Six months ago, who among us could have predicted that a worldwide pandemic would bring America to its knees, weeks of rioting would turn some of our major cities into rubble, historical monuments would be under attack by protestors, and calls to defund police forces would be getting louder and louder?
The nearly impossible task of predicting only a few weeks into the future makes what George Orwell did more than seventy years ago in his novel, “1984,” all the more impressive. While it might be fair to say some of his predictions were off by a couple of decades, it would be difficult to dispute that much of what he warned about where society was heading is coming true.
And, it ain’t good.
“1984” is often referred to as a “dystopian novel.” Wikipedia defines “dystopia” as “a community or society that is undesirable or frightening.” In other words, it is the anti-utopia. Oceania, Orwell’s fictional country and its ruling Party, are most definitely not utopia.
So, what were some of his most accurate predictions?
First, he coined the phrase, “Big Brother is Watching You.” While he thought the government would be the master of surveillance, what he couldn’t know was the role private companies and the technology they sell would play in eliminating our privacy.
We no longer give much thought to the fact that our activities are monitored everywhere we go. In “1984,” that was done via “telescreens.” Today, we call them video cameras and “smart phones.”
Additionally, many of us have interactive technology in our homes, the same technology that has been hacked so outsiders can spy on us in our own homes. Technology companies follow our online activities so they can create ads for our individual tastes. Since 9/11, government surveillance in the name of the War on Terror is mindlessly accepted.
As a result, we have given up any expectation of privacy.
Orwell also wrote about perpetual war. Oceania was always at war, the enemy was always changing, and the war didn’t even have to involve another country. Furthermore, Orwell asserted, “The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous.”
Sound familiar? Since World War II, we have been at war with Lebanon, Cuba, Cambodia, Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq, to name a few. Add to that, the “War on Terror,” and now even Covid-19 is described as a war we are fighting.
Ask yourself, “How many of those wars have we won?”
In “1984,” the government determined what was acceptable speech. Unacceptable speech was deleted. Today, while the government does acknowledge that the First Amendment still exists, an alarming number of powerful politicians and their followers, particularly Progressives, have determined which opinions are acceptable to have. Anyone who dares stray from those opinions is considered “unwoke,” and they are shouted down and threatened, with no regard for whether or not their lives are ruined. People can be destroyed for what they said or wrote decades ago. Private companies such as Facebook or Twitter also regularly delete comments they determine to be false, inappropriate, or offensive.
This“cancel culture” shuts down intelligent discourse before it begins.
That is not a good thing.
Orwell states, “The Party (aka, the government) told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.” In current times, it is this philosophy that allows Chuck Schumer, for example, to stand on the steps of the United States Supreme Court and threaten two justices, by name, only to assure us the next day he did no such thing. It is also what allows many news outlets to report on “peaceful protests” in front of videos showing building being destroyed and looted. There are literally thousands of examples of members of the national media and members of both political parties assuring us that what we just watched with our own eyes did not, in fact, occur.
How insulting (and dangerous) is that?
Orwell also astutely wrote, “The Party seeks power for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power.”
One only has to watch the behavior of members of both parties to see the truth in this statement. From one Election Day to the next, the minority party of both houses of Congress and the party not occupying the White House has one goal in mind, and that is to discredit those in power so as to regain power.
It has nothing to do with you and me.
Many other frightening Orwellian predictions from “1984” are coming true as we speak, and we would be wise to heed them. If you haven’t read this incredible novel, consider doing so because, contrary to the Party’s proclamation that, “Ignorance is strength,” it really isn’t.