Orwell’s Crystal Ball

Unless you are already indoctrinated and have accepted your place in Orwell’s dystopian world you might notice that some of us remain un-indoctrinated and vocal in our opposition to the reeducation attempts of the collectivists. Let me explain why some of us have yet to be ushered into the collective. To do that I’ll try to describe how it is that Orwell was so completely right in his depictions of the manner of governance of this dystopian world that would begin to emerge in the late twentieth century. You may think him prescient in his prediction of Big Brother, revisionism, collectivism and constant strife between major political blocks. But, if you stop and cogitate on the matter for a moment, you will see that Orwell was not predicting the future by looking at a crystal ball, rather he was simply recounting his experiences with Socialism, Communism, Fascism or more correctly, Totalitarianism.

Eric Blair, aka George Orwell, was an astute observer of human nature. He started his professional life as a policeman and learned well the predictive skills of that profession. He saw up-close social injustice, the class system, industrial versus rural culture and how groups are manipulated by individuals and/or smaller groups of regulators (oligarchs). In part it would be these observations that pushed him to work outside the system to do something about social justice. He volunteered to fight for the Republicans in Spain and soon came to understand that a true republic could not exist within the collective society of the fractious Communist party elements which battled one another to control the Republican forces. He also experienced the strife between the trade unionists of Spanish communism and the orthodoxy of Stalinist Russian communists, He would escape Spain just before his trial for treason began. He was accused of being a Trotskyite which, of course, was strange since he wasn’t a communist. The charge was without merit but was a perfect example of the purges Stalin was conducting in the Soviet Union.

Having lived through a war waged by one totalitarian entity against another Orwell was well-placed to gain insight into the plans of the constructed societies that would come out the other side of the conflict. Neither was an exceedingly pleasant offing for other than those in control of the “party” apparatus whether the party was the Fascisti or the Communists. He understood how the Proletariate would be treated and he had seen the shifting alliances that would be used to keep the “Proles” dumb and occupied. He had also seen the secret cabals that would be constructed to keep order by sowing fear among the Proles and even within the mid and upper echelons of the ruling entities. Secret arrests, secret accusations, secret trials and secret executions with only rumors left behind of the traitorous conduct of the individuals consumed by the system.

Being more a reporting journalist than a novelist for many years, Orwell had written many essays, stories and newspaper pieces on the efforts of the unprotected to climb above poverty and reliance on the government for the merest of life supporting existence. Then in his last years he would write “Animal Farm: A Fairy Story” and finally “1984” his novel of the triumph of the collectivists and the world they create. These two efforts sum up his experiences and project not a future seen in a crystal ball but an extrapolation from the mouths of those who would free man by oppressing men.

Perhaps he didn’t magically see into the future with a crystal ball but he was a prophet who could read the signs of the coming cataclysmic efforts to subdue men by forcing them into the collective. You, too, can become a prophet if you will only stop and notice what is happening in the world. You are being herded into the collective where you will be assigned a task, a place to live and a future unless, of course, you wonder about the reality of the past and come to the attention of the thought police. But not to worry, for there are reeducation programs that will return you to the fold where you will once again become part of the mollified society.

I challenge each of you to re-read “1984” looking for similarities to what is happening in today’s world. Orwell was right, he just got the date wrong, primarily because the technology of instant communications and surveillance did not develop as fast as he thought it would.

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