Tag Archives: 1984

Print this post Print this post

Ray Bradbury, R.I.P.

4,332 words

Ray Bradbury, the writer best known for his novels The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, as well as a hundreds of short stories, passed away on Tuesday, June 5 at the age of 91. With him we have lost not only one of America’s greatest writers, but also one of our last genuine writers.

Read more …

Posted in North American New Right | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed
Print this post Print this post

Dystopia is Now!

4,648 words

Whatever happened to the Age of Anxiety? In the post-war years, intellectuals left and right were constantly telling us — left and right — that we were living in an age of breakdown and decay. Read more …

Posted in North American New Right | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed
Print this post Print this post

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four

The poster for Michael Radford’s movie adaptation of “Nineteen Eighty-Four”

1,048 words

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is probably the most important political novel of the 20th century, but the Trotskyite influence on it is underappreciated. The entire thesis about the Party’s totalitarianism is a subtle mixture of libertarian and Marxist contra Marxism ideas. One of the points which is rarely made is how the party machine doubles for fascism in Orwell’s mind—a classic Trotskyist ploy whereby Stalinism is considered to be the recrudescence of the class enemy. This is of a piece with the view that the Soviet Union was a deformed workers’ state or happened to be Bonapartist or Thermidorian in aspect.

Not only is Goldstein the dreaded object of hatred—witness the Two Minutes’ Hate—but this Trotsky stand-in also wrote the evil book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, against which the party defines its existence. The inner logic or dialectic, however, means that the Inner Party actually wrote the book so that it would control the mainsprings of its own criticism.

Emanuel Goldstein, the Trotsky figure in “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” from Michael Radford’s movie

One of the strongest features of Nineteen Eighty-Four is its use of what Anthony Burgess called “sense data.” These are all the unmentionable things—usually realities in the physical world—which make a novel physically pungent or real to the reader. This is the very texture of life under “real existing socialism”: scraping oneself in the morning with a bar of old soap, the absence of razor blades, human hair blocking a sink full of dirty water; the unsanitary details of conformism, socialist commerce, and queuing which made the novel feel so morally conservative to its first readers. This and the depiction of the working class (or proles), who are everywhere treated as socially degraded beasts of burden. Some of the most fruity illustrations come from Winston Smith’s home flat in Victory Mansions—the smell of cabbage, the horrid nature of the Parsons’ children, the threadbare and decrepit nature of everything, the continuous droning of the telescreen.

Most of these “sense data” are based on Britain in 1948. It is the reality of Wyndham Lewis’ Rotting Hill—a country of ration cards, depleted resources, spivdom, dilapidated buildings after wartime bombing, rancid food, restrictions, blunt razor blades, and almost continuous talk about Victory over the Axis powers. Britain’s post-war decline dates from this period when the national debt exceeded outcome by seven times—and this was before the joys of Third World immigration which were only just beginning. The fact that Nineteen Eighty-Four is just the conditions in Britain in 1948—at the level of the senses—is a fact not widely commented on.

The uncanny parallels between Newspeak and political correctness are widely mentioned but not really analyzed—save possibly in Anthony Burgess’ skit 1985, a satire which majors quite strongly on proletarian or workers’ English—whereby every conceivable mistake, solecism, mispronunciation, or scatology is marked up; correct usage is everywhere frowned upon.

Another aspect of the novel which receives scant attention is its sexological implications. In most coverage of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the party organization known as the Anti-Sex League is given scant attention. Yet Orwell had considerable theoretical overlaps with both Fromm and Wilhelm Reich—never mind Herbert Marcuse. Orwell’s thesis is that totalitarianism fosters a sexless hysteria in order to cement its power. The inescapable corollary is that more liberal systems promote pornography and promiscuity in order to enervate their populations.

Orwell certainly pinpointed the arrant puritanism of Stalinist censorship—something which became even more blatant after the Second World War. One also has to factor in the fact that Orwell was living and writing in an era where importing James Joyce’s Ulysses and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer were criminal offenses. Nonetheless, Orwell’s anti-puritanism and libertarianism, sexually speaking, is very rarely commented on. Perhaps this leads to the nakedly sexual rebellion of Winston and Julia’s affair against the Party. A series of actions for which the mock Eucharist, the imbibing of bread and wine in O’Brien’s inner party office, will not give them absolution!

It might also prove instructive to examine the sequences of torment which Winston Smith has to undergo in the novel’s last third. This phase of the book is quite clearly Hell in a Dantesque triad (the introductory section in Victory Mansions and at the Ministry is Purgatory, and Heaven is the brief physical affair with Julia). In actual fact, well over a third of the novel is expended in Hell, primarily located in the fluorescent-lit cells of the Ministry of Love.

This is the period where O’Brien comes into his own as the party inquisitor or tormentor, an authorial voice in The Book, and a man who quite clearly believes in the system known as Ingsoc, English Socialism. He is a fanatic or true believer who readily concedes to the Party’s inner nihilism and restlessness: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”

Moreover, the extended torture scene and was quite clearly too much for many readers—in north Wales, one viewer of the BBC drama in the mid-’50s dropped dead during the rat scene. I suppose one could call it the ultimate review! Questions were even asked in parliament about what a state broadcaster was spending its money on.

Big Brother, the Stalin figure in “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” from Michael Radford’s movie

Nonetheless, O’Brien is quite clearly configured as a party priest who is there to enforce obedience to the secular theology of Ingsoc. (Incidentally, Richard Burton is superb as O’Brien in the cinematic version of the novel made in the year itself, 1984.)

The point of the society is to leave the proles to their own devices and concentrate entirely on the theoretical orthodoxy of both the inner and outer party members. In this respect, it resembles very much a continuation of the underground and Bohemia when in power. You get a whiff of this at the novel’s finale, with Winston ensconced in the Chestnut Tree Café waiting for the bullet and convinced of his love for Big Brother.

This is the inscrutable face of the Stalin lookalike which stares meaningfully from a hundred thousand posters in every available public place. Might he be smiling under the mustache?

 

Posted in North American New Right | Also tagged , , , , , | Comments closed
  • Video of the Day:

  • Kindle Subscription
  • Our Titles

    The Eldritch Evola

    Western Civilization Bites Back

    New Right vs. Old Right

    Lost Violent Souls

    Journey Late at Night: Poems and Translations

    The Non-Hindu Indians & Indian Unity

    Baader Meinhof ceramic pistol, Charles Kraaft 2013

    The Lightning and the Sun

    Jonathan Bowden as Dirty Harry

    The Lost Philosopher, Second Expanded Edition

    Trevor Lynch's A White Nationalist Guide to the Movies

    And Time Rolls On

    The Homo & the Negro

    Artists of the Right

    North American New Right, Vol. 1

    Forever and Ever

    Some Thoughts on Hitler

    Tikkun Olam and Other Poems

    Under the Nihil

    Summoning the Gods

    Hold Back This Day

    The Columbine Pilgrim

    Confessions of a Reluctant Hater

    Taking Our Own Side

    Toward the White Republic

    Distributed Titles

    Carl Schmitt Today

    A Sky Without Eagles

    The Way of Men

    Generation Identity

    Nietzsche's Coming God

    The Conservative

    The New Austerities

    Convergence of Catastrophes

    Demon

    Proofs of a Conspiracy

    Fascism viewed from the Right

    The Wagnerian Drama

    Fascism viewed from the Right

    Notes on the Third Reich

    Morning Crafts

    New Culture, New Right

    An eagle with a shield soaring upwards

    A Life in the Political Wilderness

    The Fourth Political Theory

    The Passing of the Great Race

    The Passing of a Profit & Other Forgotten Stories

    Fighting for the Essence

    The Arctic Home in the Vedas

    The Prison Notes

    It Cannot Be Stormed

    Revolution from Above

    The Proclamation of London

    Beyond Human Rights

    The WASP Question

    Can Life Prevail?

    The Jewish Strategy

    The Metaphysics of War

    A Handbook of Traditional Living

    The French Revolution in San Domingo

    The Revolt Against Civilization

    Why We Fight

    The Problem of Democracy

    Archeofuturism

    The Path of Cinnabar

    Tyr

    Siege

    On Being a Pagan

    The Lost Philosopher

    The Dispossessed Majority

    Might is Right

    Impeachment of Man

    Gold in the Furnace

    Defiance