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Why I Value Liberty Above Life

Updated on May 16, 2017




1984 by George Orwell

Read the Book for Yourself

Orwell's Influence on a Young Student

I first read 1984 when I was in fifth or sixth grade (around 1975) at the suggestion of a friend's father. Mr. W was a high school teacher who delighted in his daughter and her bookish friends. He had an extensive library and was always willing to lend a great book to a young reader. He believed we were capable of reading and understanding important ideas despite our youth--and he was right.

This book stirred within me a passion for freedom of speech, thought, and religion. As a child of the Cold War, I feared communism and loss of freedom more than I feared death. I still do. As I followed Winston's journey through his horrible world in 1984, I vowed I would never let that happen to me. I would fight for my freedom in a constitutional republic.

The NSA and IRS scandals are just the most recent examples of how the world of 1984 could easily happen today. George Orwell wrote in a day when the technology of Big Brother could barely be imagined. The novel envisions two-way television sets as the technology used by the government to deny all privacy to citizens. Now we have GPS tracking, Google Earth, cell phones, and computer surveillance technology that make everything Winston experienced possible--beyond Big Brother's wildest dreams. Worse, we have a population that has been conditioned through public schooling and public assistance to trust everything the government says.

This book still influences me. I am filled with disgust at the contempt with which Republicans and Democrats regard the Constitution of the United States. I still have some hope that my grandchildren might live in a free country. If not, I pray Jesus returns before they have to live under totalitarianism.

A Profound Observation

Moving from Orwell to a more recent book, Charles C.W. Cooke, an immigrant from Great Britain, says this in the introduction to The Conservatarian Manifesto:

"This country's founding generation was preoccupied with designing a system that would prove difficult for evil and ambitious men to commandeer--not because there was an uncommonly large number of such men here in the eighteenth century, but because history had shown them to be a feature of every age and a threat to all peoples."

Are you a libertarian? What are your thoughts on individual freedom?

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    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      I could not agree more with the parallels you draw with the Orwellian nightmare and modern times. In fact, Orwell's vision of a totalitarian hell may end up looking like Romper Room compared to reality. Hope I'm wrong about that. Kind of doubt it. Sensational review of a classic that's more relevant now than when it was written.

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      The attack on Dinesh D'Souza this past week was yet another "1984" type of event. Dissent against the current administration will not go unpunished.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from Perth UK

      Anyone who has not read 1984 will be stirred to do by this passionate review. I agree young people can cope with reading thoughtful books and we should never underestimate them.

    • ChalhoubCassidy profile image

      ChalhoubCassidy 4 years ago

      I have not read 1984 but you have inspired me to. I look forward to reading it as a fellow libertarian!

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      For more great reading, look at this list:

    • profile image

      WinWriter 4 years ago

      Very well said. I cringe when I read of our WWII vets being disrespected and I weep for some of the things going on in our country right now. God help us.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Great read! Interesting video, too. I think you might have more hope for your grandchildren than I have for mine.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      Wow, this is well-written and highly interesting. Love your story about switching to the Libertarian Party and your reasons for doing so. Well said.

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      1984 and Atlas Shrugged are both good books. Both of them did influence me. I am not a doctrinaire libertarian, but I have many libertarian values. Your other book, Divergent, looks intriguing and I would like to read it. Thank you for telling us about it.

    • SBPI Inc profile image

      SBPI Inc 4 years ago

      Nice lens. It almost loos as though we may be at that threshold, sad state of affairs that we have entered. As they say, if you find yourself in Hell just keep trucking till you get out the other side and we will have many fine souls trucking right along with us.

      Just go straight and we will see the light and follow it.

      Dr Jonathan