Wikileaks Founder Accused of Rape

This story all too perfectly captures the point I was trying to make in my previous article about 1984 and Brave New World. Last night SMH published an article stating that Julian Assange had had a warrant issued for his arrest in Sweden after being accused of rape. Not 24 hours later, the story now says that the cheif Prosecutor is no longer looking for him, and he no longer has a warrant for his arrest.

Interesting no?

Wikileaks are about to release another 15,000 wires about the Afghanistan war within the next couple of weeks; The Pentagon are terrified of what will be revealed in these wires (clearly being more important than the other 77,000 already leaked a few weeks ago), and are trying to do anything they can to stop it from happening.

So to just revist the idea presented in my previous article – Someone like Julian Assange will never be distracted by TV like Survivor, Biggest Loser, Desperate Housewives etc. He will never find popular entertainment and socially acceptable drugs and games of chance to be so desirable and distracting so as to stop him from what he does. The masses may eat it up and stay happily locked into their social circumstances, but the people who make a mess of the ruling class; People like Julian Assange – they will not.

So, how do you control people like Julian Assange? How do you stop people who reveal truths to the other non ruling classes? Easy. Prison. How do you get him there? Any way you can.

And this is where 1984 comes in to its own. You know that every time he flies they know exactly where he is – he has to check in of course, and no doubt government systems will be monitoring his movements. You know they can’t just kidnap him – that would create too much negative press (and destroy the image of justice and moral righteousness that *our* government has). No, just as described in 1984, he has to be done for a real crime – preferrably something which will turn the population against him. And then, during his inprisonment, he has to come around to voluntarily giving up his ways, and “loving big brother”.

That is the only way to maintain control of people like Julian Assange and the small percentage of the population who think he is making our world a better place. You have to use Julian against them and turn them against him – the thinking/critical/political percentage of the population need to see Julian change his ways and apologise for all the harm he did. He needs to undermine his own work, because no one else can do it nearly as effectively as he can.

Luckily for us, we still have a multi-national world. Just because he has pissed off the US Government doesn’t mean every country hates him…

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Huxley’s Dystopia vs Orwell’s Dystopia – SotD #5

orwells 1984 vs huxleys brave new world comic

I have stumbled upon this comic a couple of times now, and I really do enjoy seeing it every time. I don’t completely agree with the conclusion it draws – that in some way Aldous Huxley is right, and George Orwell wasn’t – I think they both had incredibly insightful and prescient warnings in each of their books. They just have different angles on the same thing…

Without a doubt it is easy to look around our society and see incredibly frightening elements of each novel in plain sight. Whether it be the thousands of surveillance cameras scattered throughout every public area, or the constant distraction of modern ‘entertainment’, it is easy to find plenty of evidence FOR either one of the authors. Students for an Orwellian Society do this very well in favour of Orwell.

Very recently in fact I read this article on Boing Boing:

TSA screeners are learning to recognize set of secret, forbidden facial expressions. If your face slips into one of these during a TSA inspection, you will be taken off and given a thorough, secondary screening

They then made a frightening comparison to Orwell’s description of Facecrime in 1984.

…to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called. (Nineteen Eighty-Four, Part 1, Chapter 5)

What I really want to point out in this piece though, is that this comic seems to forget, or miss one major point about 1984 – the book was about the members of the ministry. It constantly referred to the ‘proles’, but essentially had no contact with them. I remember when I first read the book as a naive teenager who didn’t understand what ‘Prole’ meant, I thought they were some sort of underclass of people, much the way slaves were once thought of. When I found out the proles were the working class, I had to go back and re-read it!!

1984 is about the Upper Class vs the Ruling Class. Brave New World is about the Working Class. They are describing different classes, different groups of people, and different forms of control. And they are both right.

1984 doesn’t hide this fact at all, and most of the book is spent showing how the Proles are the only chance that the Upper Class have of over throwing the dictatorial Ruling Class that have entrenched themselves…

One scene where Winston is walking amongst the proles will always stick in my mind. He sees a group of proles together, clearly excited – “It was obviously some serious piece of news that they were reading” – Winston got excited, thinking that the Proles were getting worked up over politics, or something which mattered, only to find out that they were a group of people looking at the lottery numbers.

1984’s warning  is not in competition with Brave New Worlds warning – it is in TANDEM. The proles – the working class – the people who are happy with an average life and who don’t really care about politics, don’t really care about why we go to war, or what motivates people in power – they are easily ‘controlled’ – that is, you give them enough to do, enough pleasure, enough hope, and they will be happy. They will stay in their place. Both books make the same point.

Brave New World is all about the proles and how easily people are kept slaves to their own desires. 1984 is all about the elite – the thinkers, the activists…the people who UNDERSTAND the problem – and how these people are controlled. Thinkers and activists don’t watch television. They don’t play the lottery. They don’t read Horoscopes. But they do fear being singled out when travelling and detained for long periods, with threat of being put in prison. They do fear being declared a terrorist. They fear losing the ability to be informed.

I think Huxley was absolutely right with his warning, and his vision of society is definitely very close to how we live, and where we are going. The average person really doesn’t care, and is happy with their life. I’m glad we have something closer to Brave New World for the working class than what was pictured in 1984 for the Proles.

AND

I think Orwell was absolutely right with his warning, and his vision of how the top 0.1% power brokers on earth control the next 10-20% of power is incredibly insightful. Most of the population may not care about government censorship, increasing surveillance, forfeit of freedoms etc because it won’t impact on their day to day inane lifestyles – but the people who fear for the ongoing freedoms, the people who understand what one loss of freedom at a time may mean – they are being kept in perpetual fear of what our governments are getting away with.

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