In 1949 the British journalist George Orwell published his frightening view of a futuristic society that took place in the year 1984. It was Orwell’s last book and it was written while he battled a case of advanced pulmonary tuberculosis. Communism no doubt influenced Orwell’s writing because his fictitious society (named Oceania) was ruled by totalitarianism and the repressive regimentation of its citizens’ thoughts and behaviors. Today’s Communist societies are near carbon copies of the society described by Orwell. Oceania was ruled by “The Party,” an impersonal, Gestapo-like government agency that employed mass surveillance as a means of policing all individual activities. Not only was behavior supervised and controlled, but “Thought Police” observed (and persecuted) individuality and independent thinking. “Big Brother” was the term used to sarcastically refer to members of The Party who were always watching. Many of the terms and phrases that Orwell used in his novel have continued to this day and even references to the novel itself. “Orwellian” is sometimes used to describe government deception, secret surveillance, and manipulating history. To keep its citizens from rebelling against this repressive lifestyle, regular doses of a mind-altering drug called Soma were generously dispensed. Oceania shares other common features to communist regimes where torture and hunger are used for behavioral modification. A previous Orwell novel, “Animal Farm” dealt with a mind-control type of leadership. Orwell must have felt that leadership includes an ability to physically and mentally control others. What modern-day democracies have shown is that freedom and control are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
We are seeing some of the same frightening incursions into our daily lives that took place in Orwell’s 1984. Miniaturization of cameras and monitors allow monitors to be placed in nearly imperceptible locations. Satellites can read the date on a dime from space and listening devices are equally as sensitive. I no longer feel safe from monitoring regardless of where I am. Listening devices do not even give you safe refuge in your own home. The government is now suggesting that a chip be placed in our wrist or some dye placed under the skin to denote that we have received a certain vaccine. The Nazis tattooed numbers on Jews to monitor them 70 years ago. The appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic imposed a type of “house arrest” in the form shelter in place. The “experts” were saying we could not get haircuts, go to church or even go fishing. Small businesses were shuttered, restaurants closed their doors and we were captives of a virus. Americans came to this continent for freedom and to pursue those things in life that gave them happiness. Not all of the recommendations made sense, and appeared more in line with a communist nation where the goal is to control the masses. There are risks to almost every action we take in life. To some individuals life is not worth living if they can’t earn a living or go hunting, fishing or raise a garden. The experts are now saying that even with antibodies, you may still get the virus. If that is the case, who can guarantee that a vaccine will keep us from getting the virus? There are no guarantees in life except that one day we will lose our life. Those protesting the “shelter in” orders of state governors feel that their liberty is worth the risk of potentially losing their life. If Americans didn’t believe in this principle, we’d still be under British rule.