Jump to content
dahohaw

1984 debates

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone. My english class just studied 1984 by having mini debates (really bad mini debates). So I was wondering what anyone here who has read the book thought about the issue we were debating: We as americans are moving closer to an orwellian society. Each debate was on a subset of that topic. For example- one team debated that we are moving towards perpetual war and I debated that we are moving towards a greater acceptance of hate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For example- one team debated that we are moving towards perpetual war .

 

i haven't read the book, but i would agree that we are in a state of perpetual conflict, i.e. the war on drugs,war on terror, invasion of iraq and afghanistan, etc., are all indicative of this. Hardt and Negri write a lot about in the War section of Multitude, and it seems to me to be pretty right on.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My HS-age daughter is reading 1984 now and we were talking about it the other day. In my youth I remember noticing how during the Cold War the conflict kept shifting from US & China vs Soviets, then US-Soviets vs China, then Soviets-China vs US, etc. Each was held up as the reason why Americans must sacrifice, why the government needs more power, etc.

 

I agree that the "war on terror" and "war on drugs" and "war for oil" have pretty well usurped that function. But where our government has gone Big Brother one better is that Winston Smith lived in a world of economic depression, all gray and bleak....everyone was poor. The people suffered economically AND had their rights & humanity trampled. Our government (via massive budget and trade deficits and the all-volunteer army that recruits from those with few real job prospects) has managed to make our "wars" relatively painless for the vast majority of the US. So we are even LESS likely to rise up against their encroachment on our liberties, because, "Hey, maybe my phone is bugged but at least I have my big-screen TV."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
... So we are even LESS likely to rise up against their encroachment on our liberties, because, "Hey, maybe my phone is bugged but at least I have my big-screen TV."

Yes, our big TV that keeps constant surveillance on us.

 

But really, I agree that we are headed towards such a society... just very slowly. Slowly enough that we won't know it till its too late, most likely. My suggestion: get a job with the party ahead of time -- it'd be interesting to be one of the thought police.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Brazil" (the movie) is a much better picture of a dystopian world than 1984 was (abliet not as influential or groundbreaking). It's more likely for you to be fucked by a massive, totallitarian, and incompetent bureaucracy than that a government will be actively and intentionally malovent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i read 1984 it has a good meaning but it has a lot of pointless chapters like the 58pages that explain the little red book. i think our govt. has taken steps towards a orwellian society, but nothing close to what orwell actually talks about in the book, and that type of a society is far far away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my underlining went away. oh well

 

ADVANTAGE THREE: ORWELL

A. BY UNILATERALLY ALLOWING ILLEGAL WIRE TAPS, BUSH HAS CREATED AN ORWELLIAN SOCIETY.

COHN, DECEMBER 26, 2005 [Marjorie, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, executive vice president of the National Lawyers Guild, “Big Brother Bush is Listening,” Trouthout.org, < http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/122605I.shtml> ]

George Orwell's book "1984" was first published during the heyday of McCarthyism in 1949. In the society Orwell described, everyone was under surveillance by the authorities. The people were constantly reminded of this by the phrase, "Big Brother is watching you."

During the McCarthy period, in an effort to eradicate the perceived threat of communism, the government engaged in widespread illegal surveillance to threaten and silence anyone who had an unorthodox political viewpoint. Many people were jailed, blacklisted and lost their jobs. Thousands of lives were shattered as the FBI engaged in "red-baiting."

Although Orwell's allegory was aimed at communism, it was the United States government that initiated COINTELPRO, designed by its own terms to "disrupt, misdirect, discredit and otherwise neutralize" political and activist groups. In the 1960s, for example, the FBI targeted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a program called "Racial Matters." King's campaign to register African-American voters in the South raised the hackles of the FBI, which disingenuously claimed King's organization was being infiltrated by communists. In fact, the FBI was really concerned that King's civil rights campaign, and particularly his opposition to the Vietnam War, "represented a clear threat to the established order of the US." The FBI went after King with a vengeance, wiretapping his telephones and securing very personal information which it used to try to drive him to divorce and suicide, and to discredit him.

In response to the excesses of COINTELPRO, a congressional committee chaired by Senator Frank Church, a Democrat from Idaho, conducted an investigation of activities of the domestic intelligence agencies in the 1950's, 1960's and early 1970's. Congress established guidelines to regulate FBI activity in foreign and domestic intelligence-gathering. Reacting against President Richard Nixon's assertion of unchecked presidential power, Congress enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 1978, to regulate electronic surveillance, while at the same time protecting national security.

FISA established a secret court to consider applications by the government for wiretap orders. It specifically created only one exception for the president to conduct electronic surveillance without a warrant. For that exception to apply, the Attorney General must certify under oath that the communications to be monitored will be exclusively between foreign powers, and that there is no substantial likelihood that a United States person will be overheard.

FISA allows the Attorney General to engage in wiretapping in emergency situations without a prior judicial order provided he or she applies for one within 72 hours after initiating the surveillance. And FISA specifically covers warrantless wiretaps during wartime; it limits them to the first 15 days after war is declared. Since 1978, the court has granted about 19,000 warrants and only turned down five.

Nevertheless, in spite of FISA's streamlined procedure for allowing lawful surveillance, Bush has sidelined the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In 2002, he signed an executive order that authorizes the National Security Agency to wiretap people within the United States with no judicial review. It is estimated that the NSA has eavesdropped on thousands of private conversations in the last three years. Additionally, the NSA has combed through large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States. It has thus collected vast personal information that has nothing to do with national security.

In the wake of the outcry after the New York Times broke the story of Bush's secret surveillance, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales cited Congress's authorization of the use of force the day after the September 11 terrorist attacks as justification for the program. But the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) only permits the president to use "necessary and appropriate force" against "nations, organizations, or persons" that "planned, authorized, committed, or aided" the 9/11 attacks, or that "harbored such persons."

That license to use appropriate force does not authorize the government to spy on people in the United States without a warrant. Indeed, several congresspersons who voted for the AUMF say they only intended to grant the president authority to invade Afghanistan, not to conduct unbridled electronic surveillance of people in the United States.

Tom Daschle, a former Democratic senator from South Dakota, was Senate majority leader when Congress passed AUMF. He helped negotiate the law with the White House counsel's office. "I can state categorically that the subject of warrantless wiretaps of American citizens never came up," Dashcle said. "I did not and never would have supported giving authority to the president for such wiretaps. I am also confident that the 98 senators who voted in favor of authorization of force against al Qaeda did not believe that they were also voting for warrantless domestic surveillance."

In fact, Daschle revealed that Congress turned down White House proposals both to authorize the use of military force to "deter and pre-empt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States," and to authorize the use of appropriate force "in the United States."

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., described Bush's spying program as an "arrogant usurpation of power." He said, "The president is not above the law; he is not King George." Senator Russ Feingold, D-Wis., agreed: "He is the president, not a king," Feingold noted.

Senator Arlen Specter, R-Pa., Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said such behavior by the executive branch "can't be condoned." He declared on the Senate floor, "That's wrong, clearly and categorically wrong. This will be a matter for oversight by the Judiciary committee as soon as we can get to it in the new year - a very, very high priority item."

The spying revelation also influenced the Senate vote on the renewal of the USA Patriot Act. It swayed New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer's decision. "Today's revelation that the government listened in on thousands of phone conversations without getting a warrant is shocking and has greatly influenced my vote," Schumer said. "Today's revelation makes it very clear that we have to be very careful - very careful."

In a stunning blow against Bush, who had hoped several provisions of the Patriot Act would be made permanent, Congress extended the Patriot Act for only five weeks just before it recessed for the holidays.

It is not just congresspersons who are outraged at Bush's secret surveillance. US District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the FISA court, has resigned. Robertson, selected by former Chief Justice William Rehnquist to serve on the FISA court, reportedly expressed deep concern that Bush's program is legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work, according to the Washington Post.

Besides the NSA program, the American Civil Liberties Union has discovered through a Freedom of Information request that counter-terrorism agents at the FBI have conducted extensive surveillance of such groups as the Vegan Community Project, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and a Catholic Workers group the FBI accuses of having a "semi-communist ideology." Red-baiting is once again alive and well in America.

In 1975, Senator Frank Church said of the NSA, "That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide." Church worried about the capacity of "this agency and all agencies that possess this technology" to "make tyranny total in America."

George W. Bush has fulfilled the prophesies of both George Orwell and Frank Church - with a vengeance. But neither Orwell nor Church could have foreseen the technological developments that enable Bush's large ears to penetrate our most intimate conversations.

The real motivation underlying Bush's unprecedented assertion of executive power was revealed by Dick Cheney: "Watergate and a lot of the things around Watergate and Vietnam, both during the 1970's, served, I think, to erode the authority I think the president needs to be effective, especially in the national security area. The President of the United States needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired."

Bush has gone far beyond what the Constitution authorizes, however. Only Congress has the power to make laws. Congress has not authorized the president to suspend the law. And FISA makes it a crime, punishable by up to five years in jail, for the executive to conduct a wiretap without statutory authorization.

 

B. ORWELLIAN SOCIETY IS LITERALLY THE WORST IMPACT IMAGINABLE. ANY REASON FOR LIVING CEASES TO EXIST. ANY OTHER IMPACT IS PEANUTS COMPARED TO THIS.

ORWELL 49[ George, 1984, Part 3, Chapter 3, published 1949, online at: http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/20/]

Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery is torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always -- do not forget this, Winston -- always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever.'

He paused as though he expected Winston to speak. Winston had tried to shrink back into the surface of the bed again. He could not say anything. His heart seemed to be frozen. O'Brien went on:

'And remember that it is for ever. The face will always be there to be stamped upon. The heretic, the enemy of society, will always be there, so that he can be defeated and humiliated over again. Everything that you have undergone since you have been in our hands -- all that will continue, and worse. The espionage, the betrayals, the arrests, the tortures, the executions, the disappearances will never cease. It will be a world of terror as much as a world of triumph. The more the Party is powerful, the less it will be tolerant: the weaker the opposition, the tighter the despotism. Goldstein and his heresies will live for ever. Every day, at every moment, they will be defeated, discredited, ridiculed, spat upon and yet they will always survive. This drama that I have played out with you during seven years will be played out over and over again generation after generation, always in subtler forms. Always we shall have the heretic here at our mercy, screaming with pain, broken up, contemptible -- and in the end utterly penitent, saved from himself, crawling to our feet of his own accord. That is the world that we are preparing, Winston. A world of victory after victory, triumph after triumph after triumph: an endless pressing, pressing, pressing upon the nerve of power. You are beginning, I can see, to realize what that world will be like. But in the end you will do more than understand it. You will accept it, welcome it, become part of it.'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i haven't read the book, but i would agree that we are in a state of perpetual conflict, i.e. the war on drugs,war on terror, invasion of iraq and afghanistan, etc., are all indicative of this. Hardt and Negri write a lot about in the War section of Multitude, and it seems to me to be pretty right on.

Hardt and Negri are hackasses. You should have said Giorgio Agamben wrote alot about that I think HE was right on. Or Carl Schmitt or anyone you please it doesn't really matter the point is, i challenge you to show me something original/not retarded about Hardt & Negri.

  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is Ficticious Literature allowed as evidence?

 

1984 is fiction, yes, but Cohn is a law professor, and she says that bush's program is fulfilling the prophecies of George Orwell with a veangance (i.e. orwellian society). What better example of an orwellian society than the one orwell writes about? It doesnt matter that its fiction, since our well qualified link says thats what we are becoming.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to actually address the question, yes it is allowed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, our big TV that keeps constant surveillance on us.

 

But really, I agree that we are headed towards such a society... just very slowly. Slowly enough that we won't know it till its too late, most likely. My suggestion: get a job with the party ahead of time -- it'd be interesting to be one of the thought police.

There are far to many guns in the US for a totalitarian gov so unless they take away our guns which would be a big step towards an orwellian gov there will never be an orwellian society within the US. The key to the political control of big brother in the book was that either you agreed with them or you were dead they killed any threat and those attacked were never able to defend themselves. With an armed populace you would be able assainate those who had jobs important to the exsistance of the gov and the party. You would also be able to maintain a resistance group because you would be able to protect the leaders. So if what you claim about bush leading us to an orwellian society is true whether or not we have one is on the shoulders of the Democrats because the republicans will never take away our guns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hardt and Negri are hackasses. You should have said Giorgio Agamben wrote alot about that I think HE was right on. Or Carl Schmitt or anyone you please it doesn't really matter the point is, i challenge you to show me something original/not retarded about Hardt & Negri.

 

 

this has got to be one of the dumbest things I have ever heard.

 

Original concepts by Negri:

 

(1) The idea of constitutive power

 

(2) The genealogy of consciousness in his reading of spinoza

 

(3) Real subsumption

 

(4) the mass worker and the socialized worker

 

whatever, I could go on all day. If our last century was Deleuzian (and therefore deleuzo-guattarian) then this century will be negrian (which also means negrio-guattarian).

 

stop saying stupid things just because all you have read (and maybe not even this much) is Empire.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What I have always wondered is how could Orwell be against communism and it seems like in some of his lit he is against socailism when he was a member of the Fabian Socailist movement.

 

 

He's against stalinism. Which just makes sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What I have always wondered is how could Orwell be against communism and it seems like in some of his lit he is against socailism when he was a member of the Fabian Socailist movement.

 

from my understanding of Orwell, although he was a socialist, he understood that there are flaws in every government and so he poked holes in most if not all governmental systems

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What I have always wondered is how could Orwell be against communism and it seems like in some of his lit he is against socailism when he was a member of the Fabian Socailist movement.

 

 

orwell was a democratic socalist, and believed that the best government was the form which Lenin promised to bring about. so he was certainly, and rightly against stalinism and communism, and he "poked holes" in the ideals of past and present governments which went against his ideals. (practically all)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...