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1984 – Full Movie

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Margaret Atwood called George W. Bush, the greatest threat to world peace to date! What Atwood didn't mention was that Bushco derived its power from his deliberate and well-planned attack on truth by way of language. George Orwell predicted it; his works remain the textbook example of how governments may manipulate people by first manipulating their language.

If all else fails, a totalitarian regime can merely make the telling of truth a crime. Traditionally, the names given those truths which threaten a corrupt or tyrannical state are treason or sedition. A young United States experimented with the Alien and Sedition Acts which gave President John Adams the power to imprison or deport aliens upon the mere suspicion that their activities posed a threat to the new national government.

Margaret Atwood called George W. Bush, the greatest threat to world peace to date! What Atwood didn't mention was that Bushco derived its power from his deliberate and well-planned attack on truth by way of language. George Orwell predicted it; his works remain the textbook example of how governments may manipulate people by first manipulating their language.

If all else fails, a totalitarian regime can merely make the telling of truth a crime. Traditionally, the names given those truths which threaten a corrupt or tyrannical state are treason or sedition. A young United States experimented with the Alien and Sedition Acts which gave President John Adams the power to imprison or deport aliens upon the mere suspicion that their activities posed a threat to the new national government.

To his credit, Adams made no use of them but neither did he rebuke the Congress for passing them. George W. Bush proved a greater threat. Bush had arrogated unto himself the power to 'define' the very word "terrorist"! If one were not a 'terrorist', Bush could create one by re-defining a target. Indeed –Bush assumed and asserted the power and authority to make you a 'terrorist' by merely 'deeming' you to be one!

Orwell's classic cautionary tale, 1984, describes a fascist, totalitarian government spying on its own citizens, denying reality and creating an alternate one, a state exploiting a fictional enemy so that it could wage a perpetual war. Orwell's Big Brother tried to re-write history and succeeded.

In It Can't Happen Here Sinclair Lewis described the dictatorship of Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip who might have been inspired by George W. Bush had 'he' not preceded him. In both '1984' and in Lewis' 'It Can't Happen Here', the fascist state justified the state of perpetual war, perpetual terror in order to maintain the regime in absolute power.

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The lesson of 1984 is less about the state itself than about the individual. When states are absolutely powerful, the individual ceases to exist. Philosophically, individuals robbed of the ability to exercise free will are denied person-hood; theologically, those individuals are thus robbed of their very souls. Interestingly, as real persons had been so threatened under Bush, an extremist 'right-wing' Supreme Court made of mere legal abstractions 'persons'. It was done by decree, the very worst decision since Dredd-Scott legitimized the keeping of slaves.

To his credit, Adams made no use of them but neither did he rebuke the Congress for passing them. George W. Bush proved a greater threat. He arrogated unto himself the power to 'define' the very word "terrorist"! If one were not a 'terrorist', Bush could create one by re-defining a target. Indeed –Bush assumed and asserted the power and authority to make you a 'terrorist' by merely 'deeming' you to be one!

In order to acknowledge the collapse of Soviet Communism and the failure of fascism to reemerge as a potent political force, I ditched Orwell's oppressive totalitarian state in favor of an entertainment-fueled nihilism in which dimwitted citizens frittered away their lives watching web TV and working at slightly overpaid jobs to buy worthless junk … on web TV, natch. Where Orwell envisioned endless rows of soldiers marching in perfect unison to the strains of the Two-Minute Hate, I saw a world where nations had been replaced by trading blocs and the objects of hatred were the immigrants in our midst.

–Ted Rall, Why Bush Is Addicted To Perpetual War

The images from 1984 are seared into our memories –big brother, the telescreen, the grotty bedroom, the cubicle, the memory hole, the drab gray existence, the rat cage. But 1984 is as much about language. It is more than mere sub-text. Language, in 1984, is the means by which Big Brother creates an alternate reality. It is only in the 'alternate reality' that Big Brother has power. Big Brother is the Wizard of Oz, an illusion, an image on smoke if not mirrors. If millions suddenly deny the illusion, the lies, the bullshit, Big Bro is finished. The bad news is that, like the cowardly lion, we dare not challenge the great and powerful Oz.

The most glaring use of Newspeak is the invention of what I have chosen to call "focus group phrases"! I call them that because they are invented, full cloth by consultants who most certainly know their way around a focus group. "Al Qaeda in Iraq" is just such a phrase. "911 Denier" is another. "Al Qaeda in Iraq" is designed to make a lazy populace forget that the war was begun upon black hearted lies about WMD.

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"911 Denier" is 'Orwell-speak' or 'Newspeak' designed to shift the burden of proof when it is Bush who must prove his theory of 911 –a theory for which there is not a shred of evidence –let alone proof. Anyone believing it is either a part of the plot –or stupid! The Bush administration used up several ex post facto war rationales –none of which were true! "Al Qaeda in Iraq", for example, implies the existence of a shadowy enemy that was never defined! That was by design! A real enemy is defined and can be targeted! Shadows may be summoned up whenever they are needed! 'Al Qaeda in Iraq', we can be sure, tested well.

A lazy news establishment liked it because it saves them the trouble of trouble of describing reality! Orwell understood as few have the power of language and in, 1984the "tool of power" is language. Language empowers the all-powerful party which dictates the nature and use of language. The institutions of state maintain their power by exploiting the power of language to shape the nature of thought itself. That is, in fact, the job of the protagonist, Winston Smith. Examples may be found in any study of the recent Bush administration.

The George W. Bush regime very nearly gave the game away with the use of the phrase Total Information Awareness. In response to criticism, the regime stopped using that to denote their program of widespread domestic and illegal surveillance.

Orwell is, of course, most famous for 1984 but his great essay on politics and language should also be required reading. See: Orwell: Politics and the English Language. Orwell explores how politicians explore language to accrue absolute power. Modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.

The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy. It is easier — even quicker, once you have the habit — to say In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don't have to hunt about for the words; you also don't have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious.

–George Orwell

All who have read Orwell's essay on how easily politicians debase the language for nefarious purposes have recognized in the Bush administration the very techniques that Orwell warned us about.

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The White House saw September 11 as a golden opportunity. The first catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil sparked an unprecedented case of leadership projection: desperate for protection and answers (why do they hate us? can we kill them before they kill us?), Americans wishfully compared Bush to FDR and Churchill. Approval ratings hit 92 percent. But Bush's political advisors knew that peaking early wouldn't guarantee reelection in 2004. Bush's father had been turned out of office just 20 months after the Gulf War ratcheted his score up to 911. 

The Bushies have lifted their reelection strategy straight out of "1984," and not just by creating ominous-sounding agencies like the Office ofHomeland Security, the supposedly-closed Office of Strategic Information, and a "Shadow Government". As in "1984," the Bush regime tolerates zero dissent –a two-party system in name only has been distilled to one in which only Republicans express acceptable opinions. And an absence of follow-up attacks has been met by endless alerts, advisors and empty hysterics in the name of security, most recently culminating with Tom Ridge's much-mocked color-code warning system. 

–Ted Rall, Why Bush Is Addicted To Perpetual War

To be fair, it is not only politicians but bullshit artists who have made us vulnerable to tyranny. This has been done by dumbing down the language and, thus, our ability to think critically. Until Bush, even Republican "Presidents" paid lip service to the Constitution. 

"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

—Sinclair Lewis, author of "It Can't Happen here"!

In It Can't Happen Here Sinclair Lewis showed us how it might happen here and in ways not unlike those predicted by both Lewis and Orwell. The characteristics of the fascist state so vividly described by both authors were found in abundance in Bush's fascist regime. That millions are still in denial is merely evidence that truth that is tragically denied. A quote from Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here":

"Senator Windrip has got an excellent chance to be elected President, next November, and if he is, probably his gang of buzzards will get us into some war, just to grease their insane vanity and show the world that we’re the huskiest nation going."

–It Can't Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis, page 20

Orwell and Lewis not only warned us, they predicted precisely how it would be done. As Shakespeare said: "All is true!" So –why didn't we listen? We did not listen because this nation has a fierce anti-intellectual streak which at its best makes us independent and at its worst makes us stupid!

Here's the searchable version in its entirety: George Orwell: 1984

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