Sunday, September 03, 2006

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Having just finished the George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four in the bath, I'm not going to list it with my favourite books. It's more important than whether I liked it or not.

This was my first time through the book as I never read a page of it in high school when my class mates studied the novel for their finals. That's probably a good thing because I was too thick at 16. And had I read it as a teenager, I may not have picked it up now.

One can't read Nineteen Eighty-Four in England without thinking of Britain under New Labour. English Socialism "Ingsoc" strives not only to define the facts, but to tell us the correct way to think about them. An important plank in all this is to remove from the language the vocabulary to voice contrary thoughts.

In my opinion, any discussion of government intrusion into our lives from identity cards to bugging devices in wheelie bins should be informed by this book. The readiness of the public to accept such invasion of privacy reminds me of Benjamin Franklin - "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

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