinformation is the tool of the trade for most politicians, if not all, in the contemporary time.
Propaganda in its crude form is the dispensation of untruthful information aimed at disrupting a person, nation, or idea so as the maker of the false statements can draw benefits from the situation. In 1984, The Party took its need to spread propaganda to the extremes; The Party operates the people of Oceania to say and think in a way the party deems fit.
Communications made in Oceania carry politically charged messages, and the residents are to believe the words and act in accordance if the state of Oceania tells them otherwise. In the article, “Propaganda and Surveillance in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four: Two Sides of the Same Coin”, Michael Yeo states that “propaganda divides revealingly and essentially into two main forms, which I call the propaganda of fact and the propaganda of fiction” which is revealed throughout the novel (Yeo 51).
Winston demonstrates a kind of propaganda that is universal in the novel, such as propagation of lies as facts, while Julia represents the propaganda of fiction working in the Fictional Department on a novel writing machine.In the novel, Winston states “I know, of course, that the past is falsified, but it would never be possible for me to prove it, even when I did the falsification myself” (Orwell 155).
Winston Smith was the head of rewriting history and destroying records that did not reflect well on the regime. The Ministry of Truth was meant to update records to fit the policies of the Oceania government. The falsifying of documents had taken place for a long time, and Winston was erasing old lies with new ones. While producing propaganda for the Oceania government, Winston worked under self-censorship by working as per the estimates of The Party needs.
The works of propaganda get channeled to the public through the Times newspaper. The media today just like the Times in 1984; it helps the political class spread propaganda. The need to publicize propaganda is alluring to the extent that governments own media outlets where government agenda gets spread.
Propaganda has the sole of aim of changing the opinion of a person to one that is favorable for the oligarch. In the 2017 presidential elections in the United States of America, propaganda was at the center of the campaigns for the top contenders. The information supplied during the campaign period was meant to shape the opinion of the voters, and that is what propaganda does (Beale). Newspeak is a propaganda tool used in 1984, to replace ordinary English.
On page fifty-two of the novel, Winston asserts “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought crime literally impossible”. Through Newspeak, fictional ideas get spread as the truth. It is vital for lies to stand out as the truth and that was the reason Oceania oligarchs came up with Newspeak. It was strange how the government of Oceania managed to subvert the thoughts of many people by defining terms in their conceptual opposites, for example, freedom is slavery.
It was important that Oceania government used a one-dimensional language to hide the truth. The style and ideas of expression presented in Newspeak are what the public and corporate officials, and the mass media utilize; when they speak for the political class. Today, democracy, freedom, and equality are a cover-up used when referring to the societal levels, and inequality in capitalist democracies like the United States of America.In the world today, governments are up in arms to fight terrorism.
It is not a denial that there have been several acts of terrorism around the globe, but how can the world be at war with an enemy that is unknown. “Taxpayers’ money goes in million-dollar projects aimed at subverting the next terror act” (Tugwell 53). All this takes place while there are more pressing issues to attend to, like making sure all the old persons in society get the desired care.
In Oceania, the government told of a war that never existed. The enemy’s name could change from time to time just to keep the citizens confused. Just like in the war against terrorism, the targets are in constant change. The architects of terrorism are not known, and it cannot get blamed on a race, religion or country. Luckily for those living in the current times, critical thinking is not a crime as was in 1984 where “Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death” (Orwell 36).
The war on terror is not coming to an end any time soon, the longer the war, the more people live in fear, all for the benefit of the government. From the novel 1984 by George Orwell, The Party used peer group pressure, removal of privacy, dress codes, obedience, and fear of spreading propaganda. The people of Oceania were not supposed to resist new ideas as fronted by The Party; they often found the need to belong to The Party and the Anti-Sex League.
In the United States of America, the two major political parties are the Democrats and the Republicans. When the people of America fight to belong to any of the parties they agree to get bound by the agenda of the party. Whatever the parties speak about other faction is taken as the truth. In Oceania, there was only one political party.
In the United States there is more than one political party, but they all serve the imperial needs of the country (Beale). Much like the novel of 1984, the continuous amounts of spying and monitoring of the people can be reflected into our society currently: Today websites like Facebook track our likes and dislikes, and governments and private individuals hack into our computers and find out what they want to know.
Then there are the ever-present surveillance cameras that spy on the average person as they go about their daily routine (Beale).In comparison with the novel, the telescreens, Big Brother pictures, and constant surveillance also take away people’s privacy and privilege to go about their day peacefully much like our civilization.
Moreover, The Oceania government did not spy secretly; the citizens knew they were under supervision; the thought of being watched shaped people’s actions as there was no room to be ones’ self. The government of Oceania made the citizens believe there were enemies amongst them, the people who supported Goldstein, hence the measures were necessary.
Propaganda not only takes away privacy away from people, but it also allows the government to monitor online activities of people, including the reading of sent texts all in the disguise of checking out for any signs of planned terror activities. Oceania was in an endless war with East Asia. The enemies of Oceania kept the government on toes, to wage wars while neglecting the needs of her people. The United States has always had enemies, and it is ever at war.
The United States has taken upon itself to fight for world stability, even if the battles destabilize countries. The citizens are made to believe that they are well off than all other people around the world and it is the responsibility of the government to ‘take care’ of the world. The U.S has invaded many states in the assumed role of the world leader.
The countries invaded include Vietnam, Iraq, and Libya among many others. The United States invaded the nations to restore peace and stability, but that was not the case once they left. Iraq and Libya have remained politically unstable since the they wrapped up on her mission in the countries. One wonders why the U.S would attribute stability and peace as the reasons of invading countries that are peaceful and stable before the eyes of the world, only to leave them unstable and in civil conflicts.
All that is the work of propaganda, the agenda of all the wars the United States is involved in is to secure the interests of the political class.George Orwell wrote the book, 1984, not knowing how long it would take for the future to turn out as exemplified in the book, but the book is not only futuristic but also prophetic of the future.
Propaganda together with other tools is used to manipulate and control the residents of Oceania and show readers how their government functions similarly to our current system of economics and media. The political class of Oceania believed that whoever was at the helm at the moment controls the future and could do the same to the past.
Making people think that there is war is the government’s way to maintain peace. War brings people together by inspiring devotion and patriotism. The war on terror has done the same thing to several people around the world and the citizens of the United States of America. Propaganda keeps democracies running since it is the tool of the oligarchs to hold a nation hostage without their knowledge.
Any idea, rumor, or misinformation deliberately spread about an idea, institution, government or a person, are all acts of propaganda; they are everyday occurrences in the world today.?