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Why I Value Liberty Above Life
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
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."