Orwell’s lost heed

"This isn't freedom. This is fear."

George Orwell‘s book 1984 is all about how horrible communism is

No, it’s not. I mean – yes, it does show the dark sides of communism, but it’s actually against something much worse and by far more relevant  than ever before: The loss of freedom for a sense of false security provided by a government (any government) falsely legitimized by the people.

Think about it: We got rid of communism, but did the world get any better? have the threats decreased? have our security budgets subsided  since the collapse of the Iron Curtain? No, we just realized there are other enemies who wants us all dead or would just like to eradicate our way of life or – more horribly – our freedom(TM). George Orwell over-simplified reality by positing a mere 3 communist superstates in  perpetual war with each other, which is almost the same as saying that all states are the same. It’s true, of course, but how would we Westerners have viewed the book if the Communists fought Capitalists and corporations? or a fascist dictatorship? and what about a fundamentalist theocracy? would we feel more or less sympathy towards the Communist state if its enemy were our modern-day enemies? What if there weren’t 3 superstates but rather 50 states with different powers and strategies, but not a single one offering true freedom(TM).

why do you put the (TM) when you say “peace”?

Oh, because “Freedom” is a commodity the state offers in exchange for allegiance. How many countries were conquered and how many people died in the fight for ‘freedom’? or in the fight for ‘peace’? aren’t they in fact one and the same?

These words – Freedom(TM) and Peace(TM) – mean so much that people don’t truly grasp their full meanings and just do what their country tells them to do in order to enjoy these great and wonderful things. They would even happily give away their personal freedoms or go to war in order to have them.

Do you live in fear?

Well, yes I do. Most people who unwillingly go to work every morning, live in fear of going hungry or broke or being ostracized by society. But you weren’t asking about this kind of fear. You asked about the Orwellian fear of government terrorism, such as random arrests and tortures.

Fortunately, I was lucky enough to be born in the right demographic group, a fate not necessarily shared by my fellow citizens (and what about yours?). But fear still plays a crucial part of the interaction between myself and my government as it keeps reminding us of our enemies who would like to drown us in the ocean. These threats could certainly be real, but maybe, just maybe, we could see the situation in a different light.

Governments are powerful, and it can do many things, both good and bad, by virtue of the power and legitimacy it is granted by the people. But the government must also sustain its power, and it does so by programming the people (‘heritage’) to believe they wouldn’t survive without the government (when the truth is the exact opposite).

State-terrorism is another Orwellian over-simplification. There are other means of controlling the population – such as religion,  nationalism, the fear of extermination by ‘enemies’ or even money. This is the kind of money that you can’t refuse without risking starvation or imprisonment.

Argh, so what’s your point?

Simply put, I encourage you to read “1984” again without thinking about Communism. Think about your government and what it actually means when it talks about “peace” or “freedom”. But don’t consider your own peace and freedom but rather those of the countries you are fighting with. Try seeing things from their eyes. And then tell me if “1984” is a fantasy or a rather simplified version of what is happening in the world today.

So you don’t like governments. I get it. Do you have any alternative solutions?

I don’t like brushing my teeth but it doesn’t mean I don’t brush them twice a day. We need our government. It can do great things, but it is our responsibility to make sure it does them. It’s our obligation ensure that the government doesn’t control us by limiting its freedom to tell us what to do. How many times did your government do something against your will? What if we could prevent this from ever happening again?

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