April 14, 2003
Top 5 ways in which we could be in '1984'

While I am completely unable to decide what to think of the war in Iraq (the swiftness of the victory makes it much more difficult to be against the invasion (I can't say I really was in the first place (but of course random military action is also scary (but it might just be necessary and at least had some resemblance to a humanitarian invention (even if there is oil to fight over))))), one can at least step back and take a look at what the war and the new active security policies - domestic and foreign - of the american governement. IF the current situation becomes an everyday situation we would have a rather nightmarish situation on our hands.

Here are then the top 5 ways in which the new America could end up resembling Orwell's 1984:

  1. Enemies of the people permanently in the news and on the run. Osama and Saddam are the real Emanual Goldstein's of America. Evil and always on the run.
  2. A permanent state of war against shifting enemies. It remains to be seen how deep the American disenchantment with Europe runs, but clearly the American government does not really consider any country an essential ally.
  3. Random emprisonment of own citizens. The abuses of the legal system to emprison selected citizens under some other name than criminals are proving more and more popular and hard to stop. The permanent state of war provides a catch-all argument for this policy
  4. Newspeak. With the recent addition of Syria as an offender, the 'They have weapons of mass destruction' line can now plainly be seen as nothing but a line, totally unrelated to the real reasoning about the war. Combine that with the patriotic censorship in American newsmedia, and you're there.
  5. Permanent economic crisis. War is expensive. The markets have already been disappointed by the developments in Iraq - even if the war is sure to be won. It's like we always knew: There's a real crisis, not just hysteria, putting pressure on the economy.
Posted by Claus at April 14, 2003 09:00 AM
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