1984 - Socialism


Eric Blair, known to his readers under the English pen name of George Orwell (1903-1950), was a man familiar with the roles of government. He served with the British government in Burma under the Indian Imperial Police. Returning to his European roots, Orwell also sided with the Spanish government as he fought with the Loyalists in their civil war. It wasn?t until he wrote professionally as a political writer that Orwell?s ideas of government were fully expressed. Orwell, in his political writings, was extremely contradictory. He was a critic of communism, yet he also considered himself a Socialist. He had hatred toward intellectuals, but he too was a political writer. It is only natural that a man of paradoxes would write of them. In his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell develops his Socialist Utopia as a paradoxical society that ultimately succeeds rather than flounders.
The society that Orwell creates is full of paradoxes that existed all the way up to its origins. The founders of the new lifestyle, known as the revolutionaries of the mid-twentieth century, leads the public to believe false intentions of revolt, as these purposes soon become exact opposite outcomes. The original designers seek to create an ideal social order out of England that is beneficial to all. Marin Kessler, a literary essayist, agrees that these "utopians?had hoped to construct a perfect society in which men and women could enjoy that ultimate degree of happiness which, it was implied denied through the folly and wickedness of their present rulers" (304). Besides being founded on the concept of a Utopia, the revolutionaries believe they could achieve their goals through Ingsoc, a variation on English socialism (named justly). The main concept of socialism is its stress on social equality, so much that the government distributes any possessions equally. In reality, this policy sought to destroy individual property, instead emphasizing collective property, owned by the government for the ultimate purpose of equality. Socialism is also often considered the politics of the working class and lower régime, since they actually benefited from it. Although the founders claim to create a socialist Utopia with its respective freedoms, the society of Oceania they create is exactly the opposite of their original principles. O?Brien, a major contributor to the government organization known as the Party, describes the contradictory characteristics of the world power of Oceania, "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?The old civilizations claimed they were founded upon love and justice. Ours is founded upon hatred" (Nineteen Eighty-Four 220). Oceania is anything but socialist; it is rather a totalitarian empire. The Party is all-powerful in this nation and limits the people?s own power as well. Oceania?s people are oppressed by the government that is supposed to be protecting them and their rights. "Orwell foresaw the approach of a totalist society from which faith, custom, common sense, justice, order, freedom, brotherhood, art, literature, and even sexual love would be eradicated," declares literary critic Russell Kirk. "The new ?socialist? oligarchy would live for the intoxication of brutal power" (311). Every action and policy of the Party demonstrates its oppressiveness. The Party destroys the concept of privacy via the telescreen, an instrument used to transmit and receive images. The Party conceals the truth and only tells lies to its people through the controlled media. The Party destroys a language as it evolves English into Newspeak, a language limited in abstract ideas. The Party outlaws the act of sexual intercourse and procreation. The most horrific violation of natural rights is the Party?s prohibition of individuality. Although there are no written laws in Oceania, "there is only one true offense: opposing the Party." Socialism attempts to create a society with only one true social order, so that all members are equal parts. Oceania, on the other hand, is composed of three real class orders with the top oppressing the other two. A work entitled The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, more simply known to the Oceanic public as the book, describes the true class structure:
At the apex of the pyramid comes Big Brother. Big Brother is infallible and all-powerful?Below Big Brother comes the Inner Party, its numbers limited to six millions, or something less then two percent of the population of Oceania. Below the Inner Party comes