Archive for the ‘dystopian novels’ Tag

A 2012 Reading of Orwell’s 1984   Leave a comment

I borrowed 1984 and read it cover to cover this week.

It’s a well-written, totally alarming book.  A screamingly important book.

It’s a powerful warning against socialism. It’s also a graphic, atheistic, violent book that doesn’t offer any ray of hope.  So don’t read it if you haven’t.  I’ll give you the summary.

Then I’ll share the quotes that remind me of Common Core education, and quotes that point to the new data collection by our state and federal government using our schools.

Summary:

Winston Smith lives in a society that has “progressed” past individual privacy and freedom.  His job is to rewrite history regardless of what is actually true.  There are no laws in this world; there is only the will of “Big Brother,” the all-knowing, all-powerful government.

In this world, “Big Brother” screens transmit and receive information in every room and alley, everywhere, 24/7. Screens cannot be shut off.  Even unhappy facial expressions on someone’s face are cause for the “Thought Police” to come and delete an individual in the night.  Children are encouraged to view public hangings and violent films, and to turn in their parents to “Big Brother” for unorthodox statements or actions parents might commit.

Winston commits the crimes of writing in a diary, of having a love affair, and of seeking to join a group of freedom fighters that he is not sure really exists. For these crimes, he is captured and tortured, rather than killed; the aim of “Big Brother” is not just to kill but rather to convert deviants like Winston. After severe, months-long torture and brainwashing, Big Brother succeeds in the conversion of Winston Smith. The last sentence of the novel is:  “He loved Big Brother.”

Excerpts:

Excerpts that remind me of Common Core:

“Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious and even intelligent within narrow limits…” p. 158

“Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like ‘Freedom is Slavery’ when the concept of freedom has been abolished?” -p. 47

“The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought.” p. 159

“Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year…the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought. In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten… Every year fewer and fewer words and the range of consciousness always a little smaller.” p. 46

“Power is tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” p. 220

Excerpts that remind me of the alteration of FERPA laws federally to take away parental consent over student data, and of the new free Common Core preschool system:

“Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen.” p. 220

“Nothing was illegal since there were no longer any laws.” -p. 9
“There will be no loyalty except loyalty to the party… there will be no wives and no friends… there will be no art, no literature, no science… if you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever” p. 220

“The only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism…concentration of property in far fewer hands… the new owners were a group rather than… individuals… Everything– had been taken away from them and since these things were no longer private property, it followed that they must be public property… economic inequality has been made permanent.” p. 170

Excerpts that remind me of data privacy invasion, such as our new, federally granted, “State Longitudinal Database System” and “P-20″ implemented by Utah:

“The Party is concerned…how to discover against his will, what another human being in thinking” -p. 159

“The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard… How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. You had to live– did live, from habit that became instinct– in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard…every movement scrutinized” pp. 6-7.

Excerpts that remind me of the USOE and the State School Board’s turning a deaf ear to teachers and parents who oppose Common Core:

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” – p. 69

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty. To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient…” pp. 176-177.

“Researches that could be called scientific are still carried out for the purposes of war, but they are essentially a kind of daydreaming and their failure to show results is not important.” -p. 163

“His heart went out to the lonely, derided heretic on the screen, sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world of lies.” p. 16

Excerpts that remind me of people who are not standing up and fighting against Common Core:

“They were like the ant, which can see small objects but not large ones.” -p. 79

“The Proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength, would have no need to conspire. They needed only to rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies.” – p.60

As I read and copied down these excerpts, I thought about the untruths and the trend toward collectivism that has become so popular among educators in D.C. –and I thought about the lies that have been promoted by proponents of Common Core, about its implementation without a vote, about its purposes, its history, its amendability, and its data-gathering on students without parental knowledge or consent.  What do you think? 

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