The New Party

April 23, 2012
By Anonymous

Whenever a minority group rules over the majority of the population, the majority is discontented and suppressed, leaving most of the society in disparity. Minoritarianism has caused several wars and rebellions, such as the Apartheid in South Africa between the native majority and the over powering white minority who claimed control over the whole country. Eventually, this system fell apart due to the great social class disparity. Unfortunately, minoritarianism is not solely in governments of the past, but can be hidden in plain sight, even in modern society. In his book 1984, George Orwell warns that religion has become too powerful by synthesizing the malignant and hypocritical governing party’s core sources of power, such as the brain-washing of society by altering perceptions and feeding on the people’s ignorance, from minority-dominating organized religions.
Administrations such as the one described in 1984, which “control life… in all its aspects” (269) are extremely dangerous as they have the power to alter each individual’s perception of the world. In essence, each of the largest organized religions is arguing that anyone who does not follow its rules is going to hell. This altering of reality effectively prevents rebellion, both against religion and government, since the governed are not conscious of their situation, and “until they become conscious, they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” (70) Orwell stresses the dangers of this highly effective form of brainwashing by presenting Winston, the protagonist, with a situation worse than death itself: room 101, or as it is known in religion, Hell. Fear conditioning instills in people the belief that if they comply with the rules imposed upon them, their future will be less painful, thus negatively reinforcing1 their submissive behavior. The complete skewing of reality that Orwell portrays is regrettably not unrealistic, as it is what drives extremist religious acts of terrorism, such as the attack on the United States by fundamentalist Muslims on 9/11. Perceptions distorted by the Party’s ultimate control lead to a population that is willing to commit acts of malice under the assumption that they are for the best.
Of course, the Inner Party is perfectly knowledgeable of the atrocities occurring outside their sacred circle, yet they still hypocritically enjoy the freedoms that they have unfairly stolen from the rest of Oceania. If it were not for the hypocrisy of the situation, such a civilization could possibly work, but as communism has proved time and time again, man is greedy and duplicitous. Similarly, in the Christian Church, hypocrisy stains the holy fabric from which the religion is constructed. A few people’s ill-intended actions can easily ruin the sanctity of anything, especially when these people are in a role of authority. For example, the 1980’s media scandal in which Catholic priests were accused of committing sexual abuse to minors enlightened the masses, enabling them to realize that the Church is not necessarily perfect. The most devote Christians in this situation were able to tune out this extraneous information but those who, like Winston were not properly coerced into full submission, were subsequently enlightened. Likewise, devoted Party members have no trouble overlooking all the changes in what the Party feeds them as the truth, but Winston, who daily makes these changes in past documents, altering the reality of the past, could not double think. Winston may not be ignorant, but was this a strength or a weakness?
“Ignorance is Strength” (4) for the party and is thus safer for the citizens, but is not a guarantee of safety, since innocent Party members such as Mr. Parsons are often punished for crimes they did not commit, since power has been handed to rather irresponsible people such as children who act simply in their own best interest. The Church has in several cases made this same mistake as well, such as in the Salem Witch Trials. Rather than interpreting harmless youthful rebellion as such, the young “witches” were given the power to decide who was innocent and who was guilty of witchcraft, to which the girls eventually confessed. In 1984, the child army also had the power to have anyone arrested, whether they did commit thought-crime or not. Eventually, under the stress of torture, everyone confesses but “the confessions [are, like in the Witch trials] lies.”(78) The seemingly omnipotent child army “was somehow slightly frightening,” (23) said Mrs. Parsons, and indeed families of the Salem Witches must have felt very nearly the same, since they too could at any time be accused. The victims in this situation are powerless, neither ignorance nor knowledge can save them, so perhaps, since ignorance does not help, knowledge could be slightly more advantageous. Of course, modern religion is rampant with ignorance as well, and followers simply believe what they are told by authority figures, especially considering less than ten percent of all Christians have read the entire bible. Ignorance does not benefit the citizen as it is source of power for the ruling class, and when the government has more power than the citizens, the majority is uncomfortable in their lives.
Orwell’s main warning in 1984 is not simply against Nazism, Communism, or religion, but against any force that has too much power. Since in the modern day, Nazism and Communist are generally frowned upon, religion remains one of the few places where such extreme manipulation of the masses can still hide. By arguing that the scientific fact such as evolution is not true and instead teaching creationism at some schools, religion has the ability to completely alter reality by altering man’s perception of it, while coercing its followers to stay ignorant. If religion can convince people that Jesus came back to life, that the world was created in the hands of an almighty God, and that evolution does not exist, perhaps it has as much power as the Party, which convinced Winston that “2+2=5” (290).

The author's comments:
This is an essay analyzing the book 1984 by George Orwell

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