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A grim warning,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: 1984 (Taschenbuch)
This is a story that, unfortunately, seems to be slowly coming true. Many science fiction titles are escapist literature that either imagine a very different world(s) from our own, or at the very least, hold out some hopeful message - in other words, the good guys usually manage to win. This is neither kind of book. And it is science fiction because the sinister use of technology is what allows Big Brother to invade everyone's privacy and dictate what the characters can do or say, with severe, nightmarish punishment for "disobedience." There have other novels that have seized upon this idea of an anti-utopia, but Orwell was one of the first to place it in a realistic future, and in a chilling this-is-all-too-possible way.
And the parallels with our modern world are especially profound, parallels that are obvious all around us. The growing number of surveillance cameras on street corners, the ironic (but deliberately) named Patriot Act in the U.S., the rise of political and religious intolerance in the world...all of it does not bode well for the future of our basic liberties. Orwell got in right back in 1948, and although he was primarily referring to the "red menace" of his era, the tactics used by suppressive governments are tempting for any government because of the control such tactics provide, liberties be damned. Your agenda- whatever it is- can more easily be achieved if you can identify your enemies early on and thwart their every move. The problem is, when your enemies are law-abiding citizens whose political (or religious) views don't match your own- and that's the only "crime"- you've stepped over the boundary of national security and entered the realm of repression. And to stop open criticism of these tactics, these governments (including the repressive one in 1984) invariable claim that the critics are "unpatriotic," "traitors," maybe even "terrorists." Sound familiar? Repressive governments have been using these tactics for centuries; only now, modern technology makes it a whole lot easier- and yes, unfortunately, a lot more tempting.
Of course we don't want real terrorists. The problem is, a "quick fix" of sweeping powers put into the hands of a relatively few like-minded individuals- with checks and balances muted if not totally brushed aside- can, will, and has lead to abuse of those powers, primarily for political and personal gains. That was the real message of 1984, and it's one we should never forget. And if the citizens of a repressive government either don't recognize the danger- or worse yet, vigorously defend it under some mistaken notion of being "patriotic" themselves, surrendering their own liberties in the process- that just makes it all the easier for the incumbents to remain in power, with little chance for genuine reform or change.
It's all there in this great book, 1984, which deserves to be widely read forever and amen.
-Mark Wakely, author of An Audience for Einstein
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Ersteintrag: 22.10.2009 01:00:42 GMT+02:00
Adrian Kazak meint:
Thank you for this excellent review. Hear, hear!
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