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Orwell’s work deserves ‘serious study’

Local voices

George Orwell’s “1984,” published in 1949, describes a dystopian future society ruled by a totalitarian regime.

Orwell postulated what London could look like in the distant future, given the then rapid rate of technological change — if it fell under the control of a totalitarian regime.

The book remains one of the great works of fiction, but based on current events, also now deserves serious study.

Comparing the institutions he imagined with ours today is eye-opening.

His Oceania, including the city of London, is one of three large nations left and are at constant war with each other. Oceania is a totalitarian state. The leader of the party is Big Brother.

A mythical character who never physically appears adorns posters and “telescreens” everywhere at all times, with the slogan “Big Brother is watching.”

Video surveillance and listening devices are everywhere — with two-way broadcast capability.

“Telescreens” provide propaganda and directives while collecting all activity.

The party knows all.

Today, ubiquitous personal computers, phones and Alexa are modern equivalents.

Infinite cloud storage exists. A recent CIA Director misled Congress when he denied there was massive data collection on U.S. citizens.

In the novel, the Ministry of Truth provides the party line and forcibly eliminates any contrary views and removes any historical references to any view inconsistent with party orthodoxy.

Speaking a contrary thought is a punishable offense.

Today, virtually all media have the same political view. Dissenters are banned, erased, or canceled and chased into hiding by the internet mob.

For the most part, free speech, the open exchange of ideas and tolerance for opposite views does not exist.

Our history is being politically cleansed with attacks, for example, on Columbus and the founders.

Oceania has no laws, courts, or legislatures. It is lawless. Behavior is regulated only by the party’s subjective rules, rewards, disciplines and punishments by the Ministry of Love.

Today, cashless bail and lenient law enforcement from mayors and district attorneys allowed billions of dollars of personal property destruction during the Summer of Love — without consequence.

We are becoming lawless, too.

Space limitations here prevent a fuller description of life in his totalitarian state. Orwell’s novel ends badly.

The freedom protagonist is executed, and the masses never rise up against their domestic oppressors.

I would be remiss to not note that Orwell’s Londoners lacked all weapons to resist a totalitarian takeover.

Today, the argument for bearing arms is misdirected toward the individual’s right to self-defense, but with no discussion of the citizen’s right to defend the very existence of their republic.

This includes ownership of semi-automatic rifles because a potential aggressor will certainly bring theirs.

“A rifle behind every blade of grass” likely saved a Japanese invasion in WWII and deters a foreign or domestic takeover.

The founders were aware of both threats, and the Second Amendment addressed both.

Gable resides in Altoona.

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