A Journal for Western Man




Orwell's Warning:

The Origin of Tyranny

G. Stolyarov II

Issue XIII- April 29, 2003


This essay is the third in a series designed to dissect the totalitarian mentality portrayed in George Orwell's 1984 and to draw parallels to trends in modern academia and the sociopolitical arena of today. The following is an index of previous portions of this commentary:
1. Collectivism
2. Antiprogressivism

3. Relativism
5. Popular Culture

7. Vaporization

8. The Origin of Tyranny - You are here. Read on to continue your analysis of this topic.

The Party had first manifested itself in Oceania following a hypothetical massive armed conflict between the NATO nations and the Eastern Bloc during the 1950s, which had left the infrastructures of both nations in utter disrepair, on ground unstable enough for a new radical tyranny to take root. A decade of turmoil and factional rivalries ensued, in which the masses were swept up in the most recent delusion of a "swift fix" to their torments. The dogma of Marxism, with its veneer of pseudo-compassionate sentiment for the working class, quickly proliferated among the proletarians, deceiving the uneducated into the belief that totalitarianism and regulation would result in an egalitarian paradise. Such ideological drifts were exploited by crafty intellectuals, including the now destroyed Rutherford, Jones, and Aaronson, in order to institute a transformed version of Socialism, where the need for moral justification of the oligarchy's behavior gradually fades into nothingness as the Witch Doctors obtain a firmer grasp on their ideal impression of power. Doublethink, the new elite realized, would with the passage of time erase the few inconsistencies yet visible in Ingsoc (i.e. another Newspeak abbreviation for "English Socialism", which the oligarchy had imposed due to the wish to conceal the existence in the past of such a mighty, progressive, capitalist, and civilization-spreading state as Victorian Britain, and to mask its identity as a Socialist regime, for numerous arguments in doublethink require simultaneous praise and condemnation of such an ideology, and ambiguity concerning its place in the social order is therefore most efficient to create compatibility with other Party institutions).

In the mass uprisings and "grass-roots" philosophical revolts emerged a clique of power-mongers led by the mysterious figurehead, Big Brother. He existed as a rallying point for proletarian fanatics, a technical fabrication of the Witch Doctors in order to personify the Party and create sentimental attachments to its dominance within future slaves. O'Brien admits to Smith twenty years later that the existence of Big Brother shall be perpetual, and that Big Brother possesses not the typical mortality of the individual. Symbolically, Big Brother is the Party, embodying in his entirety the lowly schemes of deception, falsification, and emotional manipulation devised for the purpose of inflicting suffering upon the persons so misled. Yet who are the ventriloquists pulling the idol's strings?

"The new aristocracy was made up for the most part of bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists, and professional politicians. These people, whose origins lay in the salaried middle class and the upper grades of the working class, had been shaped and brought together by the barren world of monopoly industry and centralized government. As compared with their opposite numbers in the past ages, they were less avaricious, less tempted by luxury, hungrier for pure power, and, above all, more conscious of what they were doing and more intent on crushing opposition. This last difference was cardinal. By comparison with that existing today, the tyrannies of the past were half-hearted and inefficient. The ruling groups were always infected to some extent by liberal ideas, and were content to leave loose ends everywhere, to regard only the overt act, and to be uninterested in what their subjects were thinking. Even the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was tolerant by modern standards. Part of the reason for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance." (p. 169) It would seem to the reader atrocious that individuals whose social positions and accomplishments indicate significant degrees of merit would strive to suffocate further such aspirations for the accumulation of merit and elevation on the part of persons extraordinarily similar in occupation and disposition of character to the emerging oligarchs. Given such conditions as well as a speck of common sense one will realize that there exists no inherent evil within the above-mentioned professions nor in the persons endeavoring to excel in them. Quite the contrary, their labors (with the exception of trade-union organizers, who should possess the right to carry out their occupations, but not the special privileges and legal exemptions they demand for the purpose of crushing free markets and consensual employment schemes), in a free world, are a necessity for the acquisition of greater knowledge, material prosperity, and sound legal statutes, all progressive developments. Their voices are those of intellect, their minds of ingenuity, their habits of diligence. If that much is self-evident, what miserable vice then incited a faction of their kind to destroy their remainder and stall progress?

Let us refer for hints to the "common ground" which Mr. Orwell had described the emerging Party officials to possess. They held a belief that a centralized, rigid establishment, looming over the remainder of existence with a monopolistic stranglehold on all activities. This is the precise antithesis of capitalism and meritocracy, where individual choices and competition are the primary determinants of the economic order and the degree of control a man or organization would possess over the available resources. A government that strives to create an epicenter for all private life and squelch personal rights is defined as a totalitarian "order", or, as we had already derived, a totalitarian chaos. The advocacy of totalitarian chaos formed the Ingsoc movement. It is of immense difficulty for proper men to imagine such a pure evil, emerging not as a result of imposing circumstances (which never in any condition inhibit an individual's free will) but rather a volitional advocacy of the retrograde by men who would have nevertheless been most prominent in a meritocratic order. Their motivations will, as suggests the next logical step, be ultimately irrational, i.e. countering their individual survival interests, as well as those of the human species. It has already been proven in multiple ways that the Party's behavior and ideology are utterly contradictory to logic. Moreover, Ingsoc concedes this and embarks on a campaign to crush rationality and objectivity. Their motives must, then, be the delusions of unreasonable fools. Yet whence precisely does their immorality emerge?

The key to the answer lies in the emotions and practices the upholding of which the Party demands, negative impulses such as fear, hatred, intolerance, inward fanaticism, outward persecution. These cannot be learned and are possessed by the ignorant man to a greater degree than by the cultured one. This is due to the fact that such experiences are yet another failed string of creations by Nature for the "survival of the species." Nature in her pristine state, unlike the moral man, knows no civility nor common courtesy, and it is her aim to assure the said "survival" at all costs, death or degradation of individual included. For this reason in a purely "natural" setting, the instinct of "species survival" mandates for a man to frequently exert force on a fellow member of his kind that his genome would be transmitted to future generations in the place of his foe's. Yet, as in all other matters, Nature had here blundered. A man's wanton destruction of another will deprive the species of valuable contributions by that particular individual and his learned skills. The primeval Wilderness, of course, does not recognize learned skills and merits of choice; hence the inherent circumstantialism of instinct and, therefore, its gene-based irrationality. Yet such mechanical schemes for action, remaining from the time of our primate ancestors and the rampant Paleolithic exchanges of slaughter and genocide, are firmly present within the ignorant man. It requires a degree of crudeness to embrace the fallacies of Marxism and the infliction of suffering as key to power. The collectivism (individual sacrifice for "the sake of a whole", truly, a contradiction in terms, for the whole is but the sum of its parts) that attempts to do harm unto fellow man possess instinctive roots. A man who had been thoroughly instructed in the science of logic and in the logic of science, genuine tools to individual and species survival, will reject such a doctrine due to its immense harms in practice. A man unexposed or unreceptive to a moral and intellectual education, however, will possess no alternative to such instinctive schemes and will choose to act upon them, for he is misled into perceiving that to do evil is virtuous, to torture is the ultimate goal, to restrict progress is valuable for the perpetuation of a status quo. Evidently, the men of such high professions as described by Mr. Orwell had been thoroughly exposed to the absolute. The only conclusion remaining is that they had been unwilling to grasp it.

The force of instinct is abominably strong within men, and it requires superb fortitude to resist its constant alternations of whispering and screaming into the mind, the id destroying the ego. For the ego to thrive and flourish a man must embrace progress and the value of his own life. For it to die, a man must submit to his emotions and inflict a mentality of self-sacrifice and the sacrifice of beings like him for an artificially designated "whole," a "group," a "society," a "Party," all arbitrary products of an instinctively collectivist perception with no resonance in the Absolute Reality. Such an obsequy, apparently, is the coward's way out... of life. The mechanisms for the individual's subjugation are from birth present within each specimen. Erudition is a prerequisite to their rejection and the crafting of a genuinely beneficial framework of action, of rational aspiration. The men who designed the Party had been presented with the opportunity to employ it for such a purpose, yet they, filled with innate animal sloth, rejected it, blocking it subconsciously from their minds and embracing the instinctive creed. Possessing the exposure but not the receptiveness to rationality, they inevitably became hostile to their academic environments due to envy (one of the impulses propagated by Mr. O'Brien), a "natural condition" that dictates for the worthless to possess an irrational loathing directed at the worthy. As years passed, their generation replaced the previous, predominantly rational academic paradigm due to time's toll upon those who had unsuccessfully partaken in their education. Certain members of the new cult of sloth, crafting an instinctive "morality" for themselves, in which power is determined by the capacity to inflict suffering, as in a primeval world exists no recognition of individual rights nor that of the need for proper decorum, and the proliferation of a genetic pattern, not self-interest, is seen as the pinnacle of virtue. In that warped idealism the craftiest among them had feigned their academic interest for the purpose of ascending to positions where they would be empowered sufficiently for a sweeping and cataclysmic series of reforms. In effect, they had become an anti-intellectual intelligentsia.

The riots of the Sixties were filled with emotional blather, primarily related to condemnations against rationality, defamations against individualism, and slander against capitalism as vile as a previous passage from Mr. Orwell had described. They were coupled with violent uprisings, originating from three innate impulses, fear, envy, and hatred. Fear is an inexplicable perception of a threat to one's welfare. Although the combating of threats is key to the Absolute Morality, the only secure manner of undertaking such endeavors is through rational evaluation and precise targeting of the menace. Instinct neglects to accomplish this. Instead it plants a crude urge within a creature, the manner of release as well as the recipient of which are unpredictable. This results in the creation of scapegoats and in the negligence of the genuine causes of human misery. This fear, both exhibited by the Party toward and directed by it against capitalism, became irrationality's tool for breeding greater irrationality and imposing its tyranny. The majority of the so-called working class, an initial backbone of the Party, had not the sophistication to realize that their enemies, in actuality, were not capitalism and meritocracy but insufficient progress, too great a hold of Wilderness on their lives, insufficient exploitation of the Earth's material resources, government regulations on the economy, a lack of education, and the "Ignorance is Strength" factions which became the Ingsoc movement. Thus, by assailing their allies, they, both willfully and through the influence of the anti-intellectual intelligentsia, had driven themselves to their eventual state of cattle. Envy, the heated desire to undermine and degrade anything superior to oneself, was another urge amplified within the uneducated masses by the new man-haters. Envy, as has been previously explained, emerges from pristine Nature's scheme of perpetuating one's genetic pattern at all costs, even at those of a superior one (according to the purely Darwinistic Wilderness, of course, a superior set of DNA is possessed by a man with the capacity for the most ruthless elimination of other sets of DNA). This was, then, targeted at the most prominent members of society, its businessmen and its genuine thinkers, the advocates of reason, for the purpose of inflicting suffering upon them and removing them, for they would have become the most formidable obstacle to further infliction of suffering. A third temptation exploited by the Witch Doctors was hatred, a fanatical, intense, and illogical dislike of an individual or, as is the case during a vastly more significant number of occasions, of traits pertaining to a certain lifestyle or circumstantial "group". It is the nature of hatred that it parasitically thrives upon victims of immense merit or inalterable differences from the dominant paradigm. Because an organism that condones and cherishes higher accomplishments than its own, i.e. higher aspirations than its own, i.e. greater freedom from the status of Nature's toy than its own, is one free of the Wilderness's vile scheme of things, she will attempt to detain him in a condition of obsequy at all costs. Hence the instinctive requirement for an ignorant man to despise his superiors in position and intellect and constantly seek their overt destruction. A man who supports genius will himself become elevated from the primeval quagmire as a byproduct of the great man's acquisitions. The Wilderness wishes to hold him in place, as to her he is not an end in himself but a tool for the institution of similar orders of chaos to that of the Party, namely, ecosystems, where an arbitrary "whole" prospers through relentless genocide, extinction, extermination, decay, and cycles of regeneration and death on all fronts, where there is no hope for the individual specimen. This is, as has been demonstrated, is not a mere similarity. The conditions of animals and those of the Oceanian populace are identical because they stem from the same primeval impulses. The power elite of the Party are themselves feeble slaves to that arbitrary whole known as the Wilderness, which attempts to dictate to mankind schemes for suicide. As in the Wilderness, the weak thrive parasitically upon the corpses of the strong, the noble are sacrificed to the petty, the innovative are suppressed by the stagnant, and all perish while the undefined "whole" remains, precisely because it has not been clearly labeled, nor its boundaries explicitly drawn. If they had been, the whole itself would have inevitably plunged into oblivion as well, for naught but decomposing tissue can float atop the primordial bog.

Only pseudo-intellectuals branching off from the middle class would possess the craftiness of mind as well as the utter stupidity required to enact the scheme of constant, increasing mass media manipulation, terror against "thought criminals", and vigilant surveillance to preclude the emergence of insight into the chaos' wretched condition. This group, given a will to learn and a desire to fathom an Absolute Morality of progress which had been attaining ground steadily during the late capitalist era (in which the Witch Doctors had been educated), could have instead worked wonders, produced geniuses such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Ayn Rand, Max Planck, and Frank Lloyd Wright to name a few, who, each within their field of occupation, elevated the species to unprecedented heights of comfort while forever (or, in the case of Mr. Orwell's hypothetical situation, until the Party altered the past and "deleted" "memory" of them) securing their own legacies. They could have embraced the centrality of the individual and his necessity to craft machines for the uplifting of all and freedom from the original despot of collectivism. They could have defined power as the capacity to spend natural resources for the expansion of civilized influence, or as the individual's ability to sway other men to voluntary action as a result of mutually undertaken calculations of gains. They could have recognized the existence of a single external world, mastery of which is a prerequisite to survival. Yet this, from sloth and slavery, they denounced. And only darkness ensued...

G. Stolyarov II is a science fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, contributor to Enter Stage Right, Le Quebecois Libre, Rebirth of Reason, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Senior Writer for The Liberal Institute, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress. His newest science fiction novel is Eden against the Colossus. His latest non-fiction treatise is A Rational Cosmology. Mr. Stolyarov can be contacted at gennadystolyarovii@yahoo.com.

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Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, at http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/rc.html.