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News Orwell's 1984 becoming real in the US?

  1. Jun 27, 2006 #1
    Is it just me being paranoid or it's really happening? Considering how the Bush admin used 9/11 and faulty inteligent to go to war in iraq, which they called "war on terrorism", used fear to win the 2004 election, the warrantless wiretapping on millions of americans phone call, and now the accessing of hundreds and thousands of amercans finanicial records. Anyone else feels the same way? Hopefully it is just being paranoid.
     
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  3. Jun 27, 2006 #2

    selfAdjoint

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    Nonsense. The US has ALWAYS been at war with Iraq!
     
  4. Jun 27, 2006 #3

    mrjeffy321

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    lol.

    Last time I checked my globe, I did not see a Eurasia, thats a good sign.
    I am doing my part, I have a Macintosh computer (not really).

    In Orwell's 1984, things are always reported to be great and getting better, a little less than what one might gather from watching the news today.
     
  5. Jun 27, 2006 #4

    DaveC426913

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    You sure about that?

    It's true, we have managed to keep tabs on all this, and the media is not completely controlled by the government. However, it's not for wont of trying.
     
  6. Jun 27, 2006 #5
    I don't know if we are quite up to 1984 yet (as in, not anywhere near), but every little bit of freedom lost is certainly disturbing. There is no way to have a perfectly secure free nation, and I lean more towards freedom :wink:. We should be working to keep every ounce of freedom we have, and not be following our government wherever it leads.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2006
  7. Jun 27, 2006 #6

    russ_watters

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    I don't think we're anywhere close to "1984" and I think people misunderstand/misapply the analogy. It is one of my favorite books because to me it speaks to the pitfalls of socialism. I realize he was in favor of democratic socialism, but it is the socialism part that leads to "1984", not the democracy part. Ie, he uses the USSR as his model, and the USSR used socialism to achieve totalitarianism. Perhaps he didn't even see the irony there.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

    Regardless, the things that go on in that book are far, far beyond anything we see in the US. People talk about slippery slopes, but we're in Hawaii and what people are afraid of is in the Marianes trench.
     
  8. Jun 27, 2006 #7
    You're right. US is far from Orwellian 1984. But we're loosing little by little our free becuase of their 'war on terrorism". i would say the US in on its path to 1984 on a mini-mini-level.
     
  9. Jun 27, 2006 #8
    Well, I don't know about you, but I read 1984 for nostalgic purposes.
     
  10. Jun 28, 2006 #9

    SOS2008

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    To me the specific form of government (totalitarian vs. socialistic vs. democratic) or example (Stalin) for 1984 is not the point. But rather abuses that may result due to various variables. I think we can all agree that power corrupts. We can see this in the extreme in a county like Zimbabwe, and in more subtle ways here in the U.S. per recent scandals.

    I feel the current administration's efforts to "catapult propaganda" and to conduct domestic surveillance are very similar to 1984. However, I agree with Helen Thomas that the current atmosphere in the U.S. is more like Nazi Germany during which the greatest loss of freedoms came from SILENCE.
     
  11. Jun 29, 2006 #10
  12. Jun 29, 2006 #11
    A saying always comes to mind when I hear topics like this come about. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty How much freedom are you willing to trade away for "order". One thing I can say about the possiblity of a 1984ish country is that technology has finally made this not only possible but relatively inexpensive to implement. The internet is perhaps our last bastion of true free speech so long as it doesn't become like China's version.
     
  13. Jun 29, 2006 #12

    SOS2008

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    You are right about technology being a big variable for a 1984 scenario. As for the Internet, it is under attack by the Republicans and big business. Vigilance is indeed eternal.
     
  14. Jun 29, 2006 #13
    The internet is also a huge database. When they decide to take it.....they will have a very valuable database.

    You have a powerful Executive. The Congress is amenable if not conspiratorial. Three solid votes on the Judicial, with an approval rating that hovers in the mid 30% range. All you need is a "Pearl Harbor like Event" and the support of the two judges you appointed and your in.

    With control of the internet and unlimited access to anyones personal information, people can be categorized put into profiles and targeted. With totalitarian control, you can call them a terrorist, and they can disappear into a new Haliburton maximum security enemy combatant prison.

    It all hinges on the two new guys on the SC. I think it really comes down to Roberts.

    Didn't Roberts recuse himself from the case where Rummy tried to set up his own military tribunals?

    Roberts, IMO has been a GOP opportunist. He is a very smart man. Now that he has risen to the top of his profession, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he is the highest judge in the land. I hope that he is no longer looking for opportunity, but instead is focused on Justice and the Constitution. I sure don't like the odds,

    Hope this doesn't make you any more paranoid.:tongue: :tongue:
     
  15. Jun 29, 2006 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    It would be interesting to see which most Americans think is most representitive of the American dream; the Constitution, or the flag. I would bet the latter. Perhaps not the Orwellian model, but IMO, BB is alive and well and growing up quickly; wrapped in the flag. And it didn't begin with 911. It has been happening for decades.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2006
  16. Jun 30, 2006 #15

    Bystander

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    WW II internments Orwellian? Waco? "Sue?" Yeah.

    NYT getting credentials pulled for couple weeks maybe months for compromising govt. secrets in time of war is Orwellian? Absurd, maybe, but hardly Orwellian --- Times Square would be dominated by a burnt out shell with bone filled gibbets hanging from the roof today had they blown "Ultra" 65 years ago.
     
  17. Jun 30, 2006 #16
    Russ, USSR was Communist, not socialist. Denmark is socialist, (for example) and last time I was there, the hardline position you are painting was nowhere near the truth of what it is actually like there. Perhaps Totaliltarianism is a better 'ism to describe 1984. Any political 'ism could lead to totaliltarianism, so to highlight Solcialism is a bit strange to me.

    Nobody can "Control" the "internet" and take all the personal info. The percieved 'database' is held on million of computer spread across the whole world, so dont worry.

    What can be controled is:

    Access to the internet, in several forms. At a local loop level from your house to the telecom provider, and via DNS resolution, which is what China is trying to do. Also goverments could scan www sites (information) and block access to these sites as it find information is doesnt like, like in China also. So basically access to info can be controled, not the info itself.

    There are ways round this anyway, mailling lists for example will continue. The way the internet is structured as an Openly documented, openly standarised, cross border, Phenomenon I truely cant see any one nation "taking control"..
     
  18. Jun 30, 2006 #17
    Well thats a relief. Al Gore did a good job when he invented it. :tongue:
     
  19. Jun 30, 2006 #18
    All in all I would say that we are much closer to Orwells ,"dystopia" ,and the "big brother" scenarios than we were in 1948 when the book was written. Hell we are even much closer now than we were in the actual year 1984. This guy was way ahead of his time.

    I see the dystopia and big brother balls rolling in our direction at an ever accelerating pace
    We have taken a quantum leap towards totalitarianism in just in the last six years.

    As for predicting events in the future Eisenhower was right on the money with his warnings about the Military Industrial complex. On the other hand, in 1999, who other than Dick Cheney and the big oil executives would have predicted that the USA would invade Iraq in 2003?

    Actually Cheney and his gang were shooting for 2001 for the invasion of Iraq, but 911 interfered with their nasty little plot. Had the public had previous knowledge that the current administration had the invasion of Iraq high on their pre-election agenda Bush would not have won in 2000.

    I mention this recent scenario because if anything, this was one of the the types of tactics that Orwell was predicting would be happening in the future. In that respect he was correct. The political parties and forms of government involved are irrelevant to the overall Orwellian concept of "dystopia' and "big brother".

    edit: dystopia was Orwells antithesis of utopia. I think the concept was used in Blade Runner and several other books.
    A brief synopsis of 1984 is at:
    http://www.enotes.com/1984/
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2006
  20. Jun 30, 2006 #19

    selfAdjoint

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    Dystopia is the general litcrit name for an anti-utopia of any kind. It parses More's Utopia as Greek "eu-topeia", "good place", though More is usually assumed to have intended "ou-topeia" "Noplace". cf Smauel Butler's "Erewhon". The oppposite of "eu-" is "dys-".
     
  21. Jun 30, 2006 #20
    Russ, perhapse I missed something in your post but the source you cite seems to disagree with you when you say "to me it speaks to the pitfalls of socialism" and your source says "However, as many reviewers/critics have stated, it should not be read as an attack on socialism as a whole, but on totalitarianism (and potential totalitarianism)."

    you quoted it yourself
     
  22. Jul 2, 2006 #21

    russ_watters

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    Socialism and Communism are on the same side of the spectrum and very much related, Anttech. Socialism is targeted at the economics while communism at the politics, but they are linked because both require similar government controls.
    Denmark is not very socialist - and certainly isn't communist.
    I didn't say it was intended as an attack on socialism, I said it is ironic that it "speaks to the pitfalls of socialism". And the quote from the source I used says "cautionary tale against totalitarianism, and in particular the betrayal of a revolution by those claiming to defend/support it".

    In other words, both I and the source are saying that the message of 1984 is 'be careful or your communism/socialism can become totalitarianism.' And the reason I find that ironic is because I don't think people realize that the real "slippery slope" here is in the communist/socialist ideologies. Purely economic socialism leads to, well, France. Purely political communism leads to the USSR. And France may not be finished yet: riots lead to curfews and more government control. Anyway, both are similar in that they both require a higher level of government control in order to happen (another irony for a leftist ideology supposedly favoring freedom), and it is that government control that leads you to "1984".

    In the US, people on the left decry the voting away of freedom for the sake of security while simultaneously voting away their freedom for the sake of money. What they don't see is that either can take you to "1984".
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2006
  23. Jul 3, 2006 #22

    SOS2008

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    Communism versus socialism:

    Unlike communism, socialism

    http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761577990/Socialism.html

    So one could say that socialism is a hybrid system that the masses, particularly the working class should naturally desire. For example natural resources would be taken out of the hands of big oil monopolies like Exxon/Mobil while other areas of the economy would continue to operate on a free/fair market basis. Sounds like a fair and good idea to me.

    Totalitarianism is neither communism or socialism (which has already been pointed out) though it can evolve from either, or ANY form of government, including democratic revolutions gone awry. Or perhaps from the "Great Silence" that led to Nazi Germany, or maybe a military-industrial complex (both already mentioned), or perhaps a breakdown in democracy such as described in John Lukacs's Democracy and Populism, Fear and Hatred. From a book review by Milo Clark:

    http://www.swans.com/library/art11/mgc158.html

    Or as I've said elsewhere, conservatives lump Democrates in one group of "liberal" along with socialism, communism, etc., which is absolutely absurd but quite a successful strategy.

    In any event, I have not found any official book reviews stating that 1984 is about socialism leading to totalitarianism, but rather Orwell was a socialist who was against totalitarianism in favor of democratic socialism. Here is a review from Barnes and Noble:

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?z=y&pwb=1&ean=9780451524935

    From Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0452284236/102-0011785-5448946?v=glance&n=283155
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  24. Jul 3, 2006 #23
    IMHO The US is on the road to Totalitarism, more so than France, and to be quiet frank, the US is closer to it than France is.
     
  25. Jul 3, 2006 #24

    SOS2008

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    The "Reich wing" never sees their behavior as fascist. I have posted a list of fascist behavior many times, most notably nationalism (which is confused with patriotism for purposes of propaganda). Right-wing nut jobs look at such lists in complete denial and write it off as left-wing nonsense.

    On the internationl level, Neo Conservatives believe the U.S. has been pushed around too much and it's high time we flex some muscle--even with former allies. After all, we are the Superpower, so why bend to anything or anyone? They never consider that a benevolent world leader can rule better than a self-righteous belligerent one, and that democracy is best spread by example and not the barrel of a gun.

    Domestically, a growing percentage of the population in the U.S. are increasingly ignorant about politics and/or world affairs. This is why they are so easily influenced by sound bites from the likes of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld (who also are lacking in qualifications, or IQ, or ideals, or...).

    This is a new evolution to totalitarianism.
     
  26. Jul 3, 2006 #25
    I was having a conversation with a friend who just returned from Italy. She related a story where her and her husband were talking to someone they met, and this person said that in their country voting was mandatory. When asked how he felt about mandatory voting he replied; "If everyone doesn't vote you end up with George Bush."

    Sounds like a perfect argument for mandatory suffrage.
     
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