Orwell’s Dystopian Novel ‘1984’ Compared to Today

By T J Martin

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

Winston Smith [main protagonist] is an anachronism, first entering the public consciousness in 1949 with the publication by George Orwell of his seminal work 1984.1

Poor, sad Winston embodied Orwell’s fictional glimpse into a dark dystopia, then 35 years into the future.

What was once future, however, is now past: A full 73 years have passed since the pathetic story of Winston Smith was first told, yet he endures and has become, if anything, even more relevant than he was back in 1949.

Indeed, the lyrics may have changed, but the song remains the same.

In 1984, people in Oceania were either Proles or Party members. Other than being whipped into an occasional patriotic frenzy, Proles were permitted to lead old-fashioned lives free from the stranglehold of the Party. On the other hand, the Party scrutinized every facet of members’ lives, controlling where they worked, what they ate and drank, the language they spoke and thus the language in which they thought. The Party dictated whom they hated but most of all whom they loved, for all Party members loved Big Brother, whose portrait hung everywhere.

Far from the echelons of privilege and power, Party member Winston Smith struggled to blend in, to set his face in a neutral mask, to never reveal his misgivings. He worked in the Records Department at the Ministry of Truth, or Minitrue, and lived in a lowly apartment building ironically named Victory Mansions.

Winston’s flat was like every other except for one peculiarity: Its telescreen was positioned improperly. While Winston could not have imagined today’s smart phones or televisions, he would have been more than familiar with their unrelenting capacity for monitoring and even surveilling users. His telescreen not only watched and listened; it was capable of instruction or reproof when, for instance, he failed to fully engage in the morning’s mandatory exercises. Think Alexa or Siri—angry, with no “OFF” switch!

But its unusual placement afforded Winston a level of privacy in addition to the “few cubic centimeters” inside his skull. A small alcove provided a hiding place invisible to the telescreen’s “line of sight.” Here, tucked in silence, Winston committed the crime which encompassed all other crimes: Having illicitly obtained an antique diary on the “free market,” he attempted to explore his thoughts, to connect with the past, to reach out to the future.

And in doing so, Winston Smith became a Thought Criminal.

Although his initial attempts to write in the forbidden book were halting and trite, the mere attempt to explore his thoughts—indeed to even have them—sealed Winston’s fate. Knowing full well the penalty of Thought Crime, he nevertheless embarked, perhaps in rebellion against the “locked loneliness” of the superficial life he was forced to lead.

Winston’s employment at the Ministry of Truth, or Minitrue, provided raw material for his great crime. Similar to today’s Internet censors, Winston’s job involved endlessly purging and rewriting history according to the ever-shifting dictates of the Party. Today’s technology—wherein words, people, philosophies can be purged with the tap of a key—did not yet exist, so Winston spent his workdays manually severing history from fact, for…

“…if all records told the same tale, then the lie passed into history and became truth.”

Under the unrelenting stare of Big Brother, Winston and his fellow workers rewrote history in officially sanctioned Newspeak. They altered the Party’s “malreports, misprints, malquotes.” They cropped photographs, “disappearing” people from all memory. And since Oceania was perpetually at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia, the official record needed constant realignment so that the past could never contradict the present. Oceania’s enemies might change weekly, but its state of war was constant, a means of economic equilibrium.

Although he could not have envisioned the ease of Photoshop nor the editing software of today, Winston was thorough in his work, sending all offending memos, documents, and photographs down the “memory hole” adjacent to his desk.

All, save one.

One photograph, incriminating to the Party’s current edition of the facts, lingered a second too long in Winston’s hand, and then persisted in memory—never falling into the flames of forgetfulness.

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four.”

Winston, you see, could not forget. He had no talent for Doublethink or Doublespeak! He knew the Party lied and also believed the Party lied. Winston insisted on memory, context, on owning the “few cubic centimeters” inside his skull. He believed in a Past. He thought and felt even though he had to hide his essential humanity, for the Party allowed no deviance, no eccentricity, no love, no loyalty to anything save itself.

Treachery abounded. Militarized children spied on parents who lauded the behavior. Female Party members joined the Anti-Sex League. Procreation was deemed a duty. Friendship was superficial. Suspicion undermined all human contact, as though the entire population were “Alone Together.” All celebrated Hate Week, and participated in a mandatory Two Minutes Hate each day.

And it was in this atmosphere, that our hero fell in love. For a brief interlude, his bleak world brightened. Suddenly, Winston’s deep desire to connect with someone, anyone, had a face and a body!

Her name was Julia. A coworker at Minitrue, she surreptitiously slipped a note into Winston’s hand one day, and their affair began. The lovers plotted each encounter, taking circuitous routes, avoiding cameras, arriving and leaving separately, always looking over their shoulders, hoping to forestall their eventual apprehension by the Thought Police whom no one ever escaped.

Energized, Winston even permitted himself to hope in the Brotherhood, an underground network of people opposed to the Party. Suspecting that his coworker O’Brien had ties to the Brotherhood, Winston and Julia went so far as to visit him at his home.

His judgement and wariness obscured by emotion, Winston rented a shabby room atop the antique shop where he had first purchased the diary. Here, he and Julia felt safe, free, unobserved. It was their personal oasis, set amidst the “beautiful rubbish” of a past largely erased. The shop’s proprietor, a gray-haired kindly gentleman named Mr. Charrington, indulged the couple as if with a conspiratorial wink.

Until one day, as Winston and Julia contentedly embraced, an “iron voice” barked at them, seemingly from nowhere. In fear, they froze.

“You are the dead.”

“It was behind the picture,” breathed Julia.

Disembodied commands followed one after another. And then, as if in a nightmare, black-uniformed men armed with truncheons stormed the room. Mr. Charrington followed, no longer the same elderly gentleman. His hair was now black; his expression cold and hard. With horror, Winston realized that he stared into the face of a member of the Thought Police! He had fooled no one. The end was upon him.

And so Winston Smith became #6079, a prisoner in the Ministry of Love, or Miniluv. In mockery of its name, this formidable fortress was a place of torture, disappearance, and death.

When Winston spied O’Brien in Miniluv, he hoped perhaps that the Brotherhood had somehow smuggled in a razor with which he might end his life. But his hope was immediately dashed when it became clear that his former coworker was not a fellow prisoner or a rescuer. Rather, O’Brien was to serve as Winston’s inquisitor, confessor, priest, and torturer. Suddenly, the sumptuous apartment, fine wine, servant, and his ability to turn off the telescreen made perfect sense. O’Brien was a Thought Policeman! Nothing had escaped the them. Nothing!

In the following days, weeks, months, Winston endured an unrelenting cycle of hunger, anguish, torture, and reeducation. Beatings and electrical shocks were interspersed with reeducation sessions during which O’Brien attempted to graft Winston back into the Party proper.

Through it all, Winston grew to understand that the Party would never destroy a heretic without first destroying the heresy. He knew that someday a bullet would come, but there in Miniluv, the battle was not for his physical body, but rather for his mind and soul. With death thus forestalled, Winston struggled to preserve his humanity; he wished to die hating Big Brother. However, just as every unpleasant fact had to be erased from “history,” Thought Crime itself had to be eradicated: No dogma contradictory to the Party was allowed to survive.

Slowly he weakened, becoming a sallow and bruised shadow of his former self. Yet somewhere within, the same irrepressible humanity that found voice in his diary survived. Despite incarceration, deprivation, beatings, torture, Winston was not fully converted; he still possessed his soul.

“‘How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?’
‘Four.’
‘And if the party says that it is not four but five—then how many?’
‘Four.’”

It was not until Winston shouted Julia’s name in a dream that he was finally sent to Room 101, a place of unspeakable horror. There, in a chamber deep beneath the earth, his greatest fear was exploited. How did the Thought Police guess that rats induced “unendurable” fear in Winston? Was even the rat which occasionally scurried across the floor in Charrington’s upper room their doing?

With Winston bound so tightly to a chair that movement was impossible, O’Brien slowly revealed a cage of enormous, hungry rats. Calmly, he intoned the mechanisms of fear, pain, courage, and cowardice while moving the cage of shrieking, lunging rats closer to Winston’s face, his eyes. Nothing separated him from them save O’Brien’s finger on the latch.

“Do it to Julia!…I don’t care…Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me!”

And with that betrayal, Winston Smith finally died. His subjugation was complete: eyes, mind, heart, and soul. Finally he understood. Two plus two no longer made four; they made five, three, whatever the Party dictated. The heresy was dead even while the heretic still breathed.

“Everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

But what relevance does Winston Smith hold for us today, in 2022? Most decidedly part of our past, is Winston also part of our present? Does he foretell our future?

Sadly, the parallels between Winston and today’s “everyman” are many and ominous. They extend far beyond primitive telescreens, surveillance helicopters, cameras, memory holes, fake news, and Hate Weeks.

Anyone permitted outside during the past few years might have wondered whether Covid had become Big Brother—the figurehead of a vast apparatus of control. Indeed, a tiny microbe of disputed origins conquered governments, mass media, manufacturing, commerce, health care systems, schools, churches, and the minds of many. Monitors everywhere displayed the same dire warnings in the same words. Robotic voices admonished us to wash hands, distance from others, wear masks. Video footage featured the same workers in the same empty hospital corridors performing the same tasks, endlessly, endlessly. Covid testing tents were hastily erected. Barriers, lines, and temperature scans became the price of buying groceries—when stores were open. We were warned of dark days, dark winters. Humanity was collectively sentenced to Room 101 where its greatest fear—that of death—was held just inches, breaths away.

And like Winston, we have lost much. Mostly everyone has a Covid story to tell: stories of friendships broken, families divided, careers ruined, injuries suffered, deaths. Where does it end?

“He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.”

How did this happen? And why?

Why have doctors—who at great personal and professional risk upheld their Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm”—been discredited, maligned, censured, and even fired when they warned of the danger posed by Covid mRNA “vaccinations”? 2

These doctors include: Michael Yeadon, former Vice President of Pfizer who deems mRNA Covid shots dangerous, “leaky vaccines”; Robert Malone, developer of mRNA technology now purged as such from Wikipedia; virologist Judy Mikovitz, arrested under Anthony Fauci who later took credit for her AIDS research; Vernon Coleman, self-described as the most censored doctor on the planet; Sucharit Bhakdi, a German professor and research scientist who warns of exponential damage from each successive mRNA dose and booster.3, 4, 5, 6, 7

And what of physicians who defied authorities and successfully treated Covid patients with safe and highly effective protocols such as Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine, and when these drugs became outlaws, with substitutes such as Quercitin and Zinc? Instead of being praised and imitated, they have faced censure, ridicule, loss of esteem and position.

These physicians include: Simone Gold, a former emergency room physican in Los Angeles fired, or “disappeared,” for successfully treating Covid patients; “Zev” Zelenko whose Covid treatment protocol saved thousands of lives; cardiologist Peter McCullough who successfully implemented an Early Treatment Protocol in Texas; Brian Tyson and George Fareed whose extraordinary successes treating Covid patients in California resulted in them both being censored and their medical licenses attacked; Joseph Mercola—forced to remove 25 years of knowledge from his popular website—who enjoys the dubious distinction of being named #1 on the Biden Administration’s “Dirty Dozen of Disinformation” list. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Can they all be wrong? Or did these honest doctors run afoul of the Emergency Use Authorization which stipulates that experimental medical interventions, such as Covid mRNA injections, be administered only when no alternative treatments exist? 14

The campaign to poke a needle into every arm has been unethical, unfounded, relentless—and has resulted in the marginalization of those who, for whatever reason, decline the jab for themselves and their children.

Where are their human rights to bodily autonomy and freedom from medical experimentation without informed and voluntary consent, rights outlined in the Nuremberg Code of Medical Ethics which was written in response to World War II’s Nazi atrocities? 15

Does Dr. Anthony Fauci “represent science,” as claimed, in the same way Adolph Hitler once was believed to represent “das Vaterland,” i.e., the Fatherland? 16

We have witnessed health care heroes removed from their jobs after serving through the worst of the pandemic, their medical or religious “‘vaccination” exemptions denied. Family members refused hospital visits with their sick and dying. Custody battles adjudicated on “vaccination” status. Students turned away from schools and universities. U.S. Service members discharged. Airline pilots grounded. Firefighters fired.

Why does “My Body, My Choice!” not apply to Covid injections?

Unbelievably, this discrimination has been encouraged by those in positions of influence. Professor Noam Chomsky stated the unvaccinated should “remove themselves from the community.” President Biden cautioned the unvaccinated that “America’s patience is wearing thin.” Is the United States becoming a divided society of jabbed and unjabbed much like Oceania’s population was either Prole or Party? Whatever happened to “We’re All in This Together”? 17, 18

Is this not Doublethink—the ability to hold contradiction and belief simultaneously in mind? Is discrimination bad except when it’s good? Can we really be “Alone Together”? Is “Ignorance…Strength”? How are Covid mRNA injections “safe and effective” when hard data from the U.S. Department of Defense indicates they are anything but? 19

And what of those who choose to speak and act on behalf of medical freedom? Attorney, environmentalist, and children’s advocate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who claims, “This is the hill we will die on.” Patent expert Dr. David Martin who minces no words when calling Covid injections genocidal bioweapons. Investment banker Dr. Catherine Austin Fitts who warns the pandemic has provided cover for the looting and bankrupting of America. Author, feminist and presidential advisor Naomi Wolf who writes that the United States is on the tenth—and final—step before fascism. 20, 21, 22, 23

Mocked, censored, de-platformed, dismissed. Are these the Thought Criminals of today simply because they dare—as Winston dared—to question power and its aims?

Where is freedom of speech in the age of Covid? Freedom of thought? Bodily autonomy? The right to mobility? Assembly? Peaceful dissent?

Where is freedom from unreasonable electronic search and seizure of protected medical information? What intrusions into personal privacy would be necessary to create a National Vaccine Registry as has been proposed? What of Vaccine Passports? Why are smart phones now equipped with a Covid tracking app? Is this safety or surveillance? 24

Is the Internet, powered by omniscient algorithms, poised to become today’s Thought Police, “disappearing” all privacy and dissent?

Has the face of Big Brother morphed and changed into the image of that spiky spherical microbe which has come to dictate so many facets of our lives?

“…and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

As in 1984, all mainstream voices parrot the same message. One reality exerts itself above all others. One message prevails, driven by pharmaceutical profit and societal control. One narrative seeks to dominate and subdue.

Can such a concerted and lockstep response possibly be random?

And so, esteemed reader, perhaps the question is not how many fingers you are able to see.

Perhaps the question of our time should be, “Do you, can you see the hidden hand?”

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”


NOTE: George Orwell was a Fabian Socialist. This organization, founded in 1884–100 years before his namesake title—had for its logo a wolf disguised as a sheep and a turtle. As suggested by these animals, Fabian goals were stealthy and slow. Whether George Orwell, at the end of his life, wrote 1984 as a dire warning or a blatant expose is a matter of occasional academic debate.


Works Cited

1. Orwell, George. “1984.” Internet Archive, uploaded 14 Mar. 2020. www.archive.org/details/1984pdf_202003/mode/2up. Accessed 6 Aug. 2022.

2. Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vaccine. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

3. Yeadon, Michael. “A Final Warning to Humanity,” Rumble, Published by Matty Ivanovic, 23 Jul 2021. www.rumble.com/vk894g-dr-michael-yeadon-a-final-warning-to-humanity.html. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

4. Hope, Justus R., MD. “Humanity’s Whistleblower-Dr. Robert Malone Sounds the Alarm.” The Desert Review, 3 Jan. 2022, Updated 21 Feb. 2022. www.thedesertreview.com/opinion/columnists/humanitys-whistleblower-dr-robert-malone-sounds-the-alarm/article_e9c05e86-6ccf-11ec-9417-bbc21429de9c.html. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

5. Mikovitz, Judy. The Real Dr. Judy, 2022, www.therealdrjudy.com/. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

6. Coleman, Vernon. Warnings, Forecasts and Predictions, Vernon Coleman, 2022, www.vernoncoleman.org/. Accessed 30 Jul. 2022.

7. Newman, Alex. “COVID Shots to ‘Decimate World Population,’ Warns Dr. Bhadki.” New American, 16 Apr. 2021, www.thenewamerican.com/covid-shots-to-decimate-world-population-warns-dr-bhakdi/. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

8. Meet Dr. Simone Gold, Doctor, Lawyer, Warrior, America’s Frontline Doctors, 2022. www.drsimonegold.com/. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

9. Zelenko, Vladimir, Dr.. “Dr. Vladimir Zelenko 2022 Update: ‘We Could Have Ended COVID Long Ago’-Ask Dr. Drew.” www. rumble.com/vygz5c-dr.-vladimir-zelenko-2022-update-we-could-have-ended-covid-long-ago-ask-dr..html, Dr. Drew, 25 Mar. 2022. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

10. Dr. Peter McCullough, published by Jack, Totality of Evidence, 10 Feb.2022, www.totalityofevidence.com/dr-peter-mccullough/. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

11. Nelson, Kevin. “10,000 Covid Patients, Almost Zero Deaths: The ‘Miracle’ of Imperial Valley.” Children’s Health Defense California Chapter, CHD-CA, 8 Mar. 2022. www.ca.childrenshealthdefense.org/legislation/10000-covid-patients-almost-zero-deaths-the-miracle-of-imperial-valley/. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

12. Mercola, Joseph, Dr.. “Dr. Joseph Mercola: Why I Am Deleting All Content After 48 Hours.” Truth. Based. Media. 4 Aug. 2021. www.truthbasedmedia.com/2021/08/04/dr-joseph-mercola-why-i-am-deleting-all-content-after-48-hours/. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

13. Lennox, Stacey. “Who Are the Covid-19 Misinformation ‘Dirty Dozen” WH Wants to Silence?” PJ Media, 18 Jul. 2021. www.pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/stacey-lennox/2021/07/18/the-covid-19-misinformation-dirty-dozen-are-not-anyone-most-people-have-heard-of-n1462743. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

14. “Emergency Use Authorization.” U. S. Food & Drug Administration, 26 Jul. 2022. www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-legal-regulatory-and-policy-framework/emergency-use-authorization. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

15. “The Nuremberg Code (1949).” Research and Discovery, Wayne State University. www.research.wayne.edu/irb/pdf/2-2-the-nuremberg-code.pdf. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

16 Richardson, Valerie. “‘I Represent Science’: Fauci Claims GOP Detractors Are Really Criticizing Science.” The Washington Times. 28 Nov. 2021. www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/nov/28/i-represent-science-fauci-claims-gop-detractors-ar/. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

17. “Noam Chomsky Says the Unvaccinated Should Just Remove Themselves from Society.” The Sun Times, 27 Oct. 2021. www.owensoundsuntimes.com/news/world/noam-chomsky-says-the-unvaccinated-should-just-remove-themselves-from-society. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

18. “Biden Message to Unvaccinated: “Our Patience Is Wearing Thin’.” BBC, 9 Sep. 2021, www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-58510013. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

19. Lena, Tessa . “A DoD Data  Fraud? A Conversation with Mathew Crawford.” Tessa Fights Robots, 24 May 2022, www.//tessa.substack.com/p/mathew-crawford-dod?s=w. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

20. “Robert F. Kennedy, Jr..” @RobertKennedyJr, Twitter,, www.twitter.com/robertkennedyjr. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

21. Edwards, Michelle. “Dr. David Martin’s Lawsuit Against Biden: The COVID Injection is a Bioweapon.” undercoverdc.com, UndercoverDC, 22 Mar. 2022. www.uncoverdc.com/2022/03/22/dr-david-martin-lawsuit-against-biden-the-covid-injection-is-a-bioweapon/. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

22. Catharine Austin Fitts, published by Jack, Totality of Evidence, 2 Mar. 2022, www.totalityofevidence.com/catherine-austin-fitts/. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

23. Wolf, Naomi. “Naomi Wolf: We’ve Reached ‘Step Ten’ of the 10 Steps to Fascism.” The Defender, Children’s Health Defense, 5 Mar. 2021. www.childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/naomi-wolf-steps-to-fascism/. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

24.  Schulte, Fred and Fry, Erica. “Death By 1,000 Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong.” Kaiser Health News, Kaiser Family Foundation, 18 Mar. 2019. www.khn.org/news/death-by-a-thousand-clicks/. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.


 

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