“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” — GEORGE ORWELL, “1984”
Twitter has banned President Donald Trump. Google, Amazon, and Apple shut down Parler, a conservative social media site. No one knows what’s true or false anymore. And the language police are running rampant, with lawmakers on Capitol Hill going so far as to ban words like “father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister.”
So, it makes perfect sense that Orwell’s famous book “1984” is once again the best-selling book on Amazon.
Orwell, whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair, wrote the book in 1949, his last completed novel before his death. An opponent of totalitarianism, Orwell served in the Loyalist forces in the Spanish Civil War. And as fascism began to sweep the world, he was inspired to write a novel about what would happen should it win.
“The novel is set in Airstrip One, formerly Great Britain, a province of the superstate Oceania, whose residents are victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation. Oceania’s political ideology, euphemistically named English Socialism (shortened to ‘Ingsoc’ in Newspeak, the government’s invented language that will replace English or Oldspeak) is enforced by the privileged, elite Inner Party,” Audible says in its summary of the book. “Via the ‘Thought Police,’ the Inner Party persecutes individualism and independent thinking, which are regarded as ‘thoughtcrimes.’ The tyranny is ostensibly overseen by a mysterious leader known as Big Brother, who enjoys an intense cult of personality. The Party ‘seeks power entirely for its own sake. It is not interested in the good of others; it is interested solely in power.”
The book’s “Big Brother” is the omnipresent government that sees everything. “Always eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or bed—no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters in your skull,” Orwell wrote.
And Orwell also created “Newspeak,” a vocabulary limited by the government and replete with ironies, like the Ministry of Peace, which wages perpetual war, and the Ministry of Plenty, which rations food, not to mention the Ministry of Truth, which controls all information. “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it,” Orwell wrote.
The irony that “1984” now tops the best-selling book list was not lost on Amazon users, who filled the comment section with insightful remarks.
“Orwell has always given us thought provoking literature and this is no exception. It seems very appropriate in today’s ever encroaching government power,” wrote one user.
“I can’t believe that his book predicted the events of today so accurately to the point that I am writing this review on a website that actively violates the first amendment via censorship of freedom of speech on sites such as Parler. Absolutely amazing how they do this!” wrote another.
“A dystopian future in which a totalitarian regime keeps its citizens under total surveillance,” wrote a third. “Thought crime, doublespeak, telescreens, depressingly relevant in an age of fake news, identity politics and social media. A brilliantly depressing read from start to finish.”
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