George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, in which the all-powerful party led by ‘Big Brother’ controls every aspect of citizens lives, was written as a warning to his readers. As CliffNotes explains:
Orwell wanted to be certain that the kind of future presented in the novel should never come to pass, even though the practices that contribute to the development of such a state were abundantly present in his time.
Inevitably, what he predicted has come to pass and it is affecting all our lives. I also see signs that another dystopian novel, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, is beginning to come true.
Earlier in the year, we became aware of the existence of sensitivity readers. For example, if anything intended for publication does not comply with what the trans activists believe, they change it. Now they are trawling through published works and doing the same. The first author targeted that came to wide public attention was Roald Dahl, as his classic children’s novels were rummaged through for offending words and phrases. In Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Oompa-Loompas were changed to “small people” and Fantastic Mr. Fox’s three sons were changed to three daughters. This is what Winston – the main character in 1984 – had to do for the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth: he had to rewrite historical documents so that they matched the constantly changing party line.
Dahl’s books are for children, and it suggests that those driving this agenda believe that getting this ‘new content’ into children’s brains at an early age will ensure they will conform to the latest thinking and become what those in power want them to become. This is not unlike Aldous Huxley’s vision in Brave New World. Huxley described a dystopian future where children were brainwashed as babies into thinking whatever the leadership wanted them to think. Children were given flowers and books to hold and then they would be given an electric shock to ensure they developed an “instinctive hatred of books and flowers” and become the good little workers the state wanted. We are seeing a very mild form of this, but if this gets worse then children will have less choice as to what they can believe, think or enjoy.
Thoughtcrime is another of Orwell’s conjectures that has come true. When I first read 1984, I would never have thought that this made up word would be taken seriously; nobody should have the right to ask what you are thinking. Obviously, nobody can read your mind and surely you could not be arrested simply for thinking? However, I was dead wrong. A woman was arrested recently for silently praying in her head and, extraordinarily, prosecutors were asked to provide evidence of her ‘thoughtcrime’. Needless to say, they did not have any. But knowing that we can now be accused of, essentially, thinking the wrong thoughts is a worrying development. Freedom of speech is already under threat, but this goes beyond free speech. This is about free thought. Everybody should have a right to think what they want, and they should not feel obliged or forced to express certain beliefs or only think certain thoughts.
It is hard to understand why we are entering a world where most of Orwell’s predictions are becoming real and we are beginning to see Huxley’s predictions become real too. Worryingly, we are heading in that direction and, with some exceptions such as the Free Speech Union, few people seem to be concerned. Nothing good is going to come from this and it is making the world a more dangerous place in which to live. I want to live my life how my parents and grandparents lived theirs and I hope other teenagers want the same. I loved 1984, but I sometimes wish now that Orwell did not write it; it seems to have become a manual and not just a novel.
Jack Watson is a 14 year-old Hull City fan. You can subscribe to his Substack newsletter, Ten Foot Tigers, here.