1984 by George Orwell is commended by many intellectuals (unfortunately some of the one’s I admire) as the most insightful dystopian novel to have ever been written. The people that say this are either just following the crowd, haven’t read the book, or have just cherry-picked bits out of the book that can somewhat be applied to what we have today. And the bits people cherry pick out aren’t even thought-provoking concepts. The usual concepts picked out are doublethink, which is just people holding contradictory opinions, while Big Brother is just mass surveillance. These concepts would be what a class of 14-year olds would come up with if they were told to think of what a totalitarian state would look like.

Having read the book and understood Orwell’s beliefs and background, I can safely say that his 1984 dystopia will never come about. I’m not saying some concepts like doublethink and mass surveillance won’t happen – these are already present nowadays to a massive extent – but the whole organisation and implementation of this dystopia won’t happen.

The main reasons being is that the states totalitarianism is so obvious that it could have been designed by an imbecile, and the extreme unnatural obedience that the citizenry are under makes it seem that this dystopia was set in a sims world that programmers have hacked to make people act in an unhuman way. The lies of the Party are so obvious that Winston job consists of altering the government archives so that they don’t contradict with what the Party are exclaiming in his present day.

And it seems by reading the novel that having friends is outlawed and the mass surveillance is so extreme that even they even track your heartbeat and every twitch of the face. This level of totalitarianism would make the Black and Tans look like teddy bears in comparison. The population are so brain dead that Winston vaguely remember his age and can’t even recall recent history. It is laughable to think that this level of control is sustainable, practical or even necessary.

Some may say that it doesn’t have to be realistic, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a dystopian novel. A dystopian novel is supposed to warn the present or future population of their fate if they follow a certain path. If the dystopian world created is unrealistic, it defeats its purpose.

Orwell’s Background

To understand how Orwell got this dystopia horribly wrong, we must first understand Orwell’s background. Contrary to the opinion of some (who aren’t intellectually honest), Orwell was not an anti-Marxist. Orwell was on one side of the Marxist spectrum – anarchism/Trotskyism, in contrast to the other side of the spectrum being Stalinism. Orwell being an anti-Stalinist Marxist (this distinction is very important to these people) is a very important fact to acknowledge. Knowing this fact opens a whole new aspect to how the world of 1984 was crafted in his mind. Orwell was so dedicated to the cause of Marxism that he joined an anarchist militia to fight in the Spanish Civil War. This was all documented in his book Homage to Catalonia.

There are many overlaps to what Orwell, as an anarchist, believes and what Stalinists believe. They both believe in the abolishment of class, religion, family, and the nation state. These four power structures should be destroyed so that all loyalty and dependence will go towards the Party. The deal is that the revolutionary leaders will raise the status of the low-status (i.e. the proletariat), so as to create ‘equality’, in exchange to the people giving totalitarian power to these revolutionaries. Where they differ is in how the society will be managed. Anarchists believe that there should be no state as it is a hierarchical structure, and therefore, against the Marxist belief in equality.

Stalinist believe in the state having absolute power, or as they would describe it in their Marxist jargon – a dictatorship of the proletariat. Both anarchists and Stalinists both want their utopian ideas to be exerted through the barrel of a gun, but the Stalinists are more honest with themselves as they acknowledge that their revolutionary militiamen are the new government. Since organised power beats disorganised power, Stalinists will always win in a battle against anarchists.

And this is exactly what happened in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War. Orwell, fortunately enough for himself, escaped persecution by the Stalinists to tell the tale. Anarchism was always supposed to be the carrot that would seduce the proletariat into giving them power. Stalinists always stated how the dictatorship of the proletariat was only supposed to be temporary. But once the Stalinist gained power, they purged all anarchists. Leon Trotsky fell for this, as well as Orwell himself. Their minds were too clouded by Utopia to ever understand the true intentions of Marxism.

Once the purge happened, revolutionary change involving religion, the family, and the nation was halted and eventually brought back, as Marxist revolutionary change is unstable to a nation and leads to societal collapse. The communists during the Spanish civil war campaigned heavily for halting the revolution for this reason. Under Stalin’s rule, policies like introducing additional taxes on people who were childless and ending no-fault divorce were implemented. If any politician today promoted these policies, they would branded as an ultra-Christian, even though Stalin himself, who sent Christians off to the gulag, implemented them.

Nature of Dystopian Novels

Another aspect we must look at to understand Orwell’s dystopia is to recognise the nature of dystopian novels. All dystopian novels are written through the lens of the author. The author imagines the worst imaginable world they can think of in contrast to the ideology they espouse. They aren’t even constrained by the laws of believability or reality. The protagonist is generally a portrayal of them in that dystopian world; the author has the same beliefs and doubts as the protagonist, and (if they are generous to themselves) envision themselves as braver than they actually are, fighting the oppressive forces that are at play. These characteristics can be seen in the dystopian novels of 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, Anthem, and Brave New World.

As Orwell is an anti-Stalinist Marxist, his idea of a dystopian world is heavily influenced by his hatred of Stalinism. Even though the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War was the enemy he was fighting, the Stalinists were the ones that betrayed the revolution and had him on their kill list. He saw revolutionary Barcelona, that he so admired when he first set foot in the city to enlist in the anarchist militia, being destroyed not by the Nationalist but by the Stalinists. During the days after his service in the anarchist militia in Barcelona, he was horrified by the Bourgeoise atmosphere that had re-emerged all under the banner of Marxism.

This betrayal of what he envisioned Marxism should be would be the cornerstone of the dystopia. Orwell’s dystopia makes sense when you understand this dynamic. The world envisioned by him can be seen as Stalinism if Stalin kept on rolling back the revolutionary policies implemented by the early anarchists. The dystopia would describe themselves in Marxist jargon but be diametrically opposed to the classless anarchist world, free from all forms of hierarchy and oppression, that Orwell so dreamed about. This can be seen in the ideologies of the different states. The Ideology of Oceania is ‘IngSoc’, short for English Socialism. The two competing superstrate’s ideology in the dystopia are basically the same as IngSoc but are called ‘Neo-Bolshevism’ in Eastasia and the ‘Obliteration of the Self’ in Eurasia.

No international working-class solidarity

The world of 1984 is strictly divided into three superstates: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. Workers of the world aren’t united, instead racial hatred between nations is heavily encouraged. The nations are basically ethnostates, the populace have zero interaction with the other nations. Cross border travel is banned and communicating with citizens from another country is impossible. The only time the protagonist, Winston, was in the vicinity of a foreigner was when a convoy of Eurasian prisoners were passing by.

There is also a pronounced class divide, which is maintained by prohibiting trade between the proles and the Party. Keeping with Marxist language, the working-class are described as the proles, which constitute 85% of the population. They are generally left alone by the party as they are too distracted by alcohol, gambling, sport, sexual promiscuity, and the debased media they consume to ever have the intellect to understand the true nature of the world. Above the proles in this class hierarchy is the Party. The Party is divided into the inner party, which makes up about 2% of the population, and the outer party. The inner party are the people that are in control and understand the true nature of the state.

The outer party can be described as the ‘useful idiots’, they believe in the propaganda of the system and work the States administrative jobs. As the outer party possess the intellect to understand the system, they are heavily watched by the inner party through the telescreens that are present everywhere. The telescreens are a very overt way of spying on the population. In the real world, surveillance is done without the populace knowing. Our current ruling-class know this, that is why the mass surveillance done by the NSA and other agencies went unnoticed for decades. Even when the population do figure it out, they are just too distracted by mass media and indulging in their vices to care.

Winston throughout the novel mentions – unsurprisingly enough considering Orwell’s a Marxist – how he believes that the only hope they have for toppling the system is in the proles violently overthrowing the party. His bloodthirsty revolutionary fervour comes out in other places too. Winston discusses with his mistress Julia about how he regretted not pushing his wife off a cliff because he was sick of how she was so indoctrinated by the Party. On another occasion, he confessed to Julia that he initially wanted to rape and kill her as he suspected she was a member of the thought police (this dreaming of bloodthirsty revenge of their enemies is noticeable with all Marxists, as their whole ideology is based on resentment of the strong and good).

The orgasm is banned

As we are all well aware, revolutionaries see indulging in promiscuity and deviancy as a liberating act for them. They claim this is freedom. Freedom to them means being free to not follow the moral law, instead of its truer meaning of being free from your carnal desires. As Winston is a mirror of Orwell in many ways, it is no surprise that Winston says to his mistress Julia “I hate purity, I hate goodness! I don’t want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bone”.

Going with this upside-down view of morality, it is no surprise that Orwell’s dystopia takes sexual restraint to an extreme that makes 16th century Puritans look like decadents; Orwell’s dystopia bans the orgasm. The reason given in the novel for this banning is that it makes people burst with energy so that it can be turned into war hysteria and leader worship. This prohibition is only really meant for the Outer Party, while the proles are given free rein to indulge in their sensual desires. This double standard makes no sense.

Orwell understands that making a population slaves to their carnal desires is an effective way of controlling the populace, but he also holds the view that indulging in your carnal desires is liberating. Therefore this inconsistency of the Outer Party not being subjected to the methods of control used on the proles is because Orwell’s dystopia has to involve extreme sexual restraint.

Religious element of the Party

To someone with a keen eye, you would notice that the Party uses Catholic words like heresy, orthodoxy, and doctrine. This is Orwell’s anti-religion bias coming out through his work. It’s anyone’s guess if this was intentional or just subconscious. The Party teaches the populace to view the philosophies of Eurasia and Eastasia as “barbarous outrages upon morality and common sense”. This is clearly the language a (based) cleric would use to describe an uncatholic population. Orwell again knows that atheism being pushed onto a population is a form of control as worshipping God is a threat to the Party’s authority. Therefore the Party must be anti-God, but since this is Orwell’s dystopia, they must use religious language.

What Orwell got right

Even though this dystopia is tainted, as it is written by an anarchist, there is still one insightful way that the 1984 ruling class use to control the population that parallels with today’s society. That is the deliberately superficial entertainment, known as prolefeed, produced by the Party that is used to dumb down the population so that they will never possess the intellect to rebel against their rule. This prolefeed contains almost nothing but “sport, crime, astrology, sensational five-cent novelettes, films oozing with sex, and sentimental songs which were composed entirely by mechanical means”. If we look around at our media today – which is suspiciously controlled by a handful corporations who are all involved in the same globalist organisations – what do we see?

For women there are trashy magazines that tap into a woman’s vice for gossip, superficial programmes like ‘Love Island’ that are all about engaging in transient sterile relationships, and salacious novels like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and ‘Normal People.’ For men there is 24/7 sport that is suspiciously getting more and more politicised like the ongoing UEFA ‘No to Racism’ campaign, the most debased and degenerate pornography, and trashy newspapers that revolves mainly around scandal, crime, sport and soft-core pornography.

Then there’s young people’s prolefeed which consists of either stripper-inspired dances of minors (something only experienced by Epstein on his plane not too long ago), attention-seeking fuckboys, or some quick gag that provides no social value – except to make our young eternally depressed – on TikTok. I don’t want to even get into vain ‘make-up tutorial’ youtubers or ‘I’m 25 and still watch Disney films’ bugmen. I’m sure we are all aware of these types.

Why is 1984 so popular if it’s so unprophetic?

Hopefully I have convinced you that 1984 is not a prophetic book but an irrational dystopia contrived by a delusional Marxist. In this lies the reasons why the book has been promoted by the elites so much. The beliefs of Orwell and the current ruling-class align in some ways. They both are anti-Stalinist Marxists. Orwell seeks a classless world, whereas the elites of today seek an economy controlled by a handful of international conglomerates. A lot of the underlying ideas of ‘sexual restraint and nationalism being used as a method of population control’ in the novel are ideas the elites of today want you to have, as they use the exact opposite of these to control you.

The elites today promote sexual immorality to distract you and promote demographic changing immigration to increase the number of ‘oppressed’ people in your country. In other words, mass immigration increase the amount of people in the coalition of fringes. Year by year, what Marxists view as the oppressors in society – straight white males, dwindles in morale, numbers and positions of authority.

It is the exact same strategy used in the Soviet Union 100 years ago, but the oppressors of that time were anyone of landowning lineage or anyone suspected of being religious. The threat of the Orthodox Christian landowner coming back and oppressing them was always hung over their head to make them loyal to the Party. Nowadays it’s the threat that the Catholic patriarchy will come back and oppress them is hung over their head so as to maintain loyalty to the regime – even if they describe themselves as a socialist while the regime believes in international corporatism.

Another reason why 1984 is promoted so much is that it gives people the impression that all forms of control are overt. As the readers envisions the world of 1984 in their mind, they think to themselves how if they were citizens of Oceania, they would be the enlightened ones who would be able see past the lies of the Party. This notion feeds into their ego and heightens their self-worth. It blinds them to the possibility of covert forms of control being used on a population. In the modern world, covert forms of control are the ONLY ones being utilised.

The elites learnt from the failures of one-party totalitarianism in controlling the populace. They would have saved a lot of time if they read Matthew 10:28 ‘And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.’ The elites of today desire to control the perception of reality and by extension, controlling the way people behave. Gone are the days that dissenters will be thrown into concentration camps.

A dystopian novel that is more thought-provoking and prophetic is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

Posted by Seán Joseph

4 Comments

  1. Well that’s the thing about coercive force and dictator powers… a minority of elites / chosen impose their will on everybody else, and are enabled to do so by enablers (the police, the army, the teachers, the courts, the civil service etc).
    While a lot of these people would find government policy and the general atmosphere of feeding at the trough corruption objectionable, their conformity is assured by their belief that they are few against many.
    Somehow the actual reality of the situation gets turned on its head.
    It is the regime that is the true Few, and it is the dissatisfied that are the true Many, but this is the weakness of a society composed of individuals. There is a flaw in the base foundations that is exploited by some who organize themselves as collaborative wolf packs and brotherhoods of thieves.

    Were all individuals and we all have self interest, and that self interest determines how far we will go in the name of virtues and grand causes, and our perception is limited to only the things we experience as individuals, so not only will we not go out of our way for a greater good, but we’re not sure if we can, because even if there are others who might back us up… were not convinced because we didn’t experience that loyalty to our shared vision that some people require before starting a grand cause.
    And to compound that base flaw in the foundations of society… innovation is subordinate to self interest most of the time.
    It is like a rigged internal reasoning process. We will risk if it is in our interest, and a method we will do that is by innovation, and from this innovation the anti regime ideas are entertained, and we will only begin the process if we suspect it is possible to expand into this freer, more rebellious state of being, because it is safe and our profit / loss reasoning tells us that we can safely rebel.
    This, like every other problem, will be easier to solve once we make the decision to pursue the goal of solving it. Until that decision is made to rebel no matter what initial discomfort, then we will reside in a state of want of courage paralysis and crippling inhibition of willpower.

    Some people rebel a little bit, to minimize discomfort and loss, and in some ways the rebellions of these people is much more given weight and significance through association with others who rebel a lot, than it is by the extent of their willingness to confront.
    One could say that there is a well off comfortable dissident, who is one of us, and who tames himself so as to retain whatever he has, and he being rich in his ways, is so because he gave very little, and because he priced himself very highly. And any people accustomed to broken feudalistic despair and despotism immediately take to anyone in the clothing of a lord. It is almost as if it was in their genes, or in the long stunted growth of the Irish identity and the left overs from more cruel times.

    We need to rebel regardless of the discomfort or fear if we want to be successful. And politics like any other human game is played to win. I do not want a participation trophy, I want to see the country liberated from pigs and sleaze who sold us out. These few in the regime are now confronted by another Few of patriots, and while the regime has the coercive instruments, the nationalists preach a new gospel of respect for the Irish ethnicity and entitlement to their own homeland. One wants to maintain the control it has had since the foundation of the state, and it resorts to cruelty and suppression, the other preaches liberation, justice, honorable ways of living etc. One is a terrorist and the other is treated as a terrorist.

    I wonder who would win in that contest. Are the Irish ready to find that missing piece in their psyche that was a hole in their heads all these decades since independence yet? Are we ready to stand up for ourselves yet? Or is our culture so drunk with despair that were talking to people who are intoxicated with defeatism? Wait n see.

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  2. On a management course I attended many years ago, we had to chose a topic for which we held strong beliefs . Having made our individual choices, we were then invited to argue the opposite point of view. Of course, this is the very essence of a lawyer’s training which is why that particular profession is my concept of a living hell. As an engineer, I found it hugely disconcerting to see how easy it was to run down my own deeply-held, fact-based beliefs with a few rhetorical flourishes.

    This article has all of the hallmarks of such an exercise even though I normally enjoy provocative writings such as those we regularly see in ‘The Burkean’. But there is a world of difference between healthy provocation and what amounts to character assassination in spite of the few crumbs given to George Orwell at the end.

    We see all of the key elements of Orwell’s Dystopia right now. As with any fermenting process, the only thing missing is time for its most dehumanising manifestations to accrue. Right now, we can still buy food in the supermarket; we can still drink our lattés at the local coffee shop; we can still access the Internet and find a few outlets for free speech away from the mainstream media. But, if things continue in the same vein, which looks more likely than not, it is easy enough to extrapolate to where we will finally end up.

    Already, 80% of the world’s population is mesmerised by Covid-19 after the less immediate fear of global warming didn’t quite do the trick. This is clearly an attempt by the few to control the many using the pretext of an existential threat which has been exaggerated beyond all recognition. The main drivers are “respectable” media organisations and tech corporations within the unhealthy and corrupting orbit of the China, the UN, the World Bank and NGOs which have also managed to transfix our politicians and governments into a state of utter subservience.

    Cast your eyes to Victoria, Australia, which has effectively become a Police State. Now recall Michael Martin’s well-choreographed but sinister remarks earlier this week about “marginalising Covid-19 deniers”. This was not long after Simon Coveney’s well-choreographed remarks prepared the ground to abolish our right to protest as widely reported in the media. The HSE and NPHET have also been up to their necks in choreography (as distinct from science) by creating an artificial Casedemic predicated on a spike in testing. The only senior medical expert to publicly challenge this unscientific claptrap was forced to resign. The cherry on this rotten cake was the well-choreographed appearance of Il Fauci on the Late Late Show over the weekend as the RTE propaganda machine continues to ratchet up long after the most dangerous phase of Covid has passed. This coincided with the suspension of a number of “alternative” YouTube channels that were starting to gain traction lately. We are clearly being primed for an outright ban on Covid-19 protests on pain of more proactive police intervention (meaning riot gear) followed by a general clampdown of free speech under the heading of hate crime. This will pick up where Charlie Flanagan left off last year when the Covid Crisis was only a twinkle in his totalitarian eyes. Is that Orwellian enough for you, Mr. Joseph?

    If that wasn’t enough to test our bladders, it also becoming clear that the world economy is on the brink of total collapse. The confidence trick of fiat currencies that borrowed from our financial futures is finally unfolding with the collapse of growth in real terms as distinct from the figures that are touted by our most feted leprechaun economists. If we recall the social unrest after the economic recession of 2008, we get a a small flavour of what awaits us now — and, if we follow the World Economic Forum and such like, it is hard not to conclude that our globalist elites are already bracing themselves for this transformative event by putting the structures in place to control the population. Given what’s happening in Australia, is it the stuff of conspiracy theories to predict Marshall Law and the kind of police clampdown that will have us begging for the return of the Black and Tans?

    We may suddenly find the Internet switched off, or only a very small part of it exposed to the general public. We may suddenly find our savings are worthless as we become subject to a system of credits and food vouchers that increase our dependency on the state. We may suddenly find that our supermarket shelves are almost empty due to the inevitable breakdown of production and supply chains that is the ultimate giveaway of a totalitarian system. But, by then, the people will have already been primed into submission except for a few poor souls like Winston Smith who will be scapegoated by the media and hated by the general populous — oh sorry, I stand corrected, this is already happening right now.

    Considering that Orwell wrote 1984 not long after World War II when the Cold War was already in full swing, I think he made a pretty decent job of sending his final warning shot to the world before he died. Of course, this was hugely informed by his own experiences — if it wasn’t, there would be even less reason to trust it. But for me, Orwell’s most concrete achievement was to expose the virtue-signalling of the political left as described in the ‘Road to Wigan Pier’. This followed his courageous decision to share the harsh experiences of coal miners in spite of his debilitating bronchitis. And clearly, this also informed his well-extrapolated plot in ‘1984’.

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  3. ‘1984 – The Most Overrated Dystopian Novel’

    Most important thing is that it was a good read. Had me hooked from beginning to end, in any case. Room 101, O’Brien… loved it, damn good book.

    Art whose intention is to be political is bad art, if you ask me.

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  4. Ralph Oldenburg 29/09/2020 at 10:31 pm

    Excellent summary of the ideas found in 1984, though I’m somewhat more forgiving of Orwell’s version of dystopia.

    For example, he correctly points out that it’s the use of language which lies at the root of propagandistic power.

    Words, sayings, history and memory are all intertwined – they form a what could be called a ‘Lingo-State’ – which is a community’s intellectual boundary of ideation and expression. Anything that falls outside this boundary is classified as an unauthorized opinion and is not generally understood by most people. As per Orwell, the latter sort of opinions have a (non) existence in the Memory Hole.

    Language is, “Regulated to weed out the overly intellectual and protect the Party.”

    In 1984, the Lingua Franca of Ingsoc (Newspeak) would possibly correspond to the vulgar Latin spoken in Late Rome. This is to say that Oceania, like Rome, practices a mature form of totalitarianism via it’s use of superior and inferior forms of English. The hierarchy hold the Proles enthralled by the use of popular culture – today’s principle language & mode of understanding the world.

    This sort of linguistic hegemony is a mark of an ascending/mature power, whereas tribal politics are a trademark of periods of stagnation (like concepts of the Ethno-state; an idea which destroyed the European powerbase post-WWI, leaving us defenseless).

    Thus control of the language means the control of thought-forms. He who controls language will direct the course of a nation and he who does not will live in a state of permanent amnesia. Most people today are in this second group. It goes without saying that nationalism has no place in today’s Lingo-State. It’s not generally understood except in terms of economics or civic duty.

    I think the best course of action right now would be to use aesthetics as an inroad into our political ideas. Synthwave is a good example. Also, systems of images and epic folk stories tend to overcome verbal networks over time; it’s how all great revolutions are first placed into public consciousness, including our own Easter Rising.

    Interestingly the Soviets published a paper in the 1970’s concluding that Fascism had succeeded in Italy not through political might, but because “through a conglomerate of diversionary artforms, they resisted being defined (i.e. characterized negatively)..” – see Futurism, Integralism, Fascist-feminism etc.

    The political language of the day was not sufficient to isolate and bind the core of Fascist ideology, leading to its growth as an alternative. In other words the aesthetic shell was the outer fruit that protected the inner seed. At this point in time such an aesthetic model should be our bedrock, because its nature is one of constant, diversionary change, the main provision for a good offense.

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