Abstract - 1984: Was Orwell Right?

Comparing the current (2006) U.S. government to the Party of George Orwell's novel 1984 is depressingly easy. There are numerous valid points of comparison between the two governments, including: newspeak, media saturation, the constancy of war, internal enemies, (re)writing history, the shaping of youth, and government departments that torture and control. The comparison is, thankfully, not perfect: Orwell was not a complete soothsayer. As Erich Fromm expresses in the Afterword to 1984, "George Orwell's 1984 is ... a warning ... that unless the course of history changes, men all over the world will lose their most human qualities, will become soulless automatons, and will not even be aware of it."

This paper examines the points of comparison between the United States government of 2006 and Orwell's Party, drawing from articles, speeches, blogs, and academic texts. It concludes with a cautionary note much like Fromm's: although the specifics of Orwell's future are unlikely to be realized in the real world, his general prediction must still be guarded against.

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