Absolute Power: The Fears of an All-powerful Government Since the beginning of civilization, people have constantly struggled to create the ideal form of government. The idea oaf fair, generous, and efficient regime remains a welcoming idea to this day. Thomas Jefferson once stated about his ideal government; that “a wise and frugal Government… Shall restrain men from injuring one another… Shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.
Sadly, many people today do not agree with such a claim made by a Founding Father. One group says that the government reserves the right to be more involved in our lives to promote stability and equality. Others feel that the government already invades in too many aspects of the everyday life; some actions bordering on aggressive behavior. Since the Red Scare of the sass’s, Americans have not been sold on the idea of adopting a socialist government. Novels that include Brave New World by Aloud Huxley and Nineteen-Eighty Four by George Orwell have caused abundant fear toward socialistic regimes.
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These novels contain a government that want nothing more than absolute power and will do anything to ensure that their wants are met. In Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, a government’s appetite for infinite power leads to a controlled, sheltered society. Both of these novels contain an antagonist governing body that wants nothing more than to control the populace of their society. They try to change history in order to create a sense of false happiness. In Brave New World, the World State does not acknowledge that certain events throughout history even existed, and completely erase them from the books.
Such a technique used by the government helps “to reveal ironically the inadequacies of the present… By comparing it with the past” (Forcing). Huxley satirized the modern day consumer society by creating a world in which characters have short-attention spans who think of nothing more other than events happening there and now; with absolutely no regard to the past and how certain actions may affect the future. The Resident Controller for Western Europe, Mustache Mood, explains why history is not taught to the newer generations by reciting the “beautiful and inspired saying of Our Ford’s [Henry Ford]: History is nun” (Huxley, 3, 34).
By reciting that quote, Mood explains the reason that the past remains in the past, in their case he elaborates on a time when humans raised by a mother and a father was the norm, nowadays considered old-fashioned and too traditional – a dark and immoral time. To have a social taboo such as a family would threaten the power and integrity of the World State, so by destroying the whole concept ensures that those who are in power will stay in power. The Inner Party in Rowel’s Nineteen-Eighty Four has similar views as the World
State towards history, but instead of completely obliterating history from existence, the Inner Party changes certain events to make it seem that the Party has always existed since the beginning of time. The Ministry of Truth (Miniature) has the task of and destroying and reediting them to make the Party into the hero in the situation. The protagonist Winston Smith “received referred to articles or news items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or, as the official phrase had it, to rectify’ (Orwell, 35).
His workload contains a picture of three men known by Jones, Ransom, and Rutherford. The Party “contrived a plot to prove them guilty of treason. The picture, however, because of its true location and date in relation to the Party false scenario, shows the men’s innocence” (Place). Now fully aware of the party’s wrongdoings, Winston believes that he can shed some light on the actions of the Party, despite all credibility belonging to the party. In the end, his actions were futile, as the Party arrests him and brainwashes him into one of their subjects.
The government uses the lack of love and desire in relationships to distract the populations from its wrongdoings. Brave New World contains the idea that people who have multiple casual relationships with one or more members of the opposite sex at the same time indicates sanity. Thanks to the technological advances brought on by the Bazookas fertilization process, such romance runs rampant throughout society with little to no consequences brought on by unwanted pregnancies. Humans condition newborns throughout their childhood to respond favorably towards these “romantic” advances from other peers.
During a field trip to the Central London Hatchery, students were directed to bring their attention to a game hat “two children, a little boy of about seven and a little girl who might have been a year older, were playing… A rudimentary sexual game” (Huxley, 31). John the Savage, the eighteen-year old Native American from the reservation, has the curse of absorbing any belief and taking it as fact. Once first introduced to the idea of strictly impure relationships, he did not want have anything to do with them.
However, Lenin proved to be a force to be reckoned with. John has to deal with the temptation brought on by “the sin of wantonly bedding Lenin than by the idea of boning her,” which he truly desired (Horal). Such pressures brought on by the government and society proved to be too much for John to handle; he promptly commits suicide shortly after the climax of the novel. While the society in Brave New World uses fornication strictly for pleasure, the populace in Nineteen-Eighty Four views sex as immoral; used solely for reproduction.
The Party has tried for years to remove the feelings and intimacy in such relationships through various forms of propaganda. Julia, Winston femme fatal, belonged to the Junior Anti-Sex League, whose mission included removing romance ND connection between two partners by encouraging their members to avoid such activities. At first, Winston does not trust Julia due to her red sash, indicating her membership in the league. He later gains her trust when Julia rips off the “scarlet sash of the Junior Anti-Sex League and flings it on too bough” (Orwell, 101).
At that moment Winston realizes that trusting Julia will not endanger him or her. Such an action indicates that these two characters progress the story, with the commonality that “projected political fiction [works] being plotted around an unlawful erotic legislations” (Horal). From this point onward, Winston and Julia commit adultery and other crimes against the Party, planning to shed light on the horrible actions that have been made for decades. However, the idea of “what goes around, comes undergo many torture and brainwashing techniques, resulting in their conversion to loyal members of the Party.
Both of these novels include a motif of technology used by the government on the populace. The use of these new technologies by the governing bodies creates and influences people to respect their place in society. The Bazookas process and Neo- Bolivian conditioning in Brave New World allows the World State to create physically and mentally loyal subjects. As the students advance through their field trip, the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning explain the idea behind Neo-Bolivian conditioning by demonstrating a group of Delta, Gamma, and Epsilon children undergoing conditioning to avoid books and flowers.
When the children reach the books and flowers to satisfy their curiosity, horns, sirens, and an electrical shock initiate as the unconditional responses. The Director later explains that the children will “grow up with… N ‘instinctive’ hatred of books and flowers. Reflexes unalterably conditioned. They’ll be safe from books and botany all their lives” (Huxley, 22). Despite the fact that the population feel free and able to do whatever they please, the World State keeps a tight hold on the thoughts of its subjects.
They do not want a person to form their own beliefs, which explains why the high-tech consumer society has multiple goods to keep the minds of the masses occupied. The only form of religion that exists teaches that Henry Ford is the father of their world; society places him in an immortal position. Huxley argues that “applied science… Has intensified standardized mediocrity and the loss of attention to intellectual and spiritual values” (Barnum). The World State uses such an idea to their advantage, as they use science and technological advances to feed the population mind-numbing goods.
People do not question the World State because of this; they feel that this they are living the best life that they could possibly live. Orwell holds technology in a negative light on how the Party uses it as leverage against its members. The use of the telecasters with cameras and microphones in very room in every building, with the warning and motto of the Party “Big Brother is watching you” (Orwell, 5) constantly displayed. The people know that microphones and cameras are embedded into the telescopes; the motto Just a means of instilling fear.
The Party often hopes that the sight of the motto overwhelms the population into confessing any crimes against the Party. Orwell exposes the techniques used by totalitarianism regimes, which may not have even existed at all. Arguably, “in Rowel’s eyes, [totalitarianism] was better characterized as an extreme relativism or even nihilism” (Dawn). Orwell criticizes the imaginary power totalitarian governments create for themselves. Winston often questioned if Big Brother even existed after all, or if he merely embodies a propaganda technique used by the Party to make sure that everyone stays in line.