Tuesday, 8 September 2015

An Orwell prediction

In an essay "Toward European Unity" of 1947, George Orwell saw three future scenarios. The third was:

"the fear inspired by the atomic bomb and other weapons yet to come will be so great that everyone will refrain from using them. This seems to me the worst possibility of all. It would mean the division of the world among two or three vast super-states, unable to conquer one another and unable to be overthrown by any internal rebellion. In all probability their structure would be hierarchic, with a semi-divine caste at the top and outright slavery at the bottom, and the crushing out of liberty would exceed anything that the world has yet seen. Within each state the necessary psychological atmosphere would be kept up by complete severance from the outer world, and by a continuous phony war against rival states. Civilizations of this type might remain static for thousands of years."

This is very much the background to the following year's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Opinions are divided as to how much it has come to pass.

Orwell saw the need for a western European union to counteract this and his other forebodings. (This was four years before even the forerunner of the EU, the European Coal and Steel Community.) He would no doubt be pleased at the outcome, though despairing that the EU does not act strongly or quickly enough to defend its common interests and that it is a liberal/conservative body rather than a socialist one.

1 comment:

Frank H Little said...

I would say sects rather than a cult but I take your meaning.