Society has always felt safe and organized in the hands of some form of leadership. The leadership is in charge of virtually each and every single activity that takes place in the lives of the inhabitants of the society. The leadership is therefore responsible for a lot of things taking place in the society. In fact, it is argued that the leadership of any society is actually the controller of the lives of its people. However, the extent of this leadership is what can either ruin or better the people’s life. There are instances where the society has granted the leadership system full access and authority over their lives. This is what is echoed in the books Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
This paper will compare and contrast the ideas presented in the above named texts. It will also posit that the big brother situation still exists in some societies today. This will be done by comparing aspects of the societies presented in the texts with those of today’s society.
The Minority Rule
The society in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is one that is controlled by an inner party. The inner party directs the way the people should live. It makes all the important decisions in the society. This even includes what people should believe and hold as the truth. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the society is on the verge of losing its identity through the burning of books, which are actually a great treasure in humankind’s day to day life (Bradbury 38).
By doing this, the leadership in this society aims at draining significant information from the public and subjecting them to their own beliefs. The same situation is reiterated in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. In this book, Aldous ironically talks of a brave new world where sleep-learning has become the norm in the society. The leadership in this society uses sleep learning as a method of getting the people to think and act in their own way.
The cases discussed above are governments that seek to have total control over the minds of the people. The techniques and propagandas used by the three leadership systems have the sole purpose of getting the people to dance to the tune of the leadership. In the contemporary world, there still exist similar situations to the ones presented above. A large percentage of the post-modern society has surrendered itself to the will of political leaders, political parties and systems. This is evidenced by the rampant sycophancy that has engulfed most nations of the world in a huge wave.
Manipulation Of The People
In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the inner party uses telescreens and other supervisory techniques to oblige the society to do as it dictates. The telescreens are fitted everywhere in order to monitor the people and keep track of what they are doing (Orwell 20).
By achieving this, the party is therefore in a position to direct their every action. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the leadership has managed to draw the public from reading books. The public is therefore unable to get any other enlightenment apart from the one passed to them by the government through the media. They are fed with distorted facts that are meant to keep them from advancing intellectually. In the same manner, the society in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is kept under the yoke of its leadership through perpetual drug use. Soma, a hallucinogen, takes the role of manipulating the way the society in this context perceives life.
They are myopic in that they only focus on the temporary pleasures that surround them and do not realize that they have been robbed off their independence. In the same manner, a majority of today’s action has lost its freethinking capacity. It has given itself away to media dictatorship. It is indeed true that today’s people act and think in a manner that is prescribed by various forms of media. For instance, the internet has been instrumental in showing ways of life of different societies. Millions of people across the globe use this chance to ape the characters of individuals that they find appealing to them.
By doing this, they have totally sold their self-control. They have further decided to steer their lives on a basis of false and untried standards. This is especially the case with the youth who go a long way to ape the celebrities’ ways of life. Because the ways of life of most of these celebrities is obviously immoral, this habit has led to massive moral decadence among these youths.
Suppression Of Opposition
In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, there are attempts by members of the elite ruling minority to suppress other contradicting ideas from liberal-minded individuals. Winston is an epitome of a person who is forced to align his life according to the dictatorship of the inner party. Julia is also a victim of the same circumstances.
The two are forced to denounce the virtues of humanity and dedicate their loyalty to the Big Brother, who is the leader of the inner party. This manipulation goes as far as forcing the people to accept absolutely false facts. A good example is the fallacy that black can be white and that white can be black at the same time. Although this statement is an outright lie, the inner party members have the capability of forcing an individual to find sense in it. In the same manner, the society in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 has been prohibited from accessing the truth through books.
This is seen where any house that contains books is made to go up in flames. The old woman who decides to be burnt alive with her books is an example of a person who suffers at the hands of leadership’s suppression. In Brave New World, those individuals who fail to align themselves by what is stipulated by the leadership are taken into exile (Huxley 83). This is an effort to keep the truth form being divulged. This is seen where Helmholtz is taken to the Falkland Islands. Today’s society also contains government regimes and political leaders that tend to suppress other people in a bid to remain in power. Cases of opposition leaders in parliament who have suffered greatly in the hands of a government have been reported in various nations. These cases are especially common in Africa where some leaders opt to remain in power even after openly losing in elections.
These leaders want to keep the society under their continuous rule. Therefore, it is actually true that the Big Brother situation exists today.
The Standard Of Living Of The Elect
In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, there is an inner circle of authoritative individuals that gain from the oppressive leadership. These are members of the inner party which is headed by Big Brother. These members are considered to be above the law since they can forcefully do anything they want. They can also get anything that their hearts settle in. O’Brien is a perfect example of such individuals. He lives in a stately home with no insufficiencies.
He also has a number of privileges. For instance, he can turn off the telescreens and microphones in his house. He also owns a slave, unlike the other individuals in the outer party and the proles. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, it is the leadership that stands to gain from the burning of all the books in the society. The destruction of all these information sustains them in power for as long as they wish.
The practice of burning books is therefore only beneficial to them. On the other hand, it is unfair to the common people because it denies them the right to be enlightened about various issues in the society. However, this egocentricity is not witnessed in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Although there are suppressive actions against the common people, their living standards are in good shape. Likewise, a majority of today’s leaders give priority to their selfish interests.
Cases of corruption are rampant in most governments. Furthermore, some leaders have been known to pass laws that work in their favor. For instance, there are presidents of some countries who have remained in power for over two decades. Such leaders have placed their accomplices as the heads of electoral bodies.
It then becomes much easier to doctor national votes in their favor.
The Use Of Torture
In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the inner party uses excessive force and unfair means to deal with those who oppose their ideas. They force such individuals to submit to the will of the party through torturous means. For example, Winston and Julia are taken through three purgatorial stages in order to change their way of thinking.
They are even made to deny and betray each other. The same happens in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. In this society, those who fail to comply with the dictatorship of the leadership are forcefully withdrawn from the society and isolated. It is also unfair that the leadership has condemned noble practices such as marriage and bringing up of families. The leadership in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451also uses unfair means to deal with individuals who are found in possession of books. For instance, the house of the old woman is set up in flames. It is also crude that the woman is burnt together with her books in her house. Montag’s house also meets the same fate when he is betrayed by his wife and her friends.
Furthermore, it is unfair that the leadership sheds the blood of an innocent man in order to create a positive image to the public. In addition, the leadership is unfair when it triggers a war against its own people in a bid to trace a single person. Even in today’s civilized world, there are leaders who use unfair means to deal with their opponents. For example, there are those who plan assassinations against people who may be threatening their positions. Alternatively, there are those leaders who make false claims against those who oppose them and have them unfairly thrown into prison.
In conclusion, it can be seen from the above discussion that the three texts are all dystopian. They portray the ways and conditions of life of societies that are led by wicked leaders. The texts also allude to the conditions of today’s leadership in some countries.
It can therefore be concluded that the big brother situation still exists in today’s society.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine Books, 1953. Print. Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World.
London: Chatto and Windus, 1932. Print. Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four.
A Novel. London: Secker & Warburg, 1949. Print.