George Orwell’s 1984 Has Become A Blueprint For Our Dystopian Reality
By John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead
July 8, 2021
Written more than 70 years ago, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. While 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative, is timelier than ever.
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”— George Orwell, 1984
Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell (June 25th, 1903 - January 21st, 1950) has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state.
It’s been more than 70 years since Orwell's passing, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, this had driven to warn against the rise of a society in which, rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm - depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism, in 1984.
Who could have predicted that so many years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, “He Loved Big Brother,” we would come to love Big Brother.
1984 portrays a global society of total control, in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom and advanced technology, has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or “Party,” is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: “Big Brother Is Watching You.”
We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future, it was dreamed up, by not only Orwell, but, also such fiction writers as: Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick. What once seemed futuristic, no longer occupies the realm of science fiction. Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike—facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on—are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers, is becoming our reality, very fast.
Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes, facial recognition systems, cybugs, drones and predictive policing (pre-crime), which are aimed at capturing would-be criminals, before, they can do any damage.
Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness - a philosophy that discourages diversity - has become a guiding principle of modern society. The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens, are common occurrences in contemporary America. Bodily privacy and integrity, have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser and arrest any individual, at any time or the slightest provocation.
What many fail to realize, is that the government is not operating alone, it cannot and the government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, they have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of, the governmental overreach.
In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government, it has become Big Brother and now, we are ruled by the Corporate Elite, their tentacles, have spread worldwide, even our ability to speak and think freely is being regulated. In totalitarian regimes—a.k.a. police states—where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries, where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the masses mind's. Dystopian literature shows what happens, when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons.
In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.
In Huxley’s Brave New World, serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education.
In my debut novel, The Erik Blair Diaries, the dystopian future that George Orwell predicted for 1984 has finally arrived, 100 years late and ten times as brutal. In this post-apocalyptic world, where everyone marches to the beat of the same drum and words like, “freedom” are taboo, Erik Blair—Orwell’s descendant and unwitting heir to his legacy—isn’t volunteering to be anyone’s hero. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go according to plan. To save all that he loves, Orwell will have to travel between his future self and the past.
In Orwell’s Novel, 1984, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish “thoughtcrimes.” Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings and ideas, can be very dangerous), Newspeak (where only that which is “safe” and “accepted” by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue, prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority, which is the final link in the police state chain.
“Until they became conscious they will never rebel and until after they have rebelled, they cannot become conscious.”—George Orwell
Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry—mute in the face of elected officials, who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all, is muzzled in an age where thought crimes can land you in jail, we now have nowhere, left to go and if we are to survive this ordeal, we're running out of options now. Whether you’re dealing with fact or fiction, as I make clear in Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in my new novel The Erik Blair Diaries, we’ll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, the entertainment industry, etc.), self-preservation in the form of a renewed vigilance, about threats to our freedoms and active engagements, in self-governance.