Wednesday, March 10, 2010

1984: A Review

While 1984 is now considered a cautionary tale about totalitarianism, it should be remembered that Orwell was an ardent socialist. Perhaps the most important (and least discussed) element of the story of 1984 is the doublethink of its author: Orwell's ability to condemn an outcome, while advocating its cause. Even as Orwell portrayed the corruption of socialist government in Animal Farm and the cruelty of totalitarian government in 1984, he insisted that these are perversions of socialism, rather than the inevitable fruit of socialism.

This is the same foolish idea as Marx had; that human nature is malleable and can be forced to adapt to a socialist zeitgeist. Sadly, many people suffer the same delusion today: believing that government has the right to mold human nature rather than the responsibility to yield to human nature and respect our natural rights. Socialists do not like that human nature opposes slavery (i.e. socialism) and insist that with enough socialist indoctrination and through the force of socialist government, human nature can be remade to love subjugation.

When we look to the troubling conclusion, it appears to be a break from the tradition of a successful resolution for the hero of the novel. Just as Brave New World ended with the State purging its misfits from its midst, 1984 ends with the arrest and reeducation of its misfit. Could it be that this was a successful conclusion in the mind of a socialist? Could it be that socialists are so wedded to their ideology that they have lost the ability to sympathize with human rights to liberty and freedom of conscience and would rather sympathize with the State? What if the ending reveals that the hero of a socialist novel was never meant to be the individual; is the hero in fact the State?

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