George Orwell 1984
George Orwell managed to write a fictional book about our present day society and how the government tells us we are free to do whatever, as long as we abide by the countries laws, which in itself is slavery. George Orwell incorporates the ideas of McDonaldization, where our society possess the qualities of a fast food restaurant. There are four primary components of McDonaldization; efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control. Efficiency is choosing the optimal method for completing a task.
For our government, this would be a way to get a bill passed the fastest or finding a way to keep the people from doing a thing they feel is out of the question. Calculability is the idea that having a large amount of product delivered in a short amount of time is the same as a high quality product. This is the same as the businesses in our society doing things as fast as they can to get more product out, and jacking up the prices to make a high profit off of these low end products.
Predictability means that no matter where a person goes, they will receive the same service and receive the same product every time when interacting with a McDonaldized organization. Lastly, control is standardized and uniform employees. This is like replacing all of our employees with computer based machines, because they are “more efficient”. As you can see, our society is becoming greatly McDonaldized. The government has changed so greatly of the past 100 years, that most people don’t remember or even know what it was like back then, or it is simply the fact that the government has made the past seem like such a orror, that it has been ingrained into peoples minds that we are better off now. How could you tell how much of it was lies? It might be true that the average human being was better off now than he had been before the Revolution.
The only evidence to the contrary was the mute protest in your own bones, the instinctive feeling that the conditions you lived in were intolerable and that at some other time they must have been different. It struck him that the truly characteristic thing about modern life was not its cruelty and insecurity, but simply its bareness, its dinginess, its listlessness.
Life if you looked about you, bore no resemblance not only to the lies that streamed out of the telescreens, but even to the ideals that the Party was trying to achieve. (1984, Orwell, p 63) Winston realizes that the past had been different that what the Party (government) was telling everyone. They had made up lies about the past just to make the future seem like a blessing. Sure, they had no privacy because of the telescreens, but they had so much more to equal it out. This is just like when the police tap a phone, or subpoena a person’s text messages, just to cross reference an alibi.
This is an invasion of privacy and they have no right. Now, the Senate Intelligence Committee is looking into some allegations by two former linguists, whom are saying that the Super Secret National Security Agency routinely eavesdropped on telephone calls of American military officers, journalists, and aid workers. It is being said that they even heard such highly private conversations as them having “phone sex” and didn’t think anything was being done wrong. (Truthout, 2008) The government has taken this freedom thing that they have so generously given us, and is making it into slavery.
After being captured and sent to the Ministry of Love, Winston soon learned that torture went a lot farther than just the pain of being beaten. Much like they were teaching at Fort Huachuca, they knew how to torture people. When his nerves were in rags after hours of questioning, even the appeal of bullying could reduce him to tears. In the end the nagging voices broke him down more completely than the boots and fists of the guards. He became simply a mouth that uttered, a hand that signed whatever was demanded of him.
His sole concern was to find out what they wanted him to confess, and confess it quickly, before the bullying started anew. Winston was forced to do and say so many things that weren’t true just because they told him to. He was so afraid of being beaten over and over again that he would have done anything to make it stop. Is this what our military is being taught now? Why else would they arrest a priest for protesting torture training at Fort Huachuca in Arizona? An article on truth-out. org talks about how Louis Vitale, 75, a Franciscan priest, and Steve Kelly, 58, a Jesuit priest, were sentenced to five months each in federal prison for attempting to deliver a letter opposing the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca in Arizona.
Both priests were taken directly into jail from the courtroom after sentencing. So just because they were against what the government was teaching, they were arrested and sent to prison. Where’s the justice in that? The government gave us the freedom to be their slaves. As if it isn’t enough that they are taking this much control over us, but now the idea of the RFID tags is being introduced. RFID, or radiofrequency identification are miniscule microchips that have been shrank down to the size of a grit of sand.
They can be attached to anything such as a sweater, which could then be traced to the credit card you bought it with, which in turn could track you to when you return. It can act like a “minority report” for the police as a trendy method of constant “cradle-to-grave” surveillance. This would mean absolutely no privacy in anything we do. We would be constantly watched, and could be questioned about anything we do. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard.
There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the times. But at any rate, they could plug into your wire at any time they wanted to. You had to live- did live, from habit that became instinct- on the assumption that every sound you made was overheard and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized. (1984, Orwell, p 7) Do we really want to live like this?
Like we have to be cautious about everything we say and do because we know that someone is always watching. The only reason for this chip would be so that the government could control us. They would push us so far that we would be afraid to do anything, because we would know the consequences of wrong doing in our own homes. In itself, our freedom would be our own form of slavery. In conclusion, the government has taken this whole “you are free to do as you please as long as you abide by the laws” thing to a whole new level.
Sure, we have the freedom of speech and the freedom to protest and all of the other freedoms that they amendment allows, but how “free” can we really be within those guidelines. That priest was arrested for his freedom of speech, our freedom of privacy would be taken away by the chips and also by the government eavesdropping on our private phone calls. This so called freedom that we have been given, doesn’t seem so free after you take away the pretty words of the constitution. Seems more like slavery in a new form; the McDonaldized form.