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Some people, mostly those on the left side of the political spectrum, believe that the government should control every aspect of an individual’s life. Others on the opposing side think differently. Those on the right side, or as a matter of fact, those completely separate from the gamut, deem that the individual should have absolute jurisdiction of their affairs. To begin with, people cannot do incredible things with the limitations of government. Plenty of examples of this are found in Anthem by Ayn Rand. When the book introduces itself, it is revealed that “it is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and put them down on paper no others are to see” (Rand 1). It is against the laws of the Council to have different opinions, or even keep a diary of private thoughts. That opening lets the reader know right off the bat that creativity is kept to a bare minimum, save the Scholars and Artists, because they were the only people allowed to create things. If today’s society were similar to this, people certainly would not want to live here. Even in Russia where Vladimir Putin outlawed memes of the president, some people don’t want to live in Russia anymore because of that. The Russians don’t get to express themselves freely that often.
Creativity is scarce, there but not nearly as much as in The City in Anthem. Not only is creativity almost absent, but when someone does expresses themselves, it is shunned. No, more than shunned. Creativity is terminated at first glance. When Equality created the light bulb, The Council not only rejected it, but they told him “It must be destroyed!” (Rand 74). Seeing as how they did all their work by candle light, the light bulb would have been a great invention for them. Nevertheless, they think all men live for is to work for other men, so Equality’s idea was turned away, simply because the Council is very close minded. In fact, their society is so close minded that they are afraid of anything they do not already know. Human kind would never progress if authority did not let citizens explore at the very least, let alone try new things. People would live dull lives, never moving forward, never doing anything exciting. Unfortunately the inhabitants of The City did not get the opportunities that most of the population has today. Instead, they sat like logs, never progressing, and just barely living. Most people today have the opportunity to have new experiences, venture into the world, and invent things if they choose. Not so much in third world countries such as Latin America, but more so in developed countries like America. These opportunities and innovations are what keep the human race alive. In addition, the government keeps its residents in the dark. Occurrences of this happen in both Anthem and Animal Farm by George Orwell. In Animal Farm, the animals were kept oblivious throughout the majority of the book. The deception and concealing began with something simple: the pigs take most of the apples and milk to ‘preserve their health’. Squealer explains as follows: “Milk and apples contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers.
The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us” (Orwell 35-36). Squealer continues to explain that if the pigs failed to stay healthy to think of how to run the farm, Jones, their former owner, would come back. The animals had a strong distaste for Jones, so they quickly agreed with Squealer’s fabrication and never mentioned it again. Little by little, Napoleon (their leader) and Squealer kept convincing the other animals of lies such as these. They progressively got worse, such as when Boxer fell and was sent to a ‘hospital’ in Wellington. In reality, he was going to “Alfred Simmons, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler” (Orwell 122). Three days after being sent, he was reported by Squealer to have died in said ‘hospital’. Anyone with common sense would see there was no hospital, and that the pigs are corrupt, deceptive, greedy creatures. Sometimes today officials try to keep things hidden from those that do not essentially work for the government, but that is why media exists. Not only do reporters and the like keep us informed, but most of the time it is the truth. Except for Fox News and a few other informative companies, the media tries to keep citizens as best informed as possible without being biased. Meanwhile in Anthem, their whole society is based on keeping citizens ignorant, especially about anything from the Unmentionable Times, or anything having to do with individualism. They were not even allowed to say “I”. This ruling is so prioritized that “There is no crime punished by death in this world, save this one crime of speaking the Unspeakable Word” (Rand 49). Equality does not learn of the Unspeakable Word for ages. “It was when I read the first of the books I found in my house that I first saw the word “I” (Rand 98). Considering he was twenty one at the time, it was an extremely long period to not know the word “I”. That is how far the Council would go about keeping its occupants unaware of what was happening. If reporters, journalists, news writers, and even the Internet had existed in this society, that most likely would not have happened.
Although the government may still attempt to control civilians’ free speech, which is immoral, but it still happens. People who think differently usually collaborate and eventually take power for themselves, or just leave the country as Equality did. He refused to be bound to ignorance like the rest, and people who organize and carry out revolutions have similar ideas. Just look at how Americans reacted when they saw what real war was like during World War Two. Most were not only outraged because the military was killing innocent civilians, but they were also upset because the government lied about the glory of war. Their government kept them ignorant about what being a soldier was really like. In fact, the government often tries keeping the population unaware of events and problems, such as the ‘weather balloon’ during the Battle of Los Angeles, or even the riders in Proposal One recently.
The government hides a lot of things from its people, for seemingly no reason besides its own personal gain. Furthermore, the government may go corrupt. In Animal Farm, the pigs continually broke their rules, and changed them to suit their desires. It all started when the pigs moved into the farmhouse, in which originally animals were not supposed to resemble humans in any circumstance. “Squealer was able to convince [the animals] that this was not the case. It was absolutely necessary, he said, that the pigs, who were the brains of the farm, have a quiet place to work in” (Orwell 66). They did this more often than not, and eventually got to the point at the end of the book where all the pigs were walking on two legs, wearing clothes, and Napoleon even began carrying a whip. This puzzled and frightened the other animals, until Napoleon changed the original Seven Commandments to a single precept. The new commandment read: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” (Orwell 134). The pigs lost all the original morals they had in the beginning of Animalism. They became exactly what they strove not to be in the first place: humans. They corrupted, as authority with complete control of people tend to do. However, this is not to say that those with only partial power do not go corrupt, just take a look at Detroit’s former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. The aforementioned mayor stole money that was supposed to go towards Detroit inhabitants, and spent it on himself. He, along with a billion other politicians and government officials, abused his power. Although, for the most part it happens to those in power who have complete command of their subjects. Be that as it may, some people still think that complete government control is marvelous. While it may be true that having no management at all is completely anarchic, as seen in Lord of the Flies by William Golding, this simply is not the case. In Lord of the Flies, there was absolutely no authority, and things went south quickly.
The boys went from polite and occasionally troublesome, to murder and complete disarray. Piggy often wondered what would have happened if there were an adult present. “We’re all drifting and things are going rotten. At home there was always a grown-up. Please, sir; please, miss; and then you got an answer. How I wish!” (Golding 94). However, while there would still be management to keep everyone from going overboard with things and going completely insane as the boys did, they still would have had creativity and individualism. These qualities were not shown in Anthem or Animal Farm, and are incredibly important to the human essence. Again, creativity is what keeps the human race alive, and not just surviving without real purpose. Above all, complete government control can be like having rotten eggs – nasty. In the end, it is just not the way to go. It will corrupt itself, and any government that has absolute control is bound to attempt to keep its citizens oblivious to what’s actually happening in real life. Finally, as mentioned earlier, no one can accomplish outstanding achievements with the continuous watch of the government.
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