1984 by George Orwell: Civil Liberties

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We believe that our civil liberties should remain true to their word and never change.

However, in the novel, 1984 by George Orwell, our civil liberties are taken in a fascist government that’s successful at controlling its people. Orwell uses the novel to interpret his belief on how totalitarianism can completely diminish peoples’ civil liberties and still function well.

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Though Orwell in "1984" does predict our future to be a totalitarian society, he by no means supports their ways; he supports the beliefs of the main character Winston, a rebel in their society. By giving the government the chance to gain too much freedom against the people, they could easily maintain that power without any sort of disagreement towards the people, manipulating reality into what people believe to be a “utopia”. Thus making Orwell believe that we should not sacrifice our civil liberties by any means necessary.

In the 1984 novel, the Fascist government by the name of Ingsoc manipulates people under their submission for the sake of power. They control the past, creating it into whatever they want without members of the “party” ever reconsidering their lies. When thinking of the party, Winston thought, “The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth.” (Orwell 75). This demonstrates how Ingsoc is capable of making lies into the truth, erasing the past. People could be under the influence that something is a “fact” for years and still manage to change their opinion from the government without a second thought. People have been manipulated without consideration that they are not being lied to.

When you go into submission, nothing can be wrong if the party says it’s right. You remain as a robot that follows all commands without a second thought which is why Orwell believes that we shouldn’t sacrifice our civil liberties. Even though lies are seen as the truth, there are still people who do retaliate against them, wanting to end the party and stop their leader, Big Brother. When considering what freedom should be, Winston wrote in his diary, “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” (Orwell 81).

This demonstrates how the destruction of free will is eliminated entirely. If there is anything considered as a true fact, then we have the civil liberty to believe that. This is Orwell’s way of showing how he doesn’t want to face any lies created by the government. The more we're being lied to, the more the government is allowed to manipulate people into their submission. Orwell is using Winston’s beliefs as a way to warn people on what he believes will happen when the government is given too much power to control. Therefore, making it important to never take away our civil liberties to ensure that we can not be manipulated into the government’s submission.

Ingsoc has created a “utopia” as seen by all the people in their “superstate” called Oceania. They have created a society without any sort of flaws that could possibly deny their regulations including the ones who have sinned. When O’Brien, one of the party members was discussing the beliefs of the party to Winston, he said, “We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will.

We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of ourselves before we kill him.” (Orwell 255). This demonstrates the belief that the party has to be perfect in the sense that no one dies as a martyr; brainwashing their enemies to the point that they believe what they did was wrong and ask for death upon themselves. The government wants perfection and would stop at nothing to assure that.

Everyone faces the wills of the government, going into total submission to the point that reality can be completely altered. Anything that would be seen as impossible can be possible when under submission no matter how absurd it may be. No one is capable of overthrowing the government from its power because of how flawless it is. Orwell shows the potential of power and how with too much of it, it can never end. All of those who oppose the government disappear from their reality. Our civil liberties could completely diminish from our reality once taken away; making it impossible to retrieve them back.

Even though he completely opposed the party, Winston ends up being manipulated. When Winston gives in completely to the party, Orwell says, “He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two ginscented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

This demonstrates the change from Winston opposing the party and Big Brother to him loving Big Brother with the belief that he finally won the fight against himself. No matter how much you fight against it, you can’t help but submit. The method that Ingsoc uses to control the people has come to the point that even people with a strong belief that their methods are wrong would eventually give in. Their flawless method could conquer the world, never reverting to how it one was.

Their methods may seem like they are incapable of being successful and that there is a chance that people could revolt. However, their reality shows that without our civil liberties, we can’t stop certain powers. Orwell in 1984 demonstrates the potential of how diminishing any of our civil liberties could result in them never returning. You’ll believe that this life is a “utopia” and never escape from that reality to death.

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