The fundamental problem pointed out by Ayn Rand is that a society so totalitarian, so oppressive, could not function at the level of technology portrayed. True, if, as claimed, the Revolution seized power, then whatever level attained at that point becomes theirs. But when this book was written, the telephone system in the Kremlin was the one installed by a Swedish firm for the czar's govenment. Back in 1984 I wrote for Loompanics an essay calling for the export of US IBM-PCs to the USSR to destablilize it. That led to further research on Soviet computer technology which I wrote for Loompanics but which was reprinted and paid for by Defense Computing magazine. Some of my research requests were nicely answered by the CIA. Computing in the USSR was nearly non-existent. What they had, they stole from the West, either transshipped through intermediaries or copied at the patent level.
Our society today can transistion to greater state power. We see this. But the trade-off must be a loss of efficiency, eventually resulting in total collapse. Monetary profit is the only rational allocation of material resources. Yes, you can like vanilla more than chocolate because it makes you feel good. But if you want to build an ice cream factory, you must admit that most people prefer chocolate to vanilla, regardless of your feelings. The State misallocates resources. It destroys resources. A genius who spends his time writing computer programs to sift cellphone calls looking for traitors is wasting his time and the resources at this command. Google Analytics is the opposite of that. Time invested creating that tool, delivered marketable marginalities to millions. The profits of Google make the waste of the NSA possible. In a society with no Google and all NSA, downhill is the only way to go.
The numerical facts and the simple arithmetic are undeniable. Ayn Rand identified the "muscle mystics" as the worshippers of inanimate matter: mills produce steel; we seize the mills; we produce steel. It does not work like that.
Here in America, the "malaise" of the Ford-Carter years was rooted in the inflation of the 1960s, but intensified by the "turn on, tune in, drop out" philosophy of that same time. Millions of highly educated and nominally creative young people did not enter the corporate world. We sought other avenues; worked other jobs; found other (personal) rewards.
With the Reagan Revolution, we enjoyed a renaissance. Suddenly, hippies were yuppies (Young Urban Professionals). It was the Me Generation back to work.
Now, intensify that. The "muscle mystics" - both conservative and liberal - claim that "if only..." then Hitler could have won World War II. But that is not true. Germany was decapitated by the loss of (Jewish) intellectuals, Nobel laureates in chemistry and physics.
No totalitarian state is truly unified. Realize that Winston Smith was not a prole: the was in the Outer Party. Party purges were not personal quirk of Stalin: when the German Army offered an easy truce, Hitler killed Roehm and disbanded the SA. Factionalism based on power and ideology is highly inefficient. Consider the differences in outcome between the GOP/Democrat presidential primary process and the creation of Silicon Valley. Read about Shockley, Fairchild, the "Fairchilden" i.e., the competent and entreprising vice presidents and managers who bridled at Shockley's management style and started their own firms. It is the story of Silicon Valley - and America. But politics is winner take all moderated by compromise with your opponents. Thus, Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State.
The market works differently. I have both an Apple Macintosh White Book and a "PC-compatible" HP Pavillion. I can use either or both any time I want. Other people make other choices. Everyone gets whatever they are willing to pay for. That leads to efficiencies. It not just "being nice" or "humanism" or "toleration" - it is how reality works. Do anything else and you are inefficient.
[*]"WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH."
(The three party slogans that are so blatantly hypocritical I cringe every time I read them with some kind of morbid fascination.)'
Actually, they are oxymorons, not hypocricies. They are explained within the text.
The Thought Police ... Thoughtcrime, they called it.
Actually from Japan. "Special Higher Police established in 1911 in Japan, specifically to investigate and control political groups and ideologies deemed to be a threat to public order... roughly equivalent to the FBI in the United States in terms of combining both criminal investigation and counter-espionage functions." - http://en.wikipedia..../Thought_Police
follow the link from Other Uses.
"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."
(Always an interesting take on the Party's complete and utter subjectivism.)
We all interpret reality as we perceive it, Sumerian history no less than the next traffic light. One of the blessings and curses of the Internet is that no one agency controls the content. In the old days, I used to wonder if libraries could be restocked with different stories. And they can. As a numismatist, I have investigated the so-called "Panic of 1857" relying on 19th century books by William Graham Sumner, James Ford Rhodes, and others. (See my blog here.)
Modern schoolbooks teach this as fact. "Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." ... Robber barons... Social Darwinism... Conspicuous Consumption... The Gilded Age... The Great Depression of 1929...
"The empirical method of thought, on which all the scientific achievements of the past were founded, is opposed to the most fundamental principles of Ingsoc."
I just went through five years of college and university education, 2005-2010. The socialism in undergraduate classes was capped with post-modernism in graduate school: there is no such thing as science, only a "scientistic discourse" created by eurocentric phallocentric exploiters.
The command of the old despotisms was Thou Shalt Not. The command of the totalitarians was Thou Shalt. Our command is 'Thou Art.'
(Gives me the creeps. What if the Party could actually get in anyone's head? ...
You are Gay. She is Black. We are Midwest Votes. I am a Babyboomer. The Police profile Hyphenated-Americans. Litigation Attorneys support this proposal. America's first Latino Woman Appointed to the Office of Officeholder. Who are you?
Rand is a Romantic, so her characters are perfect and on-the-surface, whereas Winston and Julia are dismal and inevitably fall to the all-powerful Party ...
No. Rand's characters identify their self-interest and take a rational course of action. The Party is not all-powerful, but they do want you to think they are. Realize that they depend on you. Withdraw your sanction. Withdraw your support. And - unlike Bernard von NotHaus - do not confront them directly. Leave them alone. Laissez faire. "The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals."
Edited by Michael E. Marotta, 15 April 2011 - 07:19 AM.