WARNING: Orwell's '1984' Is the Future Your Liberal Friends Want
In the late 1940s, George Orwell peered into his socialist worldview’s future and then prophetically wrote 1984. While his timing was off by several decades, Orwell’s dystopian nightmare is beginning to move from fiction to reality. Walking amongst us are those who believe that the transition is happening too slowly. Be warned, 1984 is the future that your liberal friends want.
It’s been over twenty years since I first read the book. At the time, as an avowed socialist moving toward full-on atheism and Marxism, I found 1984 discomforting. While that sentiment probably expresses almost everyone’s emotional response to the book, I was discomfited because I was a liberal. Something about 1984 hit a little too close to home; I was miffed by that.
Having just read the book for the second time in my life, I now understand even more why John Ellis of the past wasn’t a fan of 1984. It revealed more about my worldview than I wanted to see.
In 2017, it’s fairly easy to see the parallels between the book and the desired endgame of progressives. One scary parallel that stands out is the almost synonymous qualities between being “woke” in today's world and “sane” in the fictional world of 1984.
In the book, after repeatedly torturing Winston, O’Brien asks, “Do you remember writing in your diary, ‘Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four’”?
At Winston’s “yes,” O’Brien holds up his hand and asks Winston how many fingers he’s holding up. Winston gives the correct answer of four. His torturer then asks, “And if the Party says that it is not four but five – then how many?”
Winston again gives the correct answer of four, and the torturing begins anew with added intensity.
O’Brien continues to alternate between asking how many fingers and torturing Winston, who insists that the correct answer is four. As the pain becomes unbearable, Winston blubbers out, “How can I help it? How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”
O’Brien responds, “Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy becoming sane." [emphasis added]
Eventually, the torture works and in response to the repeated question, Winston cries out, “I don’t know. I don’t know. You will kill me if you do that again. Four, five, six – in all honesty I don’t know.”
“‘Better,’ said O’Brien.”
O’Brien then goes on to tell Winston that they do not want to punish him but “To cure you! To make you sane! … We are not interested in those stupid crimes that you have committed. The Party is not interested in the overt act: the thought is all we care about. We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.”