America is like 1984Do you think America is like 1984? NSA wiretapping, spying on American citizens, etc. Are there real parallels or is it too extreme of a comparison?

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

It is a question of extremes that you are asking - certainly the world of this dystopian novel cannot be completely compared to America today, but I wonder whether we are sliding gently, slowly, and unobtrusively more and more towards it, especially in the light of recent security alerts. Sacrificing individual freedom such as privacy in the light of terrorist attacks can very easily slip into something much more pervasive and controlling. But maybe I am just being paranoid!

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

America is nowhere near being like the society in 1984, but it's good for us to keep asking that question and checking where we are. Britain is much more intrusive into people's lives, with CCTV cameras set up everywhere and the Echelon spy system.

clane's profile pic

clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I don't think it's an extreme comparison at all and often times I feel a lot like how Orwell must have felt when he was writing the novel. Obviously his ideas were not hatched from nothingness- he experienced in his time spent in Spain much of what he wrote about in the novel. The country (Spain) and even the world at the time in some places was allowing the government too much power without question, which is why Blair/Orwell joined the Republican side of that war as a soldier to fight against a system he strongly disagreed with. 

I have traveled the world and it is only in the US it seems that the news comes to us filtered, much like Winston's telescreen announcements. We only get what the government (or whoever the powers that be are) want us to get- we do not get an unbiased view of what happens in the world.

News aside, yes there are the wire tappings and spying on Americans, but there is so much more. There are GPS tracking systems that can be tapped anytime in cell phones, cars, etc.Complete and utter free speech is dissipating with all that is "PC" coming into play in the country. Heck, even money (large bills $20 and over) have small microchips embedded in them that the government can use to track.

Is the world like 1984- it could be worse and we don't even know it yet, which was the message that Blair was trying to send- question everything!

alexb2's profile pic

alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Yeah, it's too extreme of a comparison, but you have to ask yourself-- what was the precursor to 1984 like? An apathetic democracy unquestioning of its leaders? How did 1984's world get that way? Perhaps America today is closer to... Orwell's 1964 :)

kat-attaque's profile pic

kat-attaque | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

That's probably an extreme comparison, but I understand where you are coming from: America's more uncomfortably close to being like 1984 than ever before. NSA wiretapping and spying on Americans, as you mentioned, are disconcerting enough. But what has bothered me most is the uncritical acceptance of authority and the party line that has increased sincle 9/11. 

joeshmo's profile pic

joeshmo | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I live in Canada and it is interesting to flip through American major news networks (CNN, Fox...) The coverage, often, does not seem like news rather than part of a bigger machine. Even ominous titles like WAR on TERROR (cue scary music) and OPERATION FREEDOM (cue patriotic music)  have their own implicit meanings. I frequently hear the word enemy and the pro-noun them in reference to the enemy. Its not 1984 but does warrant a comparison. Canada is not without its own propaganda machines but if you watch the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) or the BBC, the news seems a little less slanted and sensational. Please feel free to disagree with me, I'd love to read your comments. 

I become more concerned abbout the dummying down of news content.  even our local stuff glides throught he world/national news after the latest stuff about the pro sports teams.  damping down the language, in essence, is a concern too as "agricultural tresspassers" and "imigrant" words are used for illegal (criminal) aliens.  There is a bigger agenda, largely corprate in my opinion.  Also, like what results in 1984 there is an eradication of the middle class (goldstiens "the book").

tthakkar's profile pic

tthakkar | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

I live in Canada and it is interesting to flip through American major news networks (CNN, Fox...) The coverage, often, does not seem like news rather than part of a bigger machine. Even ominous titles like WAR on TERROR (cue scary music) and OPERATION FREEDOM (cue patriotic music)  have their own implicit meanings. I frequently hear the word enemy and the pro-noun them in reference to the enemy. Its not 1984 but does warrant a comparison. Canada is not without its own propaganda machines but if you watch the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) or the BBC, the news seems a little less slanted and sensational. Please feel free to disagree with me, I'd love to read your comments. 

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