Page 1 of 11 12345678910 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 202

Thread: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

  1. #1
    Kritias's Avatar Petite bourgeois
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Greece
    Posts
    2,141

    Default The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    The argument of Orwellian propaganda depicting news coming from the alleged Left Media is a statement often dropped during the D&D threads, but to my knowledge a statement that hasn’t been tackled head on yet. So, hold on because this is going to be a bumpy ride. A lot of you will not like this thread but this is a discussion that we need to have at some point, debating the roots of what is now known as ‘alternative facts’ and what that means for our societies. Everyone is of course welcome in this thread and the more debate we can have, the better for all of us. I would please request that, since this is a sensitive subject for many people, you will debate with an open head.

    To begin with, how did Orwell came to be co-opted so many years after his death by the right-wing crusaders, bringing back his final warnings as an accusation to what the right-wingers consider ‘leftist propaganda’ and ‘thought policing’? The story begins with Orwell’s condemnation of the Soviet Unions’ actions in Barcelona in 1936…

    The Ministry of Truth: The Biography of George Orwell’s 1984, by the British music critic Dorian Lynskey, makes a rich and compelling case for the novel as the summation of Orwell’s entire body of work and a master key to understanding the modern world. The book was published in 1949, when Orwell was dying of tuberculosis, but Lynskey dates its biographical sources back more than a decade to Orwell’s months in Spain as a volunteer on the republican side of the country’s civil war. His introduction to totalitarianism came in Barcelona, when agents of the Soviet Union created an elaborate lie to discredit Trotskyists in the Spanish government as fascist spies.

    Left-wing journalists readily accepted the fabrication, useful as it was to the cause of communism. Orwell didn’t, exposing the lie with eyewitness testimony in journalism that preceded his classic book Homage to Catalonia—and that made him a heretic on the left. He was stoical about the boredom and discomforts of trench warfare—he was shot in the neck and barely escaped Spain with his life—but he took the erasure of truth hard. It threatened his sense of what makes us sane, and life worth living. “History stopped in 1936,” he later told his friend Arthur Koestler, who knew exactly what Orwell meant. After Spain, just about everything he wrote and read led to the creation of his final masterpiece. “History stopped,” Lynskey writes, “and Nineteen Eighty-Four began.”

    Lynskey traces the literary genesis of 1984 to the utopian fictions of the optimistic 19th century—Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (1888); the sci-fi novels of H. G. Wells, which Orwell read as a boy—and their dystopian successors in the 20th, including the Russian Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (1924) and Huxley’s Brave New World (1932). The most interesting pages in The Ministry of Truth are Lynskey’s account of the novel’s afterlife. The struggle to claim 1984 began immediately upon publication, with a battle over its political meaning. Conservative American reviewers concluded that Orwell’s main target wasn’t just the Soviet Union but the left generally. Orwell, fading fast, waded in with a statement explaining that the novel was not an attack on any particular government but a satire of the totalitarian tendencies in Western society and intellectuals: “The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one: Don’t let it happen. It depends on you.” But every work of art escapes the artist’s control—the more popular and complex, the greater the misunderstandings.
    Of course Orwell meant with his condemnation more than to paint a picture of communism as the woe of all freedoms but taken with Orwell’s satirical novel The Animal Farm alone, the picture can be skewed to favor the right-wing narrative. In fact, he stated very clearly that

    If publishers and editors exert themselves to keep certain topics out of print, it is not because they are frightened of prosecution but because they are frightened of public opinion. In this country intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face, and that fact does not seem to me to have had the discussion it deserves.
    What does that mean? According to this article, Orwell’s position was more in line with the war-time UK’s voluntary self-censorship than the condemnation to communism that we generally believe it meant

    The “discomfort” of intellectual honesty, Orwell writes, meant that even during wartime, with the Ministry of Information’s often ham-fisted attempts at press censorship, “the sinister fact about literary censorship in England is that it is largely voluntary.” Self-censorship came down to matters of decorum, Orwell argues—or as we would put it today, “civility.” Obedience to “an orthodoxy” meant that while “it is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other… it is ‘not done’ to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness," not by government agents, but by a critical backlash aimed at preserving a sense of “normalcy” at all costs.

    At stake for Orwell is no less than the fundamental liberal principle of free speech, in defense of which he invokes the famous quote from Voltaire as well as Rosa Luxembourg’s definition of freedom as “freedom for the other fellow.” “Liberty of speech and of the press,” he writes, does not demand “absolute liberty”—though he stops short of defining its limits. But it does demand the courage to tell uncomfortable truths, even such truths as are, perhaps, politically inexpedient or detrimental to the prospects of a lucrative career. “If liberty means anything at all,” Orwell concludes, "it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
    But what makes something Orwellian? In the book 1984, Winston writes in his diary that

    Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two equals four.
    Which means the ability of an individual to challenge any state imposed narrative that comes in conflict with their fundamental experiences of life. Simply put

    So too, in the real world, when state leaders and spokespersons can invent crimes and massacres, denounce the media for departing even slightly from the official party line, and entirely dismiss scientific findings, citizens have to decide whether they will likewise engage in doublethink-- if they will learn the “newspeak” and concede that two plus two is whatever they're told it is.
    Which brings me to this very important article published in 2014. I’ll quote its abstract below

    This article offers an academic critique of new media culture, as viewed comparatively with George Orwell's "1984." The author makes the argument that a number of plot elements of "1984" are reflected within contemporary Western societies. The assertion is made that these parallels have developed as a consequence of new media technologies. An over-arching position is taken that real-world governments have utilised new media technologies in ways that make themselves comparable to Orwell's fictional "Big Brother". The author begins by describing the socio-political landscape at the time Orwell wrote the novel. The next section addresses recent examples of ways in which government agencies have used new media technologies as a surveillance tool. The author posits that the US government uses new media technology as a propaganda tool. Through use of new media, the USA attempts to limit the ability of people to reject its narratives. In the final section, the author details the ways in which new media technologies are contributing to the destruction of language and knowledge. The author's concluding argument is that the negative effects of new media technology can only be ameliorated through critical thought.
    I would like to see how you feel about the argument of liberal orwellian networks right about now so I’m going to stop my argumentation here momentarily. Please give your two cents before we begin.

    Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
    Last edited by Kritias; July 28, 2019 at 02:37 PM. Reason: Bad coding on the quote
    Under the valued patronage of Abdülmecid I

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    I'll bite and give you a challenge.

    -Any mention of Soros political activities by conservatives is immediately labeled as ''anti-Semitic conspiracy theory'' by liberals.
    -Soros gets named by the Financial Times, a liberal media, Man of the Year 2018 for his political activism.
    https://www.ft.com/soros

    So, how exactly those two go together? This is a classic example of double-think. It's either Soros is politically active and can get praised or criticised for it, or he's not politically active and any mention of it is a conspiracy theory. What certainly doesn't hold together is that you can talk about Soros' political activism only in a positive manner. That's unfreedom.

    And I can think of more examples. Let's talk for instance of ''Trust and Safety'' departments within tech. What do they do? Censorship. How exactly isn't that the Ministry of Truth? It follows the same exact principle: positive sounding name that does the exact opposite of what the name leaves intended. I assume someone will counter with ''it's not a government institution''. Ok great, then I have the ''High Level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation'' of the EU. Shortened the HLEGOFNOD. Retarded isn't it? Yeah, it does the same thing. Pseudo-technocratic government of allegedly positive intentions that simply does censorship.

    The infamous daily Two Minutes of Hate of the Twitter crowd every time Goldstein/Trump (the one that betrayed liberalism for Eurasia) tweets. Indeed the obession with the ''Eurasian enemy'' (Russia) behind every social failure of liberal governments. We have Newspeak too, because liberals are progressively removing words on the basis that they are offensive. First it was the n-word, one can say ''whatever, it was used to demean slaves, let's cut that one out''. Then it's the f-word, the r-word and so on. An ever increasing demand of adherence to the party's orthodoxy on increasingly bizarre causes like ''trans-rights'', the massive historical revisionism of mostly European history to demonstrate that Europe was ''always multiethnic and multicultural'' so ''migration isn't really radically changing the demographics, it has always been like this''.

    This dude makes a nice comparison of which direction our society is going:
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-...orwellian-west

    You talk about the courage to say uncomfortable truths. Ok what uncomfortable truth are liberals able to talk about? Anything identity politics related certainly not. Under those aspects anyone who does not conform to orthodoxy faces social eradication.

  3. #3
    Kritias's Avatar Petite bourgeois
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Greece
    Posts
    2,141

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    I'll bite and give you a challenge.
    Thank you very much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    -Any mention of Soros political activities by conservatives is immediately labeled as ''anti-Semitic conspiracy theory'' by liberals.
    -Soros gets named by the Financial Times, a liberal media, Man of the Year 2018 for his political activism.
    https://www.ft.com/soros
    I was unaware that the Financial Times were a liberal, progressive newspaper. They always seemed pro-establishment and biased when it comes to economic orthodoxy. As for George Soros, the paper itself was always marketed towards 'The Honest Financier, the Bona Fide Investor, the Respectable Broker, the Genuine Director, and the Legitimate Speculator' according to its founding statement in February 1888. Seeing that Soros is a very active speculator and investor, I wouldn't be surprised the FT named him the Man of the Year in 2018. In some sense, it's only to be expected that a paper naming itself a friend to those people would pick George Soros.

    Also when it comes to Soros, you will see that not the entirety of what you call the 'Left' swoons over the billionaire - in fact, it's quite the contrary. By his actions of betting against national currencies, Soros is part of a caste of people making money out of the misery of others otherwise known as the capitalists. The difference between what you call the Left and what you call the Conservatives lays in the fact that the former bring up the problems of unfettered capitalism while the conservatives getting slammed are those overly focused on just George Soros. He's just one of many people of widely different creeds to become a billionaire by betting against national currencies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    So, how exactly those two go together? This is a classic example of double-think. It's either Soros is politically active and can get praised or criticised for it, or he's not politically active and any mention of it is a conspiracy theory. What certainly doesn't hold together is that you can talk about Soros' political activism only in a positive manner. That's unfreedom.
    I wasn't aware that one isn't allowed to criticize Soros on his business actions. This is news to me. Of course business drives policy, I think this is a no brainer. But the critisism many conservatives get when the criticize Soros is because they criticize only George Soros - he's just a man and not the first nor the last to make a fortune by speculating. When people get apprehensive on the mention of George Soros as the figurehead of international financiers it is because there's a long history of people attempting to link Soros' ancestry (a Hungarian Jew) to his occupation. Here's an example:

    As a Hungarian-born Jew and naturalized U.S. citizen who made billions betting against national currencies, Soros was an easy target in the 1990s for corrupt pols from Bratislava to Kuala Lumpur. “We do not want to say that this is a plot by the Jews,” then Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad famously said after Soros helped devalue the ringgit, "but in reality it is a Jew who triggered the currency plunge, and coincidentally Soros is a Jew.” Did he mention that Soros is Jewish?
    In this sense, what the Malaysian premier hints at is the old-recycled conspiracy of the International Jewry - and with the focus on just one man instead of a quite large amount of people doing the exact same thing, the focus often gets to shift from the action to the characteristics of the doer; namely, the fact that he's a Jew and a financier. I personally wouldn't jump to accuse a republican, a Tory or any other just by the accusation of George Soros alone, waiting for further indications of antisemitism before I made my mind. Unfortunately though these indications are there more often than not.

    The Left doesn't accuse you of being anti-Semitic for criticizing George Soros but because in so doing, you seem to buy into the idea that Soros' Jewishness is the cause for his actions. Normally a slam on twitter is followed when some mention of a Jewish empire is being made as was the case of Roger Scruton.

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    And I can think of more examples. Let's talk for instance of ''Trust and Safety'' departments within tech. What do they do? Censorship. How exactly isn't that the Ministry of Truth? It follows the same exact principle: positive sounding name that does the exact opposite of what the name leaves intended. I assume someone will counter with ''it's not a government institution''. Ok great, then I have the ''High Level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation'' of the EU. Shortened the HLEGOFNOD. Retarded isn't it? Yeah, it does the same thing. Pseudo-technocratic government of allegedly positive intentions that simply does censorship.
    Gladly. To begin with, trust and safety depts primarily deal with the removal of nudity, porn and otherwise graphic images that could disturb viewers seeing that there's really no way to block underage viewers from getting online and faking their age to get access. In this way, the big tech try their best to avoid the lawsuits from coming in from disgruntled parents, and other offended parts of the population. In terms of political commentary, which I believe is closer to what you mean to say you take offense, the big tech have a right not to allow their platforms being used for political indoctrination or otherwise spread of politically charged activity without them getting a buck - you will notice that political ads from parties and politicians are not blocked simply because the platform time is bought by these actors. In just the off-chance that the actor is clearly a Neo-Nazi do the big tech declined to allow them advertising room and that's only lately. Golden Dawn, par example, was very active in social media until 2016 where it was gradually blocked out. And I think that both of us would agree having neo-nazis recruiting through ie facebook was a bad thing. Keep in mind that this block is only for public posts; these groups may very well operate still through invitation-only groups.

    In the case of HLEGOFNOD, you will agree with me that there's a problem with fake news in Europe even if we don't agree on what these fake news are. In this, I don't see anything wrong in a group trying to short out the truths from the lies. In fact, I believe we are doing far too little on that front. But again the existence of a bureaucracy to expose fake news is hardly censorship. You get to see the news after all, despite the fact that you then learn whether it were true or false.

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    The infamous daily Two Minutes of Hate of the Twitter crowd every time Goldstein/Trump (the one that betrayed liberalism for Eurasia) tweets. Indeed the obession with the ''Eurasian enemy'' (Russia) behind every social failure of liberal governments. We have Newspeak too, because liberals are progressively removing words on the basis that they are offensive. First it was the n-word, one can say ''whatever, it was used to demean slaves, let's cut that one out''. Then it's the f-word, the r-word and so on. An ever increasing demand of adherence to the party's orthodoxy on increasingly bizarre causes like ''trans-rights'', the massive historical revisionism of mostly European history to demonstrate that Europe was ''always multiethnic and multicultural'' so ''migration isn't really radically changing the demographics, it has always been like this''.
    I think that comparing Trump to Goldstein is very misleading. In the book, Goldstein is nothing but a picture on the screen; he's never seen nor heard, only rumored to exist somewhere - he's the equivalent of Trotsky. Exiled, beaten, but still feared; Trump is anything but Goldstein, since he's the President of the United States. And as the President, he's ought to come under flak for his actions. That's called democratic legitimization; the president's actions must concur with the wishes and interests of the electoral base otherwise the president is not serving the people.

    In terms of the Eurasian enemy, you also forget that the book employs Eurasia and Eastasia as their enemies to Oceanea interchangeably. Russia has been the 'enemy' ever since the end of WWII, and some would argue even before it, to the beginning of the Russian Revolution in 1918. And in fact, the Red Terror and the Red Scares have been historically used against liberals, not for them. McCarthyism being the prime example.

    In terms of Newspeak, I don't see what's wrong with cutting out the n-word. I believe that some 47,841,851 of your fellow citizens and countrymen deserve your respect too. The problem with what you're saying is the 'whatever' sentiment - the word wasn't just used to demean slaves in the past, it was used and is still used to demean people on the basis of their skin. The same goes for the other words; demeaning someone for their sexual preferences is as baseless as making fun of someone for baldness or being short. Its who they are - and in the case of baldness, you can do something about it if you have the bucks to throw at it. Sexual preference is just that - a preference. Why should you be able to demean that?

    Regarding the multiethnicity of Europe, yes Europe was and is multiethnic and multicultural. Europe isn't just the Nordics, or the Saxons. There are quite a few distinct cultures and ethnicities that have nothing to do with each other; this is actually the problem the EU has compared to your country. There's no way to convince a German, a Frenchman, an Englishman, a Spaniard, an Italian or a Greek or any other people in Europe right now that they have any common heritage, or some common culture - it just doesn't exist. What's more, these ethnicities have been moving around the space of Europe since ancient times.

    An example. The BBC got flak for showing a black Roman legionnaire in a cartoon a while ago, while on the same time its critics avoided the fact that the Roman empire not only recruited from all its provinces, including Africa, but also employed different people to guard different nations, so that their killing in the case of a rebellion would be easier and to ensure the loyalty of the army in case their home countries were in revolt.

    In this case, when large empires were around the European continent of course there was migration going on as part of the art of ruling. The Romans did it; the Persians did it; the Greeks did it; the Ottomans did it; everyone who made an empire has done it. Colonialism itself is a migration of people from place A to place B.

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    This dude makes a nice comparison of which direction our society is going:
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-...orwellian-west

    You talk about the courage to say uncomfortable truths. Ok what uncomfortable truth are liberals able to talk about? Anything identity politics related certainly not. Under those aspects anyone who does not conform to orthodoxy faces social eradication.
    This piece is the main crux of this thread so I will not comment on it now, saving my argument until more people have given their thoughts. I hope this is alright with you.
    Under the valued patronage of Abdülmecid I

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    What get's me is that if you have the balls to call something "Orwellian", almost certainly referencing 1984, government oppression better be somehow involved. In 1984, it is literally the State enforcing a cult of personality through violent control of information, not private companies demonetizing videos on their platform. Especially if you cry about hyperbole and dishonest representation, calling some facet of American culture "Orwellian" while having nothing to do with State control or action seems really lame. I think there are strong arguments for calling China "Orwellian" in ways, because there if you express certain political opinions, police can actually show up at your house and arrest you for it and send you to a literal reeducation camp. To compare that to being banned off of twitter is absolute insanity.
    They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by The spartan View Post
    What get's me is that if you have the balls to call something "Orwellian", almost certainly referencing 1984, government oppression better be somehow involved. In 1984, it is literally the State enforcing a cult of personality through violent control of information, not private companies demonetizing videos on their platform. Especially if you cry about hyperbole and dishonest representation, calling some facet of American culture "Orwellian" while having nothing to do with State control or action seems really lame. I think there are strong arguments for calling China "Orwellian" in ways, because there if you express certain political opinions, police can actually show up at your house and arrest you for it and send you to a literal reeducation camp. To compare that to being banned off of twitter is absolute insanity.
    Sounds like Europe.

  6. #6

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by The spartan View Post
    The press isn't ordinary citizens.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    Forgot you could be "Orwellian" without State control of the press, my B.
    They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    You didn't forget anything: you just don't know how the term "Orwellian" is typically deployed.

    "Orwellian is an adjective describing a situation, idea or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free an open society".

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    You can also define it: "characteristic of the writings of George Orwell, especially with reference to his dystopian account of a future totalitarian state in Nineteen Eighty-Four."

    As in post 4, it is obviously hyperbole unless you are reference things that actually happened in 1984, like State control of the media and public discourse with secret police. That isn't an impossible standard, some places do that, but it is hardly ever those places you usually seen referred to as "Orwellian" on the forums. Instead, you get the most limp-wristed examples of "information control" you could imagine being pumped up as hard as they can by political opportunists. It's like saying the US has a totalitarian control of gun rights in the US because the government doesn't usually let people own artillery pieces; the hyperbole is too bright to look at directly.
    They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.

  11. #11

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by The spartan View Post
    You can also define it: "characteristic of the writings of George Orwell, especially with reference to his dystopian account of a future totalitarian state in Nineteen Eighty-Four."

    As in post 4, it is obviously hyperbole unless you are reference things that actually happened in 1984, like State control of the media and public discourse with secret police. That isn't an impossible standard, some places do that, but it is hardly ever those places you usually seen referred to as "Orwellian" on the forums. Instead, you get the most limp-wristed examples of "information control" you could imagine being pumped up as hard as they can by political opportunists. It's like saying the US has a totalitarian control of gun rights in the US because the government doesn't usually let people own artillery pieces; the hyperbole is too bright to look at directly.
    Europeans arresting people for telling "offensive" jokes or being edgy teenagers is pretty Orwellian.

  12. #12

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    When you want it to, I am sure it can be.
    They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.

  13. #13
    Aexodus's Avatar Persuasion>Coercion
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    NI
    Posts
    6,352
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    Which means the ability of an individual to challenge any state imposed narrative that comes in conflict with their fundamental experiences of life. Simply put
    Why must it be state imposed?

    An example of a non-governmental ‘Orwellian’ situation is Sweden. Please read the link where they detail self-censorship and (alleged) cover-ups. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medi...#Controversies
    Patronised by Pontifex Maximus

    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
    Well if you survive a beheading I feel like that's fair enough you get to go home

  14. #14

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by Aexodus View Post
    Why must it be state imposed?
    Because in 1984 the information censorship was enforced with violence by the State. That is kind of important to the story and to the concept of controlling information; strong censorship requires the ability to be enforced violently, otherwise people will be able to criticize the State and cause dissent. So, you know, China.
    They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.

  15. #15

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by Kritias View Post
    The argument of Orwellian propaganda depicting news coming from the alleged Left Media is a statement often dropped during the D&D threads, but to my knowledge a statement that hasn’t been tackled head on yet. So, hold on because this is going to be a bumpy ride. A lot of you will not like this thread but this is a discussion that we need to have at some point, debating the roots of what is now known as ‘alternative facts’ and what that means for our societies. Everyone is of course welcome in this thread and the more debate we can have, the better for all of us. I would please request that, since this is a sensitive subject for many people, you will debate with an open head.

    To begin with, how did Orwell came to be co-opted so many years after his death by the right-wing crusaders, bringing back his final warnings as an accusation to what the right-wingers consider ‘leftist propaganda’ and ‘thought policing’? The story begins with Orwell’s condemnation of the Soviet Unions’ actions in Barcelona in 1936…



    Of course Orwell meant with his condemnation more than to paint a picture of communism as the woe of all freedoms but taken with Orwell’s satirical novel The Animal Farm alone, the picture can be skewed to favor the right-wing narrative. In fact, he stated very clearly that



    What does that mean? According to this article, Orwell’s position was more in line with the war-time UK’s voluntary self-censorship than the condemnation to communism that we generally believe it meant

    I don't agree with what you say and the facts clearly don't support. Animal House is clearly satirizing communism and the left, what with how all animals were equal but some more equal.thsn others. That is strictly from communism and the left, the right never proclaimed everyone should be the same, it has always been ok with some people having more than others, that some are rich. It was the left that complained that it is wrong having some people being rich and others not, not the right.


    And 1984 is clearly inspired by the actions of the communism, not war time Britain or actions on the right. It was the Communist that removed people from historical pictures, that rewrote journals and papers to revise history, not the right. The Nazis never photo shopped people out of historical pictures when they became inconvenient, that is what the Communist actually did. Winston's actions were much more in line with what Stalin actually did, than with what the right ever did. The British in wartime never retouched old photos to change the historical record, what you claim isn't true. But it is a fact the Communist actually did.similar things that Orwell depicted

    Further, the world of Orwell lacked true nationlistic believe like the Nazis, it is clear that nationalism is merely used as a tool for controlling the masses, and the governments of 1984's world are not interested in world conquest or expanding the nation's borders, quite unlike the Nazis. No, 1984 is clearly much more inspired by what Communist actually did, than the right.




    I would like to see how you feel about the argument of liberal orwellian networks right about now so I’m going to stop my argumentation here momentarily. Please give your two cents before we begin.
    While for the most part, I don't think the media actually fakes the information, it does most certainly presents a bias and imcomplete left leaning bias of the news in many cases. The Trayvon Martin shooting was a case in point. Not one of the mainstream media I recall ever challenged the false claims that if the roles were reversed, the outcome would be different. As a matter of fact years before the Martin shooting, the roles were reversed, a black neighborhood watch shot and kille an unarmed white student, and the black neighborhood watchman, Roderick Scott, was also aquitted. Most Americans to this day are still ignorant of the fact. I recall how the media showed a picture of 12 or 13 year old Martin instead of the 6ft' 16 year Marting (there is a huge difference between a 12 or 13 year old boy, and one that is 16 in height and strength), while it showed a picture of a laughing Zimmerman instead of the police photo of the assaulted Zimmerman with the scrapes and bruised on his face and head. At that is just one example of media bias.

    In all the Black Lives Matter talk, none of the media pointed out that the vast majority of young black males are shot and killed by other young black males, over 80%. Police shooting account for only 1 or 2% of the deaths, yet the Black Lives Matter movement was only concerned about this 2%, and showed no interest in the other 98% of the deaths. Further, as many white person's are shot and killed by cops as black persons, yet the mainstream media does not give those shootings a.fraction of the same attention. Cops in Texas shot and killed a paraplegic in a wheel chair because he was armed with a pen, and got off. The media was not bothered by that shooting because it did not suit th it agenda. While it is true that blacks are shot at a higher rate, blacks also commit murder at a higher rate, and by the same amount. Blacks commit murder at 4 times the rates as whites, and half the murders or more in the US are committed by African Americans. For a cop walking up to an African American, that African American statistically is 4 times more like to be a killer than a white person, which explains the cops actions. Those facts are not presented by the minstream media, or if they are, they are buried on page 10 or 20, instead of being on front page like the statics thrown around for the Black Lives Matter.
    ..
    And sometimes the media flat out does completely fake the news. I remember when NBC deliberately rigged GM trucks to explode to prove that GM trucks had a fire hazard. NBC was caught by GM, but other than offering a lame apology, nothing happened to NBC. The person in charge was not fired, merely reassgned, and NBC didn't even reinburse GM for the millions it spent to catch NBC faking the news. And many years earlier, I recall my dad telling the story how CBS was showing premature babies as proof of starvation in America. I can only stress these are only the examples where the left mainsteam media got caught, there were probably plenty of other times where it did fake the news and did not caught.
    Last edited by Common Soldier; July 29, 2019 at 12:37 AM. Reason: fix typos

  16. #16

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by Kritias View Post
    Thank you very much.

    I was unaware that the Financial Times were a liberal, progressive newspaper. They always seemed pro-establishment and biased when it comes to economic orthodoxy. As for George Soros, the paper itself was always marketed towards 'The Honest Financier, the Bona Fide Investor, the Respectable Broker, the Genuine Director, and the Legitimate Speculator' according to its founding statement in February 1888. Seeing that Soros is a very active speculator and investor, I wouldn't be surprised the FT named him the Man of the Year in 2018. In some sense, it's only to be expected that a paper naming itself a friend to those people would pick George Soros.

    Also when it comes to Soros, you will see that not the entirety of what you call the 'Left' swoons over the billionaire - in fact, it's quite the contrary. By his actions of betting against national currencies, Soros is part of a caste of people making money out of the misery of others otherwise known as the capitalists. The difference between what you call the Left and what you call the Conservatives lays in the fact that the former bring up the problems of unfettered capitalism while the conservatives getting slammed are those overly focused on just George Soros. He's just one of many people of widely different creeds to become a billionaire by betting against national currencies.

    I wasn't aware that one isn't allowed to criticize Soros on his business actions. This is news to me. Of course business drives policy, I think this is a no brainer. But the critisism many conservatives get when the criticize Soros is because they criticize only George Soros - he's just a man and not the first nor the last to make a fortune by speculating. When people get apprehensive on the mention of George Soros as the figurehead of international financiers it is because there's a long history of people attempting to link Soros' ancestry (a Hungarian Jew) to his occupation. Here's an example:

    In this sense, what the Malaysian premier hints at is the old-recycled conspiracy of the International Jewry - and with the focus on just one man instead of a quite large amount of people doing the exact same thing, the focus often gets to shift from the action to the characteristics of the doer; namely, the fact that he's a Jew and a financier. I personally wouldn't jump to accuse a republican, a Tory or any other just by the accusation of George Soros alone, waiting for further indications of antisemitism before I made my mind. Unfortunately though these indications are there more often than not.
    No. I asked you a very specific question, you didn't answer it and dodged the point entirely. We aren't talking about his business, we are talking about his political activism.

    If FT is allowed to award Soros for his political activism, then are we allowed to criticize his political activism? I didn't talk about his business and everything else is equally irrelevant. I asked a very specific question. Or alternatively, is every mention of Soros political activism an anti-Semite conspiracy theory? If so, if FT who applaued it and him, anti-semitic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kritias View Post
    The Left doesn't accuse you of being anti-Semitic for criticizing George Soros but because in so doing, you seem to buy into the idea that Soros' Jewishness is the cause for his actions. Normally a slam on twitter is followed when some mention of a Jewish empire is being made as was the case of Roger Scruton.
    And that's fake news. Roger Scruton made the unfortunate mistake of thinking that modern liberal journalists are nomal people and not filthy excrements. He did an interview with that lying vermin George Eaton who then deliberately manipulated his words to make him look like he said things he did not. After the usual twitter mob of outraged demented liberals had Scruton sacked thanks to cuckservative politicians who didn't even bother to check and that's that Two Minutes of Hate against a prisoner, truth came out. Douglas Murray obtained the tape:
    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/04/...odern-hit-job/

    The New Statesman was forced to apologize:
    https://www.newstatesman.com/politic...-roger-scruton

    George Eaton the lying liberal human garbage was demoted for being a perfect example of people that simply do not belong in a honest society:
    https://order-order.com/2019/05/23/g...new-statesman/

    So, why exactly are you repeating discredited lies?


    Quote Originally Posted by Kritias View Post
    Gladly. To begin with, trust and safety depts primarily deal with the removal of nudity, porn and otherwise graphic images that could disturb viewers seeing that there's really no way to block underage viewers from getting online and faking their age to get access. In this way, the big tech try their best to avoid the lawsuits from coming in from disgruntled parents, and other offended parts of the population. In terms of political commentary, which I believe is closer to what you mean to say you take offense, the big tech have a right not to allow their platforms being used for political indoctrination or otherwise spread of politically charged activity without them getting a buck - you will notice that political ads from parties and politicians are not blocked simply because the platform time is bought by these actors. In just the off-chance that the actor is clearly a Neo-Nazi do the big tech declined to allow them advertising room and that's only lately. Golden Dawn, par example, was very active in social media until 2016 where it was gradually blocked out. And I think that both of us would agree having neo-nazis recruiting through ie facebook was a bad thing. Keep in mind that this block is only for public posts; these groups may very well operate still through invitation-only groups.
    Porn is not removed from twitter. So just no.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kritias View Post
    In the case of HLEGOFNOD, you will agree with me that there's a problem with fake news in Europe even if we don't agree on what these fake news are. In this, I don't see anything wrong in a group trying to short out the truths from the lies. In fact, I believe we are doing far too little on that front. But again the existence of a bureaucracy to expose fake news is hardly censorship. You get to see the news after all, despite the fact that you then learn whether it were true or false.
    Like the one you just posted about Scruton?
    Because the n.1 promoted of fake news are liberal journalists like Eaton. In that case, the solution is simply to sue the liberal journalist for slander, have him fired and make him lose everything he has.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kritias View Post
    I think that comparing Trump to Goldstein is very misleading. In the book, Goldstein is nothing but a picture on the screen; he's never seen nor heard, only rumored to exist somewhere - he's the equivalent of Trotsky. Exiled, beaten, but still feared; Trump is anything but Goldstein, since he's the President of the United States. And as the President, he's ought to come under flak for his actions. That's called democratic legitimization; the president's actions must concur with the wishes and interests of the electoral base otherwise the president is not serving the people.

    In terms of the Eurasian enemy, you also forget that the book employs Eurasia and Eastasia as their enemies to Oceanea interchangeably. Russia has been the 'enemy' ever since the end of WWII, and some would argue even before it, to the beginning of the Russian Revolution in 1918. And in fact, the Red Terror and the Red Scares have been historically used against liberals, not for them. McCarthyism being the prime example.
    Yeah and East Asia is China because the liberal elite has realized that China isn't bowing down to globalism either.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kritias View Post
    In terms of Newspeak, I don't see what's wrong with cutting out the n-word. I believe that some 47,841,851 of your fellow citizens and countrymen deserve your respect too. The problem with what you're saying is the 'whatever' sentiment - the word wasn't just used to demean slaves in the past, it was used and is still used to demean people on the basis of their skin. The same goes for the other words; demeaning someone for their sexual preferences is as baseless as making fun of someone for baldness or being short. Its who they are - and in the case of baldness, you can do something about it if you have the bucks to throw at it. Sexual preference is just that - a preference. Why should you be able to demean that?
    1) Don't strawman me. I already said we can make an exception for the n-word due to historical reasons.
    2) Exceptions can't become the norm. It's not up to the state to insulate citizens from hurtful words because anything becomes hurtful and everything gets censored, which is exactly what's going on. People walking on egg shells because they are terrified of saying something that might sound offensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kritias View Post
    Regarding the multiethnicity of Europe, yes Europe was and is multiethnic and multicultural. Europe isn't just the Nordics, or the Saxons. There are quite a few distinct cultures and ethnicities that have nothing to do with each other; this is actually the problem the EU has compared to your country. There's no way to convince a German, a Frenchman, an Englishman, a Spaniard, an Italian or a Greek or any other people in Europe right now that they have any common heritage, or some common culture - it just doesn't exist. What's more, these ethnicities have been moving around the space of Europe since ancient times.
    All belonging to the broad European family of ethnicities and cultures. It is entirely Orwellian to use European internal differences to justify the Africanization or Asianization or Islamization of Europe as if ''it makes no difference because it has always been like that''. It was never like that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kritias View Post
    An example. The BBC got flak for showing a black Roman legionnaire in a cartoon a while ago, while on the same time its critics avoided the fact that the Roman empire not only recruited from all its provinces, including Africa, but also employed different people to guard different nations, so that their killing in the case of a rebellion would be easier and to ensure the loyalty of the army in case their home countries were in revolt.
    BBC used a black legionnaire as example of typical Roman family. Thank you for bringing this up. Orwellian liberal double-thinking regurlaly uses exceptions to represent the norm. It is true that there has been a recorded case of an Ethiopian man in Britain in Roman era. It's so notorious because Septimius Severus, a mix of North African/Hispanic/Italic himself, was shocked by the darkness of the soldier skin. So it was an extremely rare exception, not the ''typical''.

    What also liberals do is take the concept of Roman African (like indeed Severus) to ''demonstrate'' the presence of ''black people in the Roman Empire''. And that's historical revisionism. For Romans, Africa was exclusively North Africa, not even all of it on top of that. It certainly did not include Sub-Saharian regions and their people. British liberal historians are extending the concept of Roman Africa to the entire continent and rewriting history, which insulting towards North Africans to begin with.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kritias View Post
    In this case, when large empires were around the European continent of course there was migration going on as part of the art of ruling. The Romans did it; the Persians did it; the Greeks did it; the Ottomans did it; everyone who made an empire has done it. Colonialism itself is a migration of people from place A to place B.
    At the peak of mass migration in Roman era, the Barbarian presence was 5% at best of the Empire population. Here you are using a limited in numbers example, that nonetheless caused a civilizational collapse, to justify the modern flows which demographic data at hand will make indigenous Western Europeans minorities within their own country by the end of the current century. Which is again, Orwellian because the numbers and sizes are not even remotely comparable.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kritias View Post
    This piece is the main crux of this thread so I will not comment on it now, saving my argument until more people have given their thoughts. I hope this is alright with you.
    Honestly, I'm very disappointed. You gave me a ton of irrelevant info about Soros and didn't reply to a two lines section. You repeated a lie about Scruton, then defended dishonest historical revisionism and claimed that Trust and Safety censor porn when it's easily available on Twitter. Factually speaking, this was a disaster.

    We also have a final element. You see my avatar? That was the first example of attempted criminalization for facecrime by liberals. A guy who did nothing wrong but smirking was then hunted down by the usual Twitter mob, mostly because he's a straight white Christian kid, guilty of his racial, religious and sexual belonging but most importantly because of the wrong facial expression. So, again, how exactly is this not Orwellian?
    Last edited by Basil II the B.S; July 29, 2019 at 02:47 AM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by The spartan View Post
    When you want it to, I am sure it can be.
    Huh?

  18. #18
    Kritias's Avatar Petite bourgeois
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Greece
    Posts
    2,141

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    No. I asked you a very specific question, you didn't answer it and dodged the point entirely. We aren't talking about his business, we are talking about his political activism.

    If FT is allowed to award Soros for his political activism, then are we allowed to criticize his political activism? I didn't talk about his business and everything else is equally irrelevant. I asked a very specific question. Or alternatively, is every mention of Soros political activism an anti-Semite conspiracy theory? If so, if FT who applaued it and him, anti-semitic?
    This obsession with George Soros is raising red flags. No one said you can't criticize him, only don't fall in the trap of drawing parallels between Soros' religion and his politics and business activities. There's where the problem lies. Some conservatives play up the fact that Soros is a Hungarian Jew, leaving for the rest of the people to draw their own conclusions out of that. And the conclusions, especially when we're talking about a self-regenerating myth of the International Jewry is very, very, very wrong. Also, keep in mind that this myth that was kickstarted in America by people like Henry Ford for example [here] has rarely been addressed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    And that's fake news. Roger Scruton made the unfortunate mistake of thinking that modern liberal journalists are nomal people and not filthy excrements. He did an interview with that lying vermin George Eaton who then deliberately manipulated his words to make him look like he said things he did not. After the usual twitter mob of outraged demented liberals had Scruton sacked thanks to cuckservative politicians who didn't even bother to check and that's that Two Minutes of Hate against a prisoner, truth came out. Douglas Murray obtained the tape:
    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/04/...odern-hit-job/

    The New Statesman was forced to apologize:
    https://www.newstatesman.com/politic...-roger-scruton

    George Eaton the lying liberal human garbage was demoted for being a perfect example of people that simply do not belong in a honest society:
    https://order-order.com/2019/05/23/g...new-statesman/

    So, why exactly are you repeating discredited lies?
    I wasn't aware of this, so I apologize for using this argument. Unfortunately, some publications require me to pay subscriptions and I don't. I can't even view your first link so I'll just take you at your word.

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    Porn is not removed from twitter. So just no.
    And you can't view it on Facebook. Different companies have different regulations. This isn't a counter-argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    ]Like the one you just posted about Scruton?
    Because the n.1 promoted of fake news are liberal journalists like Eaton. In that case, the solution is simply to sue the liberal journalist for slander, have him fired and make him lose everything he has.
    I'm very curious to see how the liberals generate more fake news in comparison to the right-wing. I have already debated this somewhere else, so I am going to give you a quote with the links from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kritias View Post
    Casting doubt on the media outlets of your country is what any sane person would do, considering that most scientific publications on journalism have been raising the alarm on populism and fake news -coming predominantly from right-wing outlets like Fox News and Breitbart. In fact, the domination of the right-wing outlets is so complete that even the liberal news are swept into representing the same subjects. You can see more information regarding the tragic situation of misinformation in your country here, here, here, here and here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    Yeah and East Asia is China because the liberal elite has realized that China isn't bowing down to globalism either.


    Well, aside from the geographic similarity to these countries and the book Eastasia and Eurasia I fail to see more similarities that can be drawn. Care to elaborate them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    1) Don't strawman me. I already said we can make an exception for the n-word due to historical reasons.
    2) Exceptions can't become the norm. It's not up to the state to insulate citizens from hurtful words because anything becomes hurtful and everything gets censored, which is exactly what's going on. People walking on egg shells because they are terrified of saying something that might sound offensive.
    Have you considered the fact that maybe if some people feel like walking on eggshells they were also the ones dropping racial slurs and f-words etc like mad bombs? Having to be convinced that using a racial slur or any other slur so that you begrudgingly stop isn't exactly the same as being unfree to express your opinion. And freedom of speech also means that you will get booed by people when you say unacceptable things, no?


    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    All belonging to the broad European family of ethnicities and cultures. It is entirely Orwellian to use European internal differences to justify the Africanization or Asianization or Islamization of Europe as if ''it makes no difference because it has always been like that''. It was never like that.

    BBC used a black legionnaire as example of typical Roman family. Thank you for bringing this up. Orwellian liberal double-thinking regurlaly uses exceptions to represent the norm. It is true that there has been a recorded case of an Ethiopian man in Britain in Roman era. It's so notorious because Septimius Severus, a mix of North African/Hispanic/Italic himself, was shocked by the darkness of the soldier skin. So it was an extremely rare exception, not the ''typical''.

    What also liberals do is take the concept of Roman African (like indeed Severus) to ''demonstrate'' the presence of ''black people in the Roman Empire''. And that's historical revisionism. For Romans, Africa was exclusively North Africa, not even all of it on top of that. It certainly did not include Sub-Saharian regions and their people. British liberal historians are extending the concept of Roman Africa to the entire continent and rewriting history, which insulting towards North Africans to begin with.

    At the peak of mass migration in Roman era, the Barbarian presence was 5% at best of the Empire population. Here you are using a limited in numbers example, that nonetheless caused a civilizational collapse, to justify the modern flows which demographic data at hand will make indigenous Western Europeans minorities within their own country by the end of the current century. Which is again, Orwellian because the numbers and sizes are not even remotely comparable.
    This is a very important issue you raise and it deserves its own thread. For the time being I will say I disagree and my view on this subject can be summed up very neatly here, here, here, here and here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    Honestly, I'm very disappointed. You gave me a ton of irrelevant info about Soros and didn't reply to a two lines section. You repeated a lie about Scruton, then defended dishonest historical revisionism and claimed that Trust and Safety censor porn when it's easily available on Twitter. Factually speaking, this was a disaster.
    I apologize on Scruton. But I will point you towards the links on historical revisionism above. Also as I said Trust and Safety provisions may differ on different platforms. Facebook, YouTube and others doesn't allow for porn and Twitter and Tumblr do. Does differences in practice prove me wrong? I don't think so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    We also have a final element. You see my avatar? That was the first example of attempted criminalization for facecrime by liberals. A guy who did nothing wrong but smirking was then hunted down by the usual Twitter mob, mostly because he's a straight white Christian kid, guilty of his racial, religious and sexual belonging but most importantly because of the wrong facial expression. So, again, how exactly is this not Orwellian?
    Your avatar leads to this story where this dude was "assaulted" by the twitter mob as you say for wearing a MAGA hat. So? This guy here was detained by the secret service for his facial expressions after he was pulled and kicked out of the Montana rally. You're talking of face-crime? Getting detained by a state apparatus because of facecrimes has been done by the right, not the left. Comparing what happened to your case by individual citizens and saying it is the same as an Orwellian state cracking down on its citizens is kinda misleading here. Even more so when the exact example of Orwellian surveillance has been already done by the President's men.
    Under the valued patronage of Abdülmecid I

  19. #19
    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
    Moderation Overseer Civitate Moderation Mentor

    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    4,600

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    1984 should be described not as a futuristic romance or an elaborate political manifesto, but as the embodiment of Orwell's private feud against Stalin and the Communist Parties. It all started in Democratic Spain, where Orwell's "hippie" and "gentlemanly" leftism was casually defeated by the remarkably more disciplined, organised and powerful Communist Party of Spain and its various allies. Orwell never recovered from the collapse of his utopian dreams, so he channeled his bitterness to 1984. This is why, in reality, 1984 is not a masterpiece, but a very mediocre piece, because, similarly to other "vendetta diatribes", the author's goal is not write a qualitative story, capable of pleasing and sparking the interest of his audience, but, on the contrary, to villify his adversaries and to promote his agenda, no matter the cost.

    Isaac Asimov's review, who is an expert on the subject and could be considered as ideologically closer to Orwell than to Kremlin, enumerates all the novel's issues. To give a brief summary, Orwell fails at almost all his predictions (the exception being the geopolitical rivalry between the USSR and PRC), while his venom is so extravagant that his invented methods of censorship, surveillance and propaganda openly defy logic and common sense. 1984 also severely lacks in creativity, as Orwell limits himself to copy-pasting the history of the Soviet Union since the October Revolution. Big Brother has a big, fat moustache, while Orwell highlights Goldstein's Jewish features. Get it, they represent Stalin and Trotsky!

    So, how did 1984 became so famous and vaunted, despite its undeniable weaknesses? Its perception owes a lot to its clear political undertones. Initially, the book had difficulties in getting published, because the Soviet Union was an invaluable ally in the war against the Third Reich. Then, 1984 was praised by conservatives as a convenient anathema to the new geopolitical rival of Washington and London and somewhat later by liberals, as a critique towards the American government's shady practices. Nowadays, it's the turn of the far-right to exploit a truly abused book, because it identifies the Big Brother's totalitarianism with the "cosmopolitan, Bolshevik elite" that supposedly conspires against the persecuted patriots. Of course, as a result of the fact that the far-right movement is familiarised neither with 1984 nor with literature, in general, the adjective "Orwellian" is spammed at such a ridiculous extent that it has lost its meaning. It usually refers to instances where the exceptionally fragile sensitivities of the alt-right are violated:

    This concerns political correctness (e.g. describing the far-right in more accurate and less mild terms), safe-space (e.g. accounts of alt-right activists being banned in social media, due to rule-breaching) or even outright "snowflakery" (silencing any opinion which may contradict the far-right's narrative). In conclusion, the content of 1984 has a long tradition of getting taken advantage by various political sides, of which only a tiny portion has actually managed to fully read and understand the slightly incoherent, unimaginative and boring adventures of Winston. Personally, I feel a bit sorry for Orwell, because he should have certainly been frustrated over nationalists idolizing his work, but that's the obligatory price you pay, when you publish a political rant under the thin guise of a dystopian novel.

    Below I quote Isaac Asimov's review, because, unlike 1984 itself, is incredibly accurate about the strength, flaws and prospects of its subject:
    Warning huge text
    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac Asimov
    I've been writing a four-part article for Field Newspaper Syndicate at thebeginning of each year for several years now and in 1980, mindful of the
    approach of the year 1984, FNS asked me to write a thorough critique of
    George Orwell's novel 1984.
    I was reluctant. I remembered almost nothing of the book and said so -
    but Denison Demac, the lovely young woman who is my contact at FNS, simply
    sent me a copy of it and said, 'Read it.'
    So I read it and found myself absolutely astonished at what I read. I
    wondered how many people who talked about the novel so glibly had ever read
    it; or if they had, whether they remembered it at all.
    I felt I would have to write the critique if only to set people straight.
    (I'm sorry; I love setting people straight.)


    A. THE WRITING OF 1984
    In 1949, a book entitled 1984 was published. It was written by Eric Arthur
    Blair under the pseudonym of George Orwell.
    The book attempted to show what life would be like in a world of total
    evil, in which those controlling the government kept themselves in power by
    brute force, by distorting the truth, by continually rewriting history, by
    mesmerising the people generally.
    This evil world was placed only thirty-five years in the future so that
    even men who were already in their early middle age at the time the book was
    published might live to see it if they lived out a normal lifetime.
    I, for instance, was already a married man when the book appeared and yet
    here we are less than four years away from that apocalyptic year (for '1984'
    has become a year that is associated with dread because of Orwell's book),
    and I am very likely to live to see it.
    In this chapter, I will discuss the book, but first: Who was Blair/Orwell
    and why was the book written?
    Blair was born in 1903 into the status of a British gentleman. His father
    was in the Indian civil service and Blair himself lived the life of a
    British Imperial official. He went to Eton, served in Burma, and so on.
    However, he lacked the money to be an English gentleman to the full.
    Then, too, he didn't want to spend his time at dull desk jobs; he wanted to
    be a writer. Thirdly, he felt guilty about his status in the upper class.
    So he did in the late 1920s what so many well-to-do American young people
    in the 1960s did. In short, he became what we would have called a 'hippie'
    at a later time. He lived under slum conditions in London and Paris,
    consorted with and identified with slum dwellers and vagrants, managed to
    ease his conscience and, at the same time, to gather material for his
    earliest books.
    He also turned left wing and became a socialist, fighting with the
    loyalists in Spain in the 1930s. There he found himself caught up in the
    sectarian struggles between the various left-wing factions, and since he
    believed in a gentlemanly English form of socialism, he was inevitably on
    the losing side. Opposed to him were passionate Spanish anarchists,
    syndicalists, and communists, who bitterly resented the fact that the
    necessities of fighting the Franco fascists got in the way of their fighting
    each other.
    The communists, who were the best organised, won out and Orwell had to leave
    Spain, for he was convinced that if he did not, he would be killed
    From then on, to the end of his life, he carried on a private literary
    war with the communists, determined to win in words the battle he had lost
    in action.
    During World War II, in which he was rejected for military service, he
    was associated with the left wing of the British Labour party, but didn't
    much sympathise with their views, for even their reckless version of
    socialism seemed too well organised for him.
    He wasn't much affected, apparently, by the Nazi brand of
    totalitarianism, for there was no room within him except for his private war
    with Stalinist communism. Consequently, when Great Britain was fighting for
    its life against Nazism, and the Soviet Union fought as an ally in the
    struggle and contributed rather more than its share in lives lost and in
    resolute courage, Orwell wrote Animal Farm which was a satire of the Russian
    Revolution and what followed, picturing it in terms of a revolt of barnyard
    animals against human masters.
    He completed Animal Farm in 1944 and had trouble finding a publisher
    since it wasn't a particularly good time for upsetting the Soviets. As soon
    as the war came to an end, however, the Soviet Union was fair game and
    Animal Farm was published. It was greeted with much acclaim and Orwell
    became sufficiently prosperous to retire and devote himself to his
    masterpiece, 1984.
    That book described society as a vast world-wide extension of Stalinist
    Russia in the 1930s, pictured with the venom of a rival left-wing sectarian.
    Other forms of totalitarianism play a small role. There are one or two
    mentions of the Nazis and of the Inquisition. At the very start, there is a
    reference or two to Jews, almost as though they were going to prove the
    objects of persecution, but that vanishes almost at once, as though Orwell
    didn't want readers to mistake the villains for Nazis.
    The picture is of Stalinism, and Stalinism only.
    By the time the book came out in 1949, the Cold War was at its height.
    The book therefore proved popular. It was almost a matter of patriotism in
    the West to buy it and talk about it, and perhaps even to read parts of it,
    although it is my opinion that more people bought it and talked about it
    than read it, for it is a dreadfully dull book - didactic, repetitious, and
    all but motionless.
    It was most popular at first with people who leaned towards the
    conservative side of the political spectrum, for it was clearly an
    anti-Soviet polemic, and the picture of life it projected in the London of
    1984 was very much as conservatives imagined life in the Moscow of 1949 to
    be.
    During the McCarthy era in the United States, 1984 became increasingly
    popular with those who leaned towards the liberal side of the political
    spectrum, for it seemed to them that the United States of the early 1950s
    was beginning to move in the direction of thought-control and that all the
    viciousness Orwell had depicted was on its way towards us.
    Thus, in an afterword to an edition published in paperback by New
    American Library in 1961, the liberal psychoanalyst and philosopher Erich
    Fromm concluded as follows:
    'Books like Orwell's are powerful warnings, and it would be most
    unfortunate if the reader smugly interpreted 1984 as another description of
    Stalinist barbarism, and if he does not see that it means us, too.'
    Even if Stalinism and McCarthyism are disregarded, however, more and more
    Americans were becoming aware of just how 'big' the government was getting;
    how high taxes were; how increasingly rules and regulations permeated
    business and even ordinary life; how information concerning every facet of
    private life was entering the files not only of government bureaux but of
    private credit systems.
    1984, therefore, came to stand not for Stalinism, or even for
    dictatorship in general - but merely for government. Even governmental
    paternalism seemed '1984ish' and the catch phrase 'Big Brother is watching
    you' came to mean everything that was too big for the individual to control.
    It was not only big government and big business that was a symptom of 1984
    but big science, big labour, big anything.
    In fact, so thoroughly has 1984-ophobia penetrated the consciousness of
    many who have not read the book and have no notion of what it contains, that
    one wonders what will happen to us after 31 December 1984. When New Year's
    Day of 1985 arrives and the United States is still in existence and facing
    very much the problems it faces today, how will we express our fears of
    whatever aspect of life fills us with apprehension? What new date can we
    invent to take the place of 1984?
    Orwell did not live to see his book become the success it did. He did not
    witness the way in which he made 1984 into a year that would haunt a whole
    generation of Americans. Orwell died of tuberculosis in a London hospital in
    January 1950, just a few months after the book was published, at the age of
    forty-six. His awareness of imminent death may have added to the bitterness
    of the book.


    B. THE SCIENCE FICTION OF 1984
    Many people think of 1984 as a science fiction novel, but almost the only
    item about 1984 that would lead one to suppose this is the fact that it is
    purportedly laid in the future. Not so! Orwell had no feel for the future,
    and the displacement of the story is much more geographical than temporal.
    The London in which the story is placed is not so much moved thirty-five
    years forward in time, from 1949 to 1984, as it is moved a thousand miles
    east in space to Moscow.
    Orwell imagines Great Britain to have gone through a revolution similar
    to the Russian Revolution and to have gone through all the stages that
    Soviet development did. He can think of almost no variations on the theme.
    The Soviets had a series of purges in the 1930s, so the Ingsoc (English
    Socialism) had a series of purges in the 1950s.
    The Soviets converted one of their revolutionaries, Leon Trotsky, into a
    villain, leaving his opponent, Joseph Stalin, as a hero. The Ingsoc,
    therefore, convert one of their revolutionaries, Emmanuel Goldstein, into a
    villain, leaving his opponent, with a moustache like Stalin, as a hero.
    There is no ability to make minor changes, even. Goldstein, like Trotsky,
    has 'a lean Jewish face, with a great fuzzy aureole of white hair and a
    small goatee beard'. Orwell apparently does not want to confuse the issue by
    giving Stalin a different name so he calls him merely 'Big Brother'.
    At the very beginning of the story, it is made clear that television
    (which was coming into existence at the time the book was written) served as
    a continuous means of indoctrination of the people, for sets cannot be
    turned off. (And, apparently, in a deteriorating London in which nothing
    works, these sets never fail.)
    The great Orwellian contribution to future technology is that the
    television set is two-way, and that the people who are forced to hear and
    see the television screen can themselves be heard and seen at all times and
    are under constant supervision even while sleeping or in the bathroom.
    Hence, the meaning of the phrase 'Big Brother is watching you'.
    This is an extraordinarily inefficient system of keeping everyone under
    control. To have a person being watched at all times means that some other
    person must be doing the watching at all times (at least in the Orwellian
    society) and must be doing so very narrowly, for there is a great
    development of the art of interpreting gesture and facial expression.
    One person cannot watch more than one person in full concentration, and
    can only do so for a comparatively short time before attention begins to
    wander. I should guess, in short, that there may have to be five watchers
    for every person watched. And then, of course, the watchers must themselves
    be watched since no one in the Orwellian world is suspicion-free.
    Consequently, the system of oppression by two-way television simply will not
    work.
    Orwell himself realised this by limiting its workings to the Party
    members. The 'proles' (proletariat), for whom Orwell cannot hide his British
    upper-class contempt, are left largely to themselves as subhuman. (At one
    point in the book, he says that any prole that shows ability is killed - a
    leaf taken out of the Spartan treatment of their helots
    twenty-five hundred years ago.)
    Furthermore, he has a system of volunteer spies in which children report
    on their parents, and neighbours on each other. This cannot possibly work
    well since eventually everyone reports everyone else and it all has to be
    abandoned.
    Orwell was unable to conceive of computers or robots, or he would have
    placed everyone under non-human surveillance. Our own computers to some
    extent do this in the IRS, in credit files, and so on, but that does not
    take us towards 1984, except in fevered imaginations. Computers and tyranny
    do not necessarily go hand in hand. Tyrannies have worked very well without
    computers (consider the Nazis) and the most computerised nations in today's
    world are also the least tyrannical.
    Orwell lacks the capacity to see (or invent) small changes. His hero
    finds it difficult in his world of 1984 to get shoelaces or razor blades. So
    would I in the real world of the 1980s, for so many people use slip-on shoes
    and electric razors.
    Then, too, Orwell had the technophobic fixation that every technological
    advance is a slide downhill. Thus, when his hero writes, he 'fitted a nib
    into the penholder and sucked it to get the grease off. He does so 'because
    of a feeling that the beautiful creamy paper deserved to be written on with
    a real nib instead of being scratched with an ink-pencil'.
    Presumably, the 'ink-pencil' is the ball-point pen that was coming into
    use at the time that 1984 was being written. This means that Orwell
    describes something as being written' with a real nib but being 'scratched'
    with a ball-point. This is, however, precisely the reverse of the truth. If
    you are old enough to remember steel pens, you will remember that they
    scratched fearsomely, and you know ball-points don't.
    This is not science fiction, but a distorted nostalgia for a past that
    never was. I am surprised that Orwell stopped with the steel pen and that he
    didn't have Winston writing with a neat goose quill.
    Nor was Orwell particularly prescient in the strictly social aspects of
    the future he was presenting, with the result that the Orwellian world of
    1984 is incredibly old-fashioned when compared with the real world of the
    1980s.
    Orwell imagines no new vices, for instance. His characters are all gin
    hounds and tobacco addicts, and part of the horror of his picture of 1984 is
    his eloquent description of the low quality of the gin and tobacco.
    He foresees no new drugs, no marijuana, no synthetic hallucinogens. No
    one expects an s.f. writer to be precise and exact in his forecasts, but
    surely one would expect him to invent some differences.
    In his despair (or anger), Orwell forgets the virtues human beings have.
    All his characters are, in one way or another, weak or sadistic, or sleazy,
    or stupid, or repellent. This may be how most people are, or how Orwell
    wants to indicate they will all be under tyranny, but it seems to me that
    under even the worst tyrannies, so far, there have been brave men and women
    who have withstood the tyrants to the death and whose personal histories are
    luminous flames in the surrounding darkness. If only because there is no
    hint of this in 1984, it does not resemble the real world of the 1980s.
    Nor did he foresee any difference in the role of women or any weakening
    of the feminine stereotype of 1949. There are only two female characters of
    importance. One is a strong, brainless 'prole' woman who is an endless
    washerwoman, endlessly singing a popular song with words of the type
    familiar in the 1930s and 1940s (at which Orwell shudders fastidiously as
    'trashy', in blissful non-anticipation of hard rock).
    The other is the heroine, Julia, who is sexually promiscuous (but is at
    least driven to courage by her interest in sex) and is otherwise brainless.
    When the hero, Winston, reads to her the book within a book that explains
    the nature of the Orwellian world, she responds by falling asleep - but then
    since the treatise Winston reads is stupefyingly soporific, this may be an
    indication of Julia's good sense rather than the reverse.
    In short, if 1984 must be considered science fiction, then it is very bad
    science fiction.


    C. THE GOVERNMENT OF 1984
    Orwell's 1984 is a picture of all-powerful government, and it has helped
    make the notion of 'big government' a very frightening one.
    We have to remember, though, that the world of the late 1940s, during
    which Orwell was writing his book, was one in which there had been, and
    still were, big governments with true tyrants - individuals whose every
    wish, however unjust, cruel or vicious, was law. What's more, it seemed as
    though such tyrants were irremovable except by the chance of outside force.
    Benito Mussolini of Italy, after twenty-one years of absolute rule, was
    overthrown, but that was only because his country was suffering defeat in
    war.
    Adolf Hitler of Germany, a far stronger and more brutal tyrant, ruled
    with a steel hand for twelve years, yet even defeat did not, in itself,
    bring about his overthrow. Though the area over which he ruled shrank and
    shrank and shrank, and even though overwhelming armies of his adversaries
    closed in from the east and west, he remained absolute tyrant over whatever
    area he controlled - even when it was only over the bunker in which he
    committed suicide. Until he removed himself, no one dared remove him. (There
    were plots against him, to be sure, but they never worked, sometimes through
    quirks of fate that seemed explainable only by supposing that someone down
    there liked him.)
    Orwell, however, had no time for either Mussolini or Hitler. His enemy
    was Stalin, and at the time that 1984 was published, Stalin had ruled the
    Soviet Union in a ribbreaking bear hug for twenty-five years, had survived a
    terrible war in which his nation suffered enormous losses and yet was now
    stronger than ever. To Orwell, it must have seemed that neither time nor
    fortune could budge Stalin, but that he would live on forever with ever
    increasing strength. - And that was how Orwell pictured Big Brother.
    Of course, that was not the way it really was. Orwell didn't live long
    enough to see it but Stalin died only three years after 1984 was published,
    and it was not long after that that his regime was denounced as a tyranny
    by - guess who - the Soviet leadership.
    The Soviet Union is still the Soviet Union, but it is not Stalinist, and
    the enemies of the state are no longer liquidated (Orwell uses 'vaporised'
    instead, such small changes being all he can manage) with quite such
    abandon.
    Again, Mao Tse-tung died in China, and while he himself has not been
    openly denounced, his close associates, as 'the Gang of Four', were promptly
    demoted from Divinity, and while China is still China, it is not Maoist any
    longer.
    Franco of Spain died in his bed and while, to his very last breath, he
    remained the unquestioned leader he had been for nearly forty years,
    immediately after that last breath, Fascism abruptly dwindled in Spain, as
    it had in Portugal after Salazar's death.
    In short, Big Brothers do die, or at least they have so far, and when
    they die, the government changes, always for the milder.
    This is not to say that new tyrants may not make themselves felt, but
    they will die, too. At least in the real 1980s we have every confidence they
    will and the undying Big Brother is not yet a real threat.
    If anything, in fact, governments of the 1980s seem dangerously weak. The
    advance of technology has put powerful weapons - explosives, machine guns,
    fast cars into the hands of urban terrorists who can and do kidnap, hijack,
    gun down, and take hostages with impunity while governments stand by more or
    less helplessly.
    In addition to the immortality of Big Brother, Orwell presents two other
    ways of maintaining an eternal tyranny.
    First -,present someone or something to hate. In the Orwellian world it
    was Emmanuel Goldstein for whom hate was built up and orchestrated in a
    robotized mass function.
    This is nothing new, of course. Every nation in the world has used
    various neighbours for the purpose of hate. This sort of thing is so easily
    handled and comes as such second nature to humanity that one wonders why
    there have to be the organised hate drives in the Orwellian world.
    It needs scarcely any clever psychological mass movements to make Arabs
    hate Israelis and Greeks hate Turks and Catholic Irish hate Protestant
    Irish - and vice versa in each case. To be sure, the Nazis organised mass
    meetings of delirium that every participant seemed to enjoy, but it had no
    permanent effect. Once the war moved on to German soil, the Germans
    surrendered as meekly as though they had never Sieg-Heiled in their lives.
    Second - rewrite history. Almost every one of the few individuals we meet
    in 1984 has, as his job, the rapid rewriting of the past, the readjustment
    of statistics, the overhauling of newspapers - as though anyone is going to
    take the trouble to pay attention to the past anyway.
    This Orwellian preoccupation with the minutiae of 'historical proof' is
    typical of the political sectarian who is always quoting what has been said
    and done in the past to prove a point to someone on the other side who is
    always quoting something to the opposite effect that has been said and done.
    As any politician knows, no evidence of any kind is ever required. It is
    only necessary to make a statement - any statement - forcefully enough to
    have an audience believe it. No one will check the lie against the facts,
    and, if they do, they will disbelieve the facts. Do you think the German
    people in 1939 pretended that the Poles had attacked them and started World
    War II? No! Since they were told that was so, they believed it as seriously
    as you and I believe that they attacked the Poles.
    To be sure, the Soviets put out new editions of their Encyclopaedia in
    which politicians rating a long biography in earlier editions are suddenly
    omitted entirely, and this is no doubt the germ of the Orwellian notion, but
    the chances of carrying it as far as is described in 1984 seem to me to be
    nil - not because it is beyond human wickedness, but because it is totally
    unnecessary.
    Orwell makes much of 'Newspeak' as an organ of repression - the
    conversion of the English language into so limited and abbreviated an
    instrument that the very vocabulary of dissent vanishes. Partly he got the
    notion from the undoubted habit of abbreviation. He gives examples of
    'Communist International' becoming 'Comintern' and 'Geheime Staatspolizei'
    becoming 'Gestapo', but that is not a modern totalitarian invention. 'Vulgus
    mobile' became 'mob'; 'taxi cabriolet' became 'cab'; 'quasi-stellar radio
    source' became 'quasar'; 'light amplification by stimulated emission of
    radiation' became 'laser' and so on. There is no sign that such compressions
    of the language have ever weakened it as a mode of expression.
    As a matter of fact, political obfuscation has tended to use many words
    rather than few, long words rather than short, to extend rather than to
    reduce. Every leader of inadequate education or limited intelligence hides
    behind exuberant inebriation of loquacity.
    Thus, when Winston Churchill suggested the development of 'Basic English'
    as an international language (something which undoubtedly also contributed
    to 'Newspeak'), the suggestion was stillborn.
    We are therefore in no way approaching Newspeak in its condensed form,
    though we have always had Newspeak in its extended form and always will
    have.
    We also have a group of young people among us who say things like 'Right
    on, man, you know. It's like he's got it all together, you know, man. I
    mean, like you know -' and so on for five minutes when the word that the
    young people are groping for is 'Huh?'
    That, however, is not Newspeak, and it has always been with us, too. It
    is something which in Oldspeak is called 'inarticulacy' and it is not what
    Orwell had in mind.


    D. THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION OF 1984
    Although Orwell seemed, by and large, to be helplessly stuck in the world of
    1949, in one respect at least he showed himself to be remarkably prescient,
    and that was in foreseeing the tripartite split of the world of the 1980s.
    The international world of 1984 is a world of three superpowers: Oceania,
    Eurasia, and Eastasia - and that fits in, very roughly, with the three
    actual superpowers of the 1980s: the United States, the Soviet Union, and
    China.
    Oceania is a combination of the United States and the British Empire.
    Orwell, who was an old Imperial civil servant, did not seem to notice that
    the British Empire was in its last throes in the late 1940s and was about to
    dissolve. He seems to suppose, in fact, that the British Empire is the
    dominant member of the British-American combination.
    At least, the entire action takes place in London and phrases such as
    'the United States' and 'Americans' are rarely, if ever, mentioned. But
    then, this is very much in the fashion of the British spy novel in which,
    ever since World War II, Great Britain (currently about the eighteenth
    strongest military and economic power in the world) is set up as the great
    adversary of the Soviet Union, or of China, or of some invented
    international conspiracy, with the United States either never mentioned or
    reduced to the small courtesy appearance of an occasional CIA agent.
    Eurasia is, of course, the Soviet Union, which Orwell assumes will have
    absorbed the whole European continent. Eurasia, therefore, includes all of
    Europe, plus Siberia, and its population is 95 per cent European by any
    standard. Nevertheless, Orwell describes the Eurasians as 'solid-looking men
    with expressionless Asiatic faces'. Since Orwell still lives in a time when
    'European' and 'Asiatic' are equivalent to ' 'hero' and 'villain', it is
    impossible to inveigh against the Soviet Union with the proper emotion if it
    is not thought of as 'Asiatic'. This comes under the heading of what
    Orwellian Newspeak calls 'double-think', something that Orwell, like any
    human being, is good at.
    It may be, of course, that Orwell is thinking not of Eurasia, or the
    Soviet Union, but of his great bête noire, Stalin. Stalin is a Georgian, and
    Georgia, lying south of the Caucasus mountains, is, by strict geographic
    considerations, part of Asia.
    Eastasia is, of course, China and various dependent nations.
    Here is prescience. At the time Orwell was writing 1984, the Chinese
    communists had not yet won control of the country and many (in the United
    States, in particular) were doing their best to see that the anti-Communist,
    Chiang Kai-shek, retained control. Once the communists won, it became part
    of the accepted credo of the West that the Chinese would be under thorough
    Soviet control and that China and the Soviet Union would form a monolithic
    communist power.
    Orwell not only foresaw the communist victory (he saw that victory
    everywhere, in fact) but also foresaw that Russia and China would not form a
    monolithic bloc but would be deadly enemies.
    There, his own experience as a Leftist sectarian may have helped him. He
    had no Rightist superstitions concerning Leftists as unified and
    indistinguishable villains. He knew they would fight each other as fiercely
    over the most trifling points of doctrine as would the most pious
    of Christians.
    He also foresaw a permanent state of war among the three; a condition of
    permanent stalemate with the alliances ever-shifting, but always two against
    the strongest. This was the old-fashioned 'balance of power' system which
    was used in ancient Greece, in medieval Italy, and in early modern Europe.
    Orwell's mistake lay in thinking there had to be actual war to keep the
    merry-go-round of the balance of power in being. In fact, in one of the more
    laughable parts of the book, he goes on and on concerning the necessity of
    permanent war as a means of consuming the world's production of resources
    and thus keeping the social stratification of upper, middle, and lower
    classes in being. (This sounds like a very Leftist explanation of war as the
    result of a conspiracy worked out with great difficulty.)
    In actual fact, the decades since 1945 have been remarkably war-free as
    compared with the decades before it. There have been local wars in
    profusion, but no general war. But then, war is not required as a desperate
    device to consume the world's resources. That can be done by such other
    devices as endless increase in population and in energy use, neither of
    which Orwell considers.
    Orwell did not foresee any of the significant economic changes that have
    taken place since World War II. He did not foresee the role of oil or its
    declining availability or its increasing price, or the escalating power of
    those nations who control it. I don't recall his mentioning the word 'oil'.
    But perhaps it is close enough to mark Orwellian prescience here, if we
    substitute 'cold war' for 'war'. There has been, in fact, a more or less
    continual 'cold war' that has served to keep employment high and solve some
    short-term economic problems (at the cost of creating long-term greater
    ones). And this cold war is enough to deplete resources.
    Furthermore, the alliances shifted as Orwell foresaw and very nearly as
    suddenly. When the United States seemed all-powerful, the Soviet Union and
    China were both vociferously anti-American and in a kind of alliance. As
    American power decreased, the Soviet Union and China fell apart and, for a
    while, each of the three powers inveighed against the other two equally.
    Then, when the Soviet Union came to seem particularly powerful, a kind of
    alliance sprang up between the United States and China, as they co-operated
    in vilifying the Soviet Union, and spoke softly of each other.
    In 1984 every shift of alliance involved an orgy of history rewriting. In
    real life, no such folly is necessary. The public swings from side to side
    easily, accepting the change in circumstance with no concern for the past at
    all. For instance, the Japanese, by the 1950s, had changed from unspeakable
    villains to friends, while the Chinese moved in the opposite direction with
    no one bothering to wipe out Pearl Harbour. No one cared, for goodness'
    sake.
    Orwell has his three great powers voluntarily forgo the use of nuclear
    bombs, and to be sure such bombs have not been used in war since 1945. That,
    however, may be because the only powers with large nuclear arsenals, the
    United States and the Soviet Union, have avoided war with each other. Were
    there actual war, it is extremely doubtful that one side or the other would
    not finally feel it necessary to push the button. In that respect, Orwell
    perhaps falls short of reality.
    London does, however, occasionally suffer a missile strike, which sounds
    very much like a V-1 or V-2 weapon of 1944, and the city is in a 1945-type
    shambles. Orwell cannot make 1984 very different from 1944 in this respect.
    Orwell, in fact, makes it clear that by 1984, the universal communism of
    the three superpowers has choked science and reduced it to uselessness
    except in those areas where it is needed for war. There is no question but
    that the nations are more eager to invest in science where war applications
    are in clear view but, alas, there is no way of separating war from peace
    where applications are in question.
    Science is a unit, and everything in it could conceivably be related to
    war and destruction. Science has therefore not been choked off but continues
    not only in the United States and Western Europe and Japan, but also in the
    Soviet Union and in China. The advances of science are too numerous to
    attempt to list, but think of lasers and computers as 'war weapons' with
    infinite peaceful applications.
    To summarise, then: George Orwell in 1984 was, in my opinion, engaging in
    a private feud with Stalinism, rather that attempting to forecast the
    future. He did not have the science fictional knack of foreseeing a
    plausible future and, in actual fact, in almost all cases, the world of 1984
    bears no relation to the real world of the 1980s.
    The world may go communist, if not by 1984, then by some not very much
    later date; or it may see civilisation destroyed. If this happens, however,
    it will happen in a fashion quite different from that depicted in 1984 and
    if we try to prevent either eventuality by imagining that 1984 is accurate,
    then we will be defending ourselves against assaults from the wrong
    direction and we will lose.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    I don't agree with what you say and the facts clearly don't support. Animal House is clearly satirizing communism and the left, what with how all animals were equal but some more equal.thsn others. That is strictly from communism and the left, the right never proclaimed everyone should be the same, it has always been ok with some people having more than others, that some are rich. It was the left that complained that it is wrong having some people being rich and others not, not the right.
    Nope, that's an incorrect interpretation of the book. The entire point of Animal Farm is how Napoleon and the pigs hijacked the otherwise justified uprising against human oppression, by imposing a new hierarchy, with themselves at the top. Napoleon and the pigs gradually evolve into corrupt human versions and do not even hesitate to cooperate with the former tyrants of the farm. Animal Farm is a pretty obvious allegory about how the Stalinists betrayed the Russian Revolution and, instead of applying the noble principles of Socialism Orwell deeply admired, established an authoritarian regime. The goal of the book was to underline the distinction between what Orwell perceived as nefarious radical Communism and the more moderate leftist ideology he personally espoused. Similarly to Animal Farm, 1984 is also part of Orwell's personal crusade against Stalin.
    Last edited by Abdülmecid I; July 29, 2019 at 06:46 AM.

  20. #20
    Kritias's Avatar Petite bourgeois
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Greece
    Posts
    2,141

    Default Re: The Myth of Orwellian Network Propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    I don't agree with what you say and the facts clearly don't support. Animal House is clearly satirizing communism and the left, what with how all animals were equal but some more equal.thsn others. That is strictly from communism and the left, the right never proclaimed everyone should be the same, it has always been ok with some people having more than others, that some are rich. It was the left that complained that it is wrong having some people being rich and others not, not the right.


    And 1984 is clearly inspired by the actions of the communism, not war time Britain or actions on the right. It was the Communist that removed people from historical pictures, that rewrote journals and papers to revise history, not the right. The Nazis never photo shopped people out of historical pictures when they became inconvenient, that is what the Communist actually did. Winston's actions were much more in line with what Stalin actually did, than with what the right ever did. The British in wartime never retouched old photos to change the historical record, what you claim isn't true. But it is a fact the Communist actually did similar things that Orwell depicted.

    Further, the world of Orwell lacked true nationlistic believe like the Nazis, it is clear that nationalism is merely used as a tool for controlling the masses, and the governments of 1984's world are not interested in world conquest or expanding the nation's borders, quite unlike the Nazis. No, 1984 is clearly much more inspired by what Communist actually did, than the right.
    Aside from what Abdulmecid I already pointed out (plus rep when I spread it around, sorry) as reasons for Orwell's on the nose descriptions, we mustn't neglect the fact that Orwell himself stated that the war-time ministry of Information in the UK acted as an inspiration. This isn't someone explaining Orwell to us in the OP, it's Orwell himself. I'm re-quoting here for convenience

    If publishers and editors exert themselves to keep certain topics out of print, it is not because they are frightened of prosecution but because they are frightened of public opinion. In this country intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face, and that fact does not seem to me to have had the discussion it deserves.
    However, I don't think that the links to Stalin and Big Brother are so evident if we just take into account just the mustachioed totalitarian figure, Abdulmecid. For example the first cover of 1984 had this image on cover. There are renditions of 1984 where Big Brother has no mustache at all like this one. In both cases I would argue that Orwell was mostly hinting towards a more known British figure that was becoming dangerous during the mid-thirties, Oswald Mosley. Taking the above quote into context as well, I think that Orwell was basically made to support an anti-russian agenda more than the man actually acted on a grudge against Stalin. Asimov's analysis for me, while very interesting and very valid in combating the conservatives hijacking Orwell's work after his death, do him the injustice of painting him a more vindictive man than he was probably. Case in point, other books from Orwell written at roughly the same time like the Road to Wigan Pier (1937) show us that Orwell was firmly encamped in socialism, much more than later analysis of his more known works want to depict him. But that's all for another thread.

    Back on the argument at hand, there's a huge issue with the link between Communism in Soviet Russia and the Left in general, and one that was made ever since 1918. It's so embedded in the public's understanding that you can see it from simple threads such as this, to politicians, to art. I'll just link to this song as a piece of culture making this connection oft-hand. The red scare hysteria of the 50s was also based on the same premise of Communism=Socialism=the Left=EVIL. And that period lead to its own set of difficult to justify situations, didn't it?


    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    While for the most part, I don't think the media actually fakes the information, it does most certainly presents a bias and imcomplete left leaning bias of the news in many cases. The Trayvon Martin shooting was a case in point. Not one of the mainstream media I recall ever challenged the false claims that if the roles were reversed, the outcome would be different. As a matter of fact years before the Martin shooting, the roles were reversed, a black neighborhood watch shot and kille an unarmed white student, and the black neighborhood watchman, Roderick Scott, was also aquitted. Most Americans to this day are still ignorant of the fact. I recall how the media showed a picture of 12 or 13 year old Martin instead of the 6ft' 16 year Marting (there is a huge difference between a 12 or 13 year old boy, and one that is 16 in height and strength), while it showed a picture of a laughing Zimmerman instead of the police photo of the assaulted Zimmerman with the scrapes and bruised on his face and head. At that is just one example of media bias.
    Interesting that you bring up Trayvon Martin. Here's a link to a rather different approach of the same issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    In all the Black Lives Matter talk, none of the media pointed out that the vast majority of young black males are shot and killed by other young black males, over 80%. Police shooting account for only 1 or 2% of the deaths, yet the Black Lives Matter movement was only concerned about this 2%, and showed no interest in the other 98% of the deaths. Further, as many white person's are shot and killed by cops as black persons, yet the mainstream media does not give those shootings a.fraction of the same attention. Cops in Texas shot and killed a paraplegic in a wheel chair because he was armed with a pen, and got off. The media was not bothered by that shooting because it did not suit th it agenda. While it is true that blacks are shot at a higher rate, blacks also commit murder at a higher rate, and by the same amount. Blacks commit murder at 4 times the rates as whites, and half the murders or more in the US are committed by African Americans. For a cop walking up to an African American, that African American statistically is 4 times more like to be a killer than a white person, which explains the cops actions. Those facts are not presented by the minstream media, or if they are, they are buried on page 10 or 20, instead of being on front page like the statics thrown around for the Black Lives Matter.
    I fail to see how the BLM movement must accept, on top of all the people loosing their lives to gang violence, that the state -whenever it gets involved, because it doesn't in general- will also shoot and kill African Americans with minimal and in times fabricated provocations. The BLM raises awareness that the negligence of the state in their neighbourhoods to begin with has allowed for rampart crime; and then it argues that state officials in the persons of policemen will also profile and assault black men to a greater degree because of racial bias. The argument that violence already happens so why accuse the police on compounding on them is in very poor taste and I think morally dubious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    And sometimes the media flat out does completely fake the news. I remember when NBC deliberately rigged GM trucks to explode to prove that GM trucks had a fire hazard. NBC was caught by GM, but other than offering a lame apology, nothing happened to NBC. The person in charge was not fired, merely reassgned, and NBC didn't even reinburse GM for the millions it spent to catch NBC faking the news. And many years earlier, I recall my dad telling the story how CBS was showing premature babies as proof of starvation in America. I can only stress these are only the examples where the left mainsteam media got caught, there were probably plenty of other times where it did fake the news and did not caught.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kritias View Post
    Casting doubt on the media outlets of your country is what any sane person would do, considering that most scientific publications on journalism have been raising the alarm on populism and fake news -coming predominantly from right-wing outlets like Fox News and Breitbart. In fact, the domination of the right-wing outlets is so complete that even the liberal news are swept into representing the same subjects. You can see more information regarding the tragic situation of misinformation in your country here, here, here, here and here.
    So, there's sensationalism on the media because sensation and outrage pays more money from advertisement. And? The problem I have with the media is when they enable hate and mobilize people against their fellow human beings. Here's an example of outrage news.

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil II the B.S View Post
    And that's fake news. Roger Scruton made the unfortunate mistake of thinking that modern liberal journalists are nomal people and not filthy excrements. He did an interview with that lying vermin George Eaton who then deliberately manipulated his words to make him look like he said things he did not. After the usual twitter mob of outraged demented liberals had Scruton sacked thanks to cuckservative politicians who didn't even bother to check and that's that Two Minutes of Hate against a prisoner, truth came out.


    I also wanted to comment on this segment of your reply, Basil. Namely, it's very telling how you employ disgust indicators when talking about the people you believe to be your opposition. It's also very telling that another of the stars of conservatism, Dr. Peterson, has already linked such behaviours with totalitarianism on the extreme-right. You can see Dr. Peterson's lectures on the subject here, here, here, here, here, here and here. What's up with that?
    Last edited by Kritias; July 29, 2019 at 08:49 AM. Reason: Added answer to Basil the B.S
    Under the valued patronage of Abdülmecid I

Page 1 of 11 12345678910 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •