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Immense power and control, that is what every government wants. Orwell portrayed this in his novel 1984 through the Party, which manipulated the people through striking fear, consistent surveillance, and deprivation of knowledge. The totalitarian government essentially destroyed the individual’s self-identity because one they confirmed their purpose and personalities all bundled into one, love for Big Brother. This can be related in some aspects to today’s society. In 1984, the promotion of disinformation and ignorance allows the ruling government to remain in power; a technique also used by Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump.
From the beginning of the novel, the slogan “Ignorance is Strength” represents the main idea behind the government in power (Orwell 4). The Party wants its people to think and act ignorant to what is going on around them. There is evidence that the people who “had confessed to intelligence” had “vanished for a year or more, so that one did not know whether they were alive or dead, and then had suddenly been brought forth to incriminate themselves” (Orwell 96). Winston, for instance, knows to manage his intellectual thoughts, or otherwise known as thoughtcrimes, in order to save himself from death. This is also why the citizens in the novel act as if they are clueless to what is going on around them. The disinformation in 1984 has to lead to the inevitable changing of information in Oceania’s history. Much like erasing the past, the Big Brother has used its people to do this, in what they call the Ministry of Truth, which Winston works at. There are many similarities in the dictatorships of North Korea’s Supreme leader Kim Jong-Un.
For many years, North Korea has been the center of attention regarding the harsh conditions of living as well as the extreme censorship of all and any information. While there were a few media outlets from the United States in North Korea last year, there still is “an absolute grip on the flow of public information” (Jerreat). This is just one of the many intense measures Kim Jong-Un has taken in order to secure the loyalty and ignorance of his people. In the article “North Korea Censorship,” Kang Cheol Hwan a journalist from inside the country stated “Red Star 3.0, an operating system that mimics iOS. Ultimately, these products were carefully designed to control and monitor information” this is clear evidence that North Korea is living in 1984 (Jerreat). In the novel, it was said “Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer, though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing,” much like this the people of North Korea are being watched by their own “Big Brother” through their new technology (Orwell 5). Kang also made it know that “Red Star 3.0 has surveillance capabilities, and the interface of the intranet, Kwangmyong, is set up to give the impression that the user has full internet access,” so by sharing this extraordinary fact, the people of North Korea are being deprived of information that should be made public, similar to the people of Oceania (Jerreat). There is a distinct parallel in North Korea’s society and the society created by Orwell in 1984.
While Donald Trump does not have so much power to the point of mind control and 24-hour surveillance on the people of the United States, he does have a significant impact on “fake news.” Most past Presidents of the United States do not tweet out from their personal accounts about controversial fake news to stir up drama. Trump is much like the Ministry of Truth in the sense of rewriting history in order to back up his “alternative facts” (Charles). Lately, Trump’s power has not been checked and he has managed to fire two important people, in which it can lead to an imperial presidency. During this time he also finished building the prototypes for the wall around Mexico. As a public deploy, the sex scandal with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal have come out. It is very common for leaders to bend the truth in their favor to obtain power, loyalty, etc. From the perspective of the novel, Big Brother had total control caused by fear, “in the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it” (Orwell 102). In today’s society this is still prevalent, not so much with fear, but rather loyalty and pride in one’s country such as the president, belief in Donald Trump by his supporters. This undeniable pride and ignorance in Trump supporters are what will keep a man with no credibility at total power.
In addition to total power, the Party had control of the past in order to control the present, meaning changing facts in the past made it easier on Big Brother trying to get the people to do and act as they wanted. In some aspects 2018 is a 1984 time period with all the technology, endless wars, doublethink, newspeak, etc. For example, there is newspeak, it is just text language “used to limit free thought. OMG, RU serious? That’s so FUBAR. LMAO” (Beale). In their society there was no reality, so the facts changing were really just that, facts changing in order to manipulate, control, and have loyalty over the people with a common “hatred of Eurasia had boiled up into such delirium that if the crowd could have got their hands on the 2,000 Eurasian war-criminals who were to be publicly hanged on the last day of the proceedings, they would unquestionably have torn them to pieces – at just this moment it had been announced that Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally” (Orwell 146). Considering the Party rewrites the history books so the people will not be able to learn the truth about their world and the world outside of their world, they will believe anything that Big Brother says. The people of Oceania know nothing at all, but to keep their heads down and follow orders. After all their lives are at stake for not remaining good ignorant citizens.
Although 1984 is a distinct parallel to the society of North Korea and partly to the United States, the ignorance and inaccessible information is not the people’s fault, in any situation. Governments are made to control people from an economic and social standpoint. Orwell portrays this altered allusion of a government in which their fear of death and “indescribable” punishments made those easier to control by altering history and constant surveillance. Big Brother’s slogan “ignorance is strength” is a direct truth to knowing how to survive the unknown and it demonstrates just how the Party can make their people fear something they do not even know exists.
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