May 11, 2009

"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 there will be no 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—forever."

#2 on the list of most depressing quotes from George Orwell's "1984."

Linked in the comments to this Metafilter post on an article titled "The masterpiece that killed George Orwell."

29 comments:

Dale said...

Orwell?!?!?!

I thought that was a current transcript from the Oval Office!

Dale said...

Let's be clear from the start:

Orwell was writing (Big Brother)about the people who today label themselves "progressives".

If the show fits . . . .

John said...

But Ann you don't understand. That face has universal health care and literacy.

Methadras said...

1984 is more relevant now than ever. It's practically the bible of the bureaucrat.

bearbee said...

Oh, oh. A lot of O's. From Orwell and orgasm to Obama and the Oval Orifice....er...Office.

Smilin' Jack said...

re the Blogger line break problem

You just have to hit the spacebar before you hit return. And curse Blogger.

As for 1984, you don't have to fear a dystopia that everyone recognizes as a dystopia. We should be much more afraid of Walden Two.

John said...

"As for 1984, you don't have to fear a dystopia that everyone recognizes as a dystopia. We should be much more afraid of Walden Two."

That is just the problem. Dystopias only look unpopular in restrospect. At the time they are happening they are wildly popular. When they end, people feel guilty and re-write history. They say that it was horrible and were forced into by "other people" when in reality they cheered the whole way. Everyone who sees a dstopia coming and tries to stop it, usually ends up dead. Afterwards, the living who either stood by and did nothing or helped it happen, conviently forget how popular it was at the time.

rhhardin said...

Orgasm ends sex, at least for men.

Phenomenologically it's a surprise ending.

Doing away with it needs to think it through more.

somefeller said...

By chance, I happened to finish re-reading 1984 this weekend. On a lark, I decided to re-read Brave New World and 1984 back-to-back. I hadn't read either of them in probably 20 years, and I thought it would be interesting to revisit those books.

I always thought 1984 was a better-written book than Brave New World, and that opinion hasn't changed. Orwell was a master of detail and imagery, and Brave New World sometimes veered too far into cartoonishness. Brave New World was funnier than I remembered it, however, and now I see it as more of a dark social satire than I did when I was a teenager. It had real laugh-out-loud moments to it, while 1984 certainly didn't.

As the article linked to points out, much of our contemporary language regarding dictatorship has been influenced by Orwell. This is all to the good, though I'd argue there has also been a bit of a debasement of language relating to Orwell's terminology. Orwell's Oceania was a horror-show of a state, and use of Orwellian terminology for non-totalitarian states and their activities (like, ahem, some people are doing here) diminishes the strength of Orwell's critique and message when properly employed. The boy who cried Orwell can be a useful term for a lot of political commentators of various stripes.

All that having been said, I think Brave New World is the more relevant book. While it's a lesser masterpiece, it's easier to see the world moving in the direction of a hedonistic therapeutic authoritarianism then one that requires constant violence, terror and poverty. That sort of state seems to burn itself out or get burned up from the outside sooner or later. Like Huxley said, "you rule with the brains and the buttocks, never with the fists".

EnigmatiCore said...

"Orgasm ends sex, at least for men."

What, you lose your tongue and fingers when you come?

Robert Cook said...

"What, you lose your tongue and fingers when you come?"
No, you lose your interest.

John Lynch said...

It's OK. Orwell was reincarnated as Christopher Hitchens. Except this time he has more fun.

blake said...

ECore FTW.

AJ Lynch said...

By 2011, the Obama policies will be obvious and total failures. Newspapers will have died as well.

By then, I hope the voters embrace candidates who deliver smaller govt with smart compassion for the weak but with far less interference in the rest of our daily lives.

bearbee said...

Fingers crossed on the electorate waking up by 2011.

Ya think that the evil oil companies might be next on Obie's list? Venezuela Seizes Assets of 60 Oil Services Companies

AJ Lynch said...

Bearbee:

I am certain Obama developed his rigid political outlook in his college days. Picture a bunch of college kids blaming everything on capitalism, the pursuit of profit, the military, racial strife, Americans and traditional Waspy religions.

So the answer is "Yes" Obama views most corporations including oil businesses as intrinsically evil.

Eli Blake said...

It's funny to see self-righteous conservatives claiming that it is progressives who represent Big Brother.

Let's see...

It's not progressives who want to censor the internet or remove books and magazines from libraries and store shelves.

It's not progressives who want to tell a woman she does not control her own reproductive choices.

It's not progressives who want to tell you that you can't grow your own medicine.

It's not progressives who want to tell you who you can and who you cannot marry.

It's not progressives who believe it is OK for the government to search your home without your knowledge, wiretap your communications without a warrant and detain an American citizen without filing charges for years.

And you nimrods claim that it is progressives that represent Big Brother? Boy, are you a bunch of pawns.

AJ Lynch said...

Eli:

It's progressives who are scared to use the term liberal.

It's liberals who tell bar owners they can't let their own paying customers smoke inside a private business.

It's liberals who want to put a GPS system in every car (not just terrorists) so liberals can levy higher taxes.

It's liberals who won't allow parents to send their kids to charter schools even when the public schools are failing.

It's liberals who won't say how much money schools need. The schools just need more and more and more.

It's liberals who refuse to admit the cost of college has skyrocketed just because the colleges spend more and more money. Instead liberals blame the govt for not shoveling even more in tax money to college students to keep up with the growing cost of college.

It's liberals who conspired with Republicans to bankrupt the federal safety nets (Medicare and Soc Security) but these same liberals want to create more and more federal boondoggles.

It's liberals who believe we are all dying to ride mass transit and keep subsidizing Amtrak to the tune of $50 per passenger.

It's liberals who spend $400 Million (in one big city) per year on HUD & homeless but won't admit it is not fixing the problem.

It's liberals like those in Massachusetts who thought it was a good idea to give cars to welfare recipients.

It's liberal thinking that gives govt workers salaries and benefits and pensions that far exceed the national average.

It's liberal thinking that takes the drivers' bridge toll money and uses it to bestow multi-million $$ grants on private companies and for so-called economic development pet projects.

It's liberals who decide we should stop using the term "terrorist" and say "man-caused disasters".

It's liberals who decide illegal immigrants are now "undocumented workers".

I don't make this stuff up. Should I go on?

ElcubanitoKC said...

Eli, show examples, I dare you.

John said...

"It's not progressives who want to censor the internet or remove books and magazines from libraries and store shelves."


Yes it is. Progressive want to implement the fairness doctrine and local ownership rules to control the content of radio broadcasts and want to apply McCain Feingold to the internet to control political speech. Further, progressive support hate speech legislation to criticize offensive speech. Progressives in control of Canada and the UK have effectively outlawed objectionable poltical speech.

"It's not progressives who want to tell you that you can't grow your own medicine."

No, they just want to have universal government controled health care to tell you what treatments your doctor can give you. Also, progressives have long supported the FDA which tells people and their doctors what treatments they can take in the name of "safety".


"It's not progressives who want to tell you who you can and who you cannot marry."

No, but their President does. Obama is a long time opponent of gay marriage. He attended church every Sunday for 20 years and has stated on numerous occasions that marriage is a union of a man and a woman.

"It's not progressives who believe it is OK for the government to search your home without your knowledge, wiretap your communications without a warrant and detain an American citizen without filing charges for years."

First, their President does. He has no plans to release many of the people at GUITMO and voted to renew FISA and is now using it. Further, progressives do think the government should have the power to go through your garbage, monitor the number of miles you drive in your car, tell you what foods you can and cannot eat in a restaurant (transfat bans) and if you can smoke in your own home.

Progressives want the government to control what you can and cannot eat, what healthcare you get, what car you can drive, what you can and cannot throw away, what you can set your theormostat to, how often you can travel(UK wants to give everyone a carbon ration that you would use to buy things like train and plane tickets), and nearly every aspect of your life outside of aborotion I guess.

MnMark said...

Both liberals and conservatives have some things they believe government ought to regulate. But the party of Big Government, the party that believes that government management of our lives is going to improve things, is the liberal party. And it is much more likely that the party that sees Big Government as the solution is the party that would turn into Big Brother.

I think this is a pretty good description of the basic moral worldview of progressives: "we will throw away the traditional religious and social restrictions on sexual behavior. You will be able to engage in all the licentious sex you want, freed of traditional limitations. No perversion will be off limits. Abort babies at your convenience. Flaunt homosexuality in public - heck, we'll even let homosexuals "marry". But that is the only sphere of human activity where we will grant you unqualified freedom. Beyond that, everything important - speech, self-defense, money you earn, how you raise and educate your children, what you eat or smoke -- all of this will be fair game for us to manage as we see fit. You can have whatever freedom is left over in these areas after we are done taking what we want."

It's progressives that are outlawing an emotion ("hate"). It's progressives that want the populace disarmed. It's progressives who founded the Soviet Union, communist China, communist Cuba, communist North Korea, and so on. On the other hand it's American traditionalist conservatives who uphold the Founding Fathers' principles of limited government, individual liberty, the right to keep and bear arms, the rights of free speech and free association (a right completely destroyed by progressives) and so on. Progressives want to move away from what the Founders gave us ; freedom is not good enough for them because it doesn't shape the world the way they think it should be shaped.

So yes, progressives are much more likely to be the party of Big Brother than traditionalist American conservatives who look back to the Founders for guidance.

Jen said...

rhhardin said, "Orgasm ends sex, at least for men."

I think that just about says it all right there.

Elliott A said...

If you thought 1984 was a worthwhile/important read, everyone must read "We" by Russian author "Eugene Zamiatin, without which, Orwell would not have written "1984". Please read the forward to "1984".
Unfortunately, the only model these people had for future dictatorships was the Soviet Union. Yet, their brilliance saw our current scourges of political correctness and creeping socialism pretty clearly.

John Burgess said...

Robert Cook: Speak for yourself.

Jen: We've obviously not met.

Nihimon said...

Shouldn't there be an "Obama" tag too?

dick said...

I thought the link at the end of the article was interesting - the top 10 psychological movies. Would never have guessed what they consider #1 - I would have made the #2 movie #1.

Jen said...

John Burgess:

OBVIOUSLY!

Revenant said...

It's not progressives who want to censor the internet or remove books and magazines from libraries and store shelves.

You mean it isn't just the progressives who want to do those things, presumably.

Revenant said...

Everyone who sees a dstopia coming and tries to stop it, usually ends up dead.

I have to disagree with you, there. Under Wilson and FDR the United States flirted with fascism and totalitarianism, but we turned away in time. The United Kingdom similarly avoided, or at least delayed, the seemingly inevitable onset of totalitarianism.