In 1984 what is Goldstein's use of argument in his manisfesto?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter IX of Book II, after exhausting work rewriting history after the enemy has been changed from Eurasia to Eastasia, Winston is finally able to read Emmanuel Goldstein's treatise, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. 

Whereas a logical argument is based upon a controversial assertion with reasons why this assertion is true, Goldstein's use of argument is more like the theatre of the absurd in which the illogical becomes logical:


To use the words of Macbeth, in Oceania "nothing is but what is not." While the history of the world has always been the dynamics among the "High," the "Middle," and the "Low," Goldstein's manifesto contends that history must be changed or this dynamic will continue. But, if people are ignorant of history, and if history is constantly rewritten, control can be exerted over this state of life:

Every success, every achievement, every victory, every scientific discovery, all knowledge, all wisdom, all happiness, all virtue, are held to issue directly from his[Big Brother's] leadership and inspiration.

  1. There is nothing with which the individual can make comparison if history has been altered by the Ministry of Love.
  2. A readjustment of the past is necessary because if the individual is cut off from history so that he will believe that he is better than his ancestors and that material comfort is rising.

With an individual rather than an organization as a focus point for their emotions, the people can be better controlled. For, there is a mystique created that prevents the true nature of the society. This worship of a semi-divine entity along with doublethink keeps the people from dissent as they remain ignorant


This oxymoron proves true within Goldstein's manifesto since keeping the common people in a constant warlike state fueled by the strong emotion of hatred ensures peace for the ruling class, the oligarchy because no two nations can defeat the third, there is no real threat among nations that are so evenly matched. Likewise, the main populace of these nations are alike:

The inhabitants of these areas, reduced more or les openly to the status of slaves, pass continually from conqueror to conqueror.

Poverty is necessary to keep people stupefied and under control by the government; so, war will destroy and maintain this level of stupefaction. For the Inner Party, it is necessary that the members have their knowledge of the spuriousness of the war neutralized by doublethink, a technique that mitigates individual and critical thought.