“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
This admonition comes from 1984, the classic book written by George Orwell. In 1984, a dystopian future of a totalitarian regime is shown in its full, and necessary consequence. Parallels of such a system’s nascency can be seen in contemporary America today. We do not need to go far into history to see where these parallels began, we just have to look at the last two administrations to see how much it has accelerated.
In 1984, the story takes place in Oceania under the principles of Ingsoc (English Socialism). The ruling party is the Party; there is the elite Inner Party, there is the Outer Party who are the citizens, and the ‘proles’ who are the lowest class. America has its Inner party, and it has nothing to do with whether one is a Republican or a Democrat as both sides have members in Amerisoc. Here we will see numerous ‘R’s’ and ‘D’s’ showing who makes up our Inner Party.
Oceania is one of the three remaining countries after a great war, and Oceania is constantly at war with the remaining Eurasia or Eastasia; the actual enemy may change, as is needed for one enemy is always needed. War without end. Our accelerated move to Amerisoc was the beginning of our great war without end: the ‘War on Terror,’ after the attacks of 09/11/01. The Bush (R) administration began this ‘great’ war, and though Obama (D) campaigned on stopping and overturning various Bush creations, Obama actually continued them; the broken promises include: closing Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo), using diplomacy in dealing with other countries (Libya and Yemen), withdrawing from Iraq (we have in part but not totally, for we need a ‘residual’ force), to bring the troops home; Obama went beyond the level of attacks of Bush with drone strikes.
But let us step back a moment before getting into the details of how there are Republicans and Democrats as Inner Party members. The structure of Ingsoc’s Party structure needs to be examined in how it deals with its subjects. There are four main divisions of government: the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue) where lies are created, and history is erased or modified in order to defend the Party’s current position; the Ministry of Plenty (Miniplenty) where rationing of poor-quality resources are offered to the undernourished masses; the Ministry of Love (Miniluv) where prisoners are incarcerated, tortured and killed; the Ministry of Peace (Minipax) where the plans for war are formulated and enacted. There is also the Thought Police who arrest those who are thinking improperly, meaning not as the Party desires. Finally, and as he was the main Inner Party member we saw, there was O’Brien who first takes us in as a friend and confidant, but then shows his true beliefs and seeks to break us down as he explains the way of the world… according to the Party.
Like the agencies in Oceania, our governmental agencies have names that gloss over their true, pernicious reality; agencies are not alone, for various bills and laws that are passed are also named as beneficence, but have malicious and rights-violating reality.
Examples of names sounding good, but hiding bad ideas:
Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) sounds good, for piracy is theft and stopping theft is a good thing, of course. Though the wording in the beginning of SOPA is that the bill isn’t to infringe upon First Amendment rights, through vague definitions someone thought to be violating the law, or linked in someway, however indirectly to someone charged with violating the law may have their own internet shut down. The charge is enough, and afterward the defendant may ‘prove’ their innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. SOPA shuts down our internet speech, our first amendment.
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) also sounds good, for who doesn’t want to have their homeland well-defended? However, NDAA allows the government to detain anyone without trial or even being formally charged. Obama has the power, but advised he ‘won’t’ use it; how reassuring. Let us remember his promise to close Gitmo (whether or not you agree it should be closed, it was one broken promise among other broken promises). NDAA actually enables Obama to pack Gitmo with more detainees, even US citizens.
The Patriot Act was passed not too long after 9/11 (by Bush), and has been recently extended (by Obama and most of Congress). One’s own country is the ultimate ‘home team.’ However, the Patriot Act, beyond its flowery name is codified violations of the fourth Amendment, as government agents may authorize their own searches, instead of needing to go to a judge.
The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) was created as a part of the Department of Homeland of Security that was created following 9/11. The very name states its about safe transportation; the actions of the TSA involves that which doesn’t deal with transportation, but with violating rights as its parent (Homeland Security via Patriot Act) states its agents may search anyone without a warrant.
Affordable Health Care for America Act (colloquially known as Obamacare) isn’t about health but is about medical costs; those are not the same. In making it mandatory, Obamacare, also by law has the people tied to governmental services, and with such strings begins to state that as we are receiving its benefits, it may begin to tell us how to live how they define a healthy life, and judge our individual worth whether we receive necessary medical services.
These are but a few of the numerous examples of fools’ gold offered by the Party.
Amid the countless other plans/bills and agencies comprising the Inner party, there is Newspeak (an official language designed to meet ideological needs) and Doublethink (holding mutually contradictory meanings, and allowing prevarication at any and all times) to make the Party appear correct in all manners, all the time.
Some examples of our Inner Party members speaking Newspeak, and pushing Doublethink to the populace:
George Bush (R) “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.”
Al Gore (D) “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”
A memo from the Defense Department called for changing the term ‘Global War on Terror’ to ‘Overseas Contingency Operation.’ That was just furthering Bush’s coining the term ‘War on Terror.’
John McCain (R) stated that the US, itself was a battlefield and needed to be treated as such.
Obama’s administration calling for raising taxes on ‘millionaires & billionaires’ while considering those who make just $250k a year in the millionaire club.
Joe Biden (D) “You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt? – the answer is yes. I’m telling you.”
Michelle Bachmann (R) and Rick Santorum (R) both call for small government, but want that government to decide who can marry, what is acceptable contraception and (like many other Rs and Ds) continued prohibition, that is ‘war on drugs.’
Mitt Romney (R) and Obama (D) both advance that one can be mandated to purchase what the State decided has to be purchased in order to be a law-abiding citizen.
Nancy Pelosi (D) advanced a bold statement of “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”
Obama chastised ‘rugged individualism’ when he meant isolationism. His choice of words, however, were intentional for it was the nature of individualism he wanted to attack as he championed the Party.
These are just some of the more recent, or more egregious examples of the Inner Party advancing their place in the lives of we citizens.
There are numerous other areas where the Inner Party has begun to creep into our lives through implementation of the various rules and regulations they have enacted. For ‘our health’ Michael Bloomberg (once D, then R, then Independent (I)) began a legal push to lower salt levels in food; both Rs and Ds have enacted laws banning smoking, even on one’s own property; various ‘sin’ taxes as a form of punishment on certain goods/services; in Alaska it is illegal to get drunk in a bar; it is illegal to purchase raw milk; in numerous states it is illegal to spit on the sidewalk. Just in new laws going into effect 2012 are: banning caffeine in beer; making it illegal to use a cell phone in a car; banning incandescent light bulbs; raising minimum wages; banning daytime drink promotions; banning pajamas from being worn in public. Most of these are simply ‘foot-in-the-door’ measures at the state level. But there are even national rules being considered such as a limitation as to how much money one may earn in the Gas Price Spike Act (HR-3784). Though there are few exceptions that deal with rights-violations, notice that most laws do not entail violations of another individual’s rights – it is the law itself that is the violation of individual rights. It doesn’t matter that some of these laws have not been enacted; the fact that they have been advanced shows the Party’s push for control.
More egregious laws that affect us at a greater cost and obvious danger are the new SOPA, NDAA, the expansion of TSA searches to go beyond airports, instituting COBRA checkpoints wherever the TSA deems necessary and drug-raids for the war on drugs. However, what we must be wary of are the precedents set whereby the result appears good, but based off a bad precedent – it is the ingesting of a sweet red fruit that, too late, one finds was lethally poisonous. Anwar al-Awlaki’s killing is just such a red fruit; an apparent ‘bad guy’ prompting various attacks on the US and US citizens. He was a terrorist, and deserving to be killed is shouted by those in power, and at face value it appears that the killing was a good act – that is as those who authorized the killing want it to appear. But, what we must look at is the context of the killing. Constitutional protections are not there to defend the “villain”; constitutional protections are there to defend all of us against a tyrannical government. The villains are to get that protection as well, and when found to be guilty punished accordingly even if the sentence is death. Anwar al-Awlaki was not tried, or even charged. He was deemed by the Inner Party as deserving death, and assassinated. The precedent set was someone the State deemed as a threat, without due process, can be killed; the precedent remains to be applied back on all of us.
Now, combine the killing of another without due process, the enactment of SOPA where free speech is curtailed, the NDAA where without charges one may be detained indefinitely, an increase in the number of Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) requests are being refused, and that everywhere and everyone may be considered a combatant on the indefinite battlefield, we have the beginning of the Minipax, Miniluv and especially Minitrue where the Inner Party may take those it deems problematic and ‘remove’ them. They may be removed for some wrong, even without being formally charged. There exists some law that may justify focusing on them, and those laws continue to encompass more of our lives. If we’re not sent to the Miniluv, we’re still subject to Miniplenty.
This brings us to how Obama is O’Brien, and the face of the coming Inner Party’s plan. The Inner Party has an ubiquitous presence, and as O’Brien championed the Inner Party is the collective, the one in power, immortal as compared to the individual who is singular and will perish. This applies to Obama/O’Brien himself, for he is just a cog in the Inner Party wheel, and it isn’t him, himself, that needs to be addressed, but the Inner Party. More on that, later.
A major weapon of the Inner Party is in turning the people against one another. As Stephen Molyneux observed “Get the masses to attack themselves and it takes less effort for the ruling class to rule over the masses.” 1984 also stated ‘the war was not to be won, but continued – the real war was for the control of the subjects by the ruling group.’ This takes the shape in blatant class warfare, but it is not the extent of it. In 1984, the Inner Party had the Spies and Youth League, a youth organization encouraging children to report on their elders to the Thought Police, and was a system of indoctrination. Amerisoc’s Inner Party today continues in making it more difficult to home school and while in public schools, trying to divide families with Al Gore’s advising children they know more than their parents on things in life; the Department of Education while continuing to have an abominable track record in grades and results while siphoning funds, pushes political agendas such as ‘The Story of Stuff,’ and in various forms of John F. Kennedy’s famous (infamous) admonition “… ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” and the various mouthpieces of the Inner Party speaking about a ‘fair share,’ which is Newspeak of some only paying while others only receiving. Party schools (government-run) will indoctrinate that the Party is good and needed to help in everything, for the Party must help everyone in their lives. An educated populace would be able to be self-sufficient, and that is not what the Party needs; keep the masses dumb, dependent and obedient, ready to turn on each other, for the Party (see Obama’s Attack Watch).
It is not by coincidence that the Inner Party’s figurehead is Big Brother, and has a ubiquitous presence. One of the goals of the Party is to destroy the concept of ‘ownlife,’ the desire of pursuing one’s own desires instead of the Party’s. The most efficient manner was that of eroding personal bonds, and replacing them with the new family headed by Big Brother. The Spies and Youth League was where the separation began, but the press to wipeout ownlife didn’t finish there; following it was the Junior Anti-Sex League, where celibacy was encouraged as was ‘artsem’ (artificial insemination), in order to wipe out personal bonding – one was not to value another more than anyone else. There was to be no love, no family outside of the Party and Big Brother – the new paternal figure who would guide, protect and provide for the people. We have Big Brother guiding us with the numerous aforementioned laws that exist and have been proposed, that do not have anything to do with rights-violations but curtail ownlife. And, all that is required is absolute obedience.
To continue the drive wipeout ownlife Newspeak gets updated, meaning words have been removed to become ‘unwords’ which are words no longer considered words and to be removed from language. One of those who worked on Newspeak remarked “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.” Just as the goal of removing sex and family from individual life so people could focus only on the Party, so too does Newspeak ‘narrow the range of thought’ to make ‘thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.’ It removed connotation, leaving simplest denotation and keeping definitions open enough to enable doublethink to work: Ministry of Peace is for war; Ministry of Love is for imprisonment, torture and killing; Miniplenty is for rationing. Precision in language was to be avoided, so responses could be more automatic; no longer are there words such as ‘great’ or ‘grand’ for they, and synonyms have been replaced with ‘plusgood.’ Some definitions and associations are removed, so ‘equal’ couldn’t be associated with politically – there is just what the Party states, nothing more so argument with the Party isn’t possible. The Party is the only axiom needed.
Before we can conclude, we must introduce two more characters who were both Outer Party members: Winston Smith, the protagonist and thought criminal; Parsons, who is Smith’s neighbor, Party member with a family (dying breed in Oceania) and is a simple and true-believer in the Party and Big Brother. Winston’s job is important as he works in Minitrue, making sure the Party doesn’t have any negative impressions. Parsons job isn’t important; he is there to show the unquestioning faith in the Party; for example: while working Winston gets the update from the Miniplenty that choco rations were going to decrease from 30 grams to 25 grams – a negative look – so, instead of saying the rations are being cut down, Winston has the records altered to show that previous rations were 20 grams, so the 25 grams looks as an increase. Parsons, afterward, upon seeing Winston asks if he heard the good news of the choco rations being increased to 25 – Parsons elatedly said “doubleplusgood.”
This brings us to Barak O’Brien’s advancing and explaining the necessity and plan of the Party, how the aforementioned ties all in together. O’Brien explains this to Winston; the explanation takes place through numerous torture sessions in a torture room and cell at the Ministry of Love. As Winston focused on ownlife with Julia, a woman he came to love, and they both shared their passion, the Thought Police arrested them both. The main point of O’Brien’s interrogation/lesson was to cure Winston of his thoughtcrime – of not living enough for the Party. To work in conjunction with the torture, Winston is starved and through an unspecified time, becomes weak and emaciated. As O’Brien continued the lessons, Winston was tortured, lost in delirium/hallucinating and even being coddled as O’Brien acted as a paternal force protecting Winston in between tortures. We have Obama’s big smile as he watches over the implementation of the Inner Party’s expansion into our lives. In the State of the Union Address, Obama praised the efficiency of the military, mentioning how each member can be placed where they’re needed to achieve a goal. Military efficiency is to be praised, for the military; its model of obedience or face legal consequences is not a model for liberty of free citizens of the nation.
The key idea O’Brien advanced in the ‘curing’ session is that there is the Party, and nothing else. The Party is immortal. Anything that wasn’t of the Party was not important at best, didn’t exist at worst. Individuals who were decided by the Party as problematic became ‘unpersons.’ Winston was well acquainted with what an unperson was, for in Minitrue, part of his job was removing unpersons from the records – an unperson was someone who was removed from existence, physically, mentally and historically. Unpersons end by ‘never’ existing. As part of the Party being everything, only what the Party advanced was real. Newspeak was modified to continue the removal on unwords that not just the words were removed, but the ideas those words represented were removed from existence, or corrupted to reflect what fits Newspeak, e.g. liberal in the early 1900s referred to a preference for small government, but as the Party wanted to use the term it now refers to someone a preference for government influence in daily life.
Winston wrote in his journal, that ‘there is truth, and there is untruth’ and ‘freedom to say two plus two is four’ [to speak an objective truth]. An objective truth is outside the Party’s omniscience and omnipotence, so with an objective truth being advanced outside the Party being something that didn’t exist, one who advanced it was guilty of having a ‘defective memory.’ A major focus of the torture was to get Winston into delirium, so he would see the four fingers held up by O’Brien, and see as O’Brien advised “Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once.” In dreamed delirium, Winston was having an amicable talk with O’Brien who said “The law of gravity is nonsense. No such law exists. If I think I float, and you think I float, then it happens.” O’Brien summarized in a torture session “Whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth.”
We citizens are both Smith and Parsons; the one who questions and the one who accepts. How does each one of us act? However, we, like them are individuals and as individuals are overall, irrelevant to the Party. Winston thought that with Parsons’ blind faith in the Party, that he’d be forever safe. When the Party needed to make an example that the individual would be sacrificed for the collective, Parsons was offered up to sate the State; he begged to be placed in a labor camp where he could still be useful. Parsons’ obedience was through-and-through, believing himself guilty of the crimes he was charged for the Party couldn’t be wrong and charge an innocent. Winston knew he’d be caught eventually, and argued against his captors, even through his torment. When arguing the difference in existence between men like himself contrasted with Big Brother, O’Brien simply replied [on Big Brother] ‘of course he exists,’ [about Winston] “You do not exist.”
Where does this bring us?
We find ourselves in the process of O’Brien’s breaking of Winston; as we assert our individualism, Obama mocks it. After an indefinite amount of time of starvation and torture, our ragged national body, like Winston’s physical body is brought before a mirror as our tormenter chides us ‘look at you’ and to emphasize their potency, pulls out one of our teeth. When we decry that ‘you did this to me,’ Barak O’Brien simply states “No. You did this to yourself.” Our weak economy, dollar, housing market, continued loss of jobs, are all ‘our’ fault – not the Party’s. It doesn’t matter that the laws and regulations the Party (again Rs & Ds) created were the causes of the weaknesses, that there is a difference between forced starvation and a diet; the Party cannot be wrong.
All the various faces of the Party, and Barak O’Brien move to quash those who are not towing the party line (towing the party line isn’t enough, see Parsons). The various laws, old and coming do not punish violations of rights, but seek to curtail behaviors that in essence seek to make ownlife more enjoyable; salt, alcohol and other forms of pleasure. Through SOPA, NDAA (and if the NDAA isn’t successful, there is the Enemy Expatriation Act whereby citizenship may be revoked), our own homes being considered as part of the battlefield, numerous laws restricting and intruding into our free behavior, we are becoming more enmeshed in the world of the Party, and we may ‘unexist’ when we’ve been deemed problematic. There is an ever-expanding list of ways that we may be considered problematic. Simply arguing against the power-grab of the State may get us listed as malcontents, and persons of interest. The TSA’s and drug-raid expansions, with the other laws shows that the Party can get us at any time, any place.
Think that only ‘the bad guys’ will be the ones who get prosecuted? That only the ones who are the lawbreakers are the ones getting what they deserve? What are the laws expanding into?—salt intake, dress-codes, speech. Each law is expanding more and more to embrace more and more behavior. Coupled with the numerous ways that the police may disregard individual rights (wiretaps, searches, detainment, tracking… all without warrants and due process), the precedent has been set that the Party may get into our lives in numerous ways, according to its whim. With expanding laws that first appear to be ‘for our own good’ the laws become tools of the Thought Police curtailing ownlife, while advancing life for the Party: Party social engineering. The die has been case, as one who hadn’t picked up a gun, fired a shot, only spoke against the Party didn’t even get due process, and was assassinated; don’t let the appearance of Anwar’s guilt be the guiding factor in how we act. Recognize, legally, he was someone who didn’t have charges against him, but he was still killed. Precedents come back and are applied to us; due process has been removed, and will be removed again.
Finally, there is the assumption that Winston had for the reason for his curing by torture, for why people had to be broken in Miniluv: that it was for their own good, and the greater good for all. This is where O’Brien seemed to get flustered, and increased the severity of the torture. O’Brien quickly corrected Winston. Power is its own reward; its own end. There was no love for the proles, or even the Outer Party from the Inner Party. There was just control: dominance. As O’Brien continued when mocking Winston’s hope for Man who would overcome Big Brother, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” That is the true nature of the Party. The laws they make do not make us safer, or improve our lives outside of herded sheep to be shorn or slaughtered; the Party wants self-abasement from the people. Even if there was an Inner Party member who did think that we could be guided for our own benefit, it isn’t the nature of the position sought by those in the Inner Party, and they’d be drowned out by those who want to stomp on our face for even the Inner Party members, as individuals may unexist for contesting the Party. Should, however, an actual “saint” emerge in the Party, will it matter? Slavery is slavery, regardless of the goals of who holds the whips.
It isn’t too late. We still have time, but it is dwindling. The Inner party is not wholly joined, though their goals are coming nearer together. The combination of the drive of the Party (Rs and Ds), along with technology is bringing the event horizon that much closer. Based off of the audio systems in England, there are areas in the US where pre-crime light systems to highlight those who are suspected of possibly getting ready to commit a crime, scanners read license plates to ‘justify’ pulling someone over even if the driver isn’t doing anything illegal but is on a suspect list, and local police forces are now getting drones that were created for military use.
We need to stop the Party from continuing as it wants, before we have a two-way screen in our rooms with a woman telling us that we aren’t trying hard enough in our morning exercise; before her bosses decide that we need to unexist.
Don’t let the would-be Inner Party members control our present.