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By Josh Zuckerman '18 November 23, The struggle against a totalitarian government is unsurprisingly a frequent theme in dystopian literature.
Almost by definition the genre is set in a futuristic society characterized by extreme oppression and despondence. Malevolent autocrats at the helms of totalitarian governments have, throughout our history, been responsible for innumerable travesties.
The last hundred years have undeniably been bloody, and it is therefore only natural that our perception of dystopia largely revolves around the evils of the totalitarian regime.
However, it would be misleading and inadequate to imply that the greatest works of dystopian literature derive their frisson from the mere presence of a dictatorship.
In fact, this would be a gross simplification. Therefore, in this article I shall explore an additional five frequently occurring aspects of individual-state relations that are prevalent in dystopian stories, all of which are necessarily predicated on the existence of an autocratic regime that denies its citizens the simplest of civil liberties.
It is important to note that these governments need not be widely regarded by their constituencies as malign entities hell-bent on the destruction of freedom and the infliction of suffering. But all governments in the literature I discuss are totalitarian insofar as they prevent the exercise of free will and political dissidence.
Governmental Monopoly of Information The availability of private sources of information is a prerequisite for a robust democracy.
If government has an effective monopoly on the dissemination of facts, healthy public discourse cannot exist. This desire for governmental control of fact has become so associated with the works of George Orwell that his eponymous adjective now connotes a miserable condition in which perceived truth and the availability of information are subject to the whimsical desires of the state.
Inthe Party not only rewrites history more on this below but also adroitly keeps its citizens in a perpetual state of confusion through the promulgation of lies and misinformation.
Certainly there is an element of truth to this, as the Party is obviously strengthened by an ignorant populace incapable of articulating philosophical or pragmatic reasons for the overthrow of the ruling powers.
In other words, in order for despotic governments to create a sense of internal legitimacy capable of mollifying their potential critics, they must first create a revisionist version of history that portrays them in a better light.
By destroying any connection with the true past, the Party successfully eliminates any basis for comparison or for questioning its aims. Note that themes one and two are intimately interconnected; government cannot rewrite history without first having a monopoly on information.
If alternative sources of information exist, they perpetuate the knowledge of true history. In a small village in the distant future, there are no memories of history. Society has no understanding of famine, sickness, or war—or of love, joy, or adventure. Selected to be the next Receiver of Memories, Jonas begins training under the guidance of the Giver, who alone has knowledge of the human experience.
The Giver and Jonas realize that absent this historical experience, society is experiencing a profound moral and cultural decadence. Equality as the Primary Motivating Agent of Governmental Actions To some degree, a quest for economic equality is normatively official insofar as it attempts to empower the poor and alleviate misery.
When taken to the extreme, this search creates a dystopia in which excessive government regulation designed to elevate the status of the worst-off have the exact opposite effect.
As the producers no longer have incentives to work, they shutter their businesses and vanish from society. This strike results in catastrophic shortages of food, electricity, and transport—a complete economic collapse that ultimately leads to an even more destructive anarchy.
The ethos of equality in dystopia is not limited to economic issues. In an effort to ensure that all within the same class are equal, fetuses are given inhibitory drugs to prevent the full development of their mental and physical faculties. In order to further homogenize members of the same class, all children are raised and indoctrinated by the state, creating full equality of body and mind within a class.
This eliminates the potential for internecine conflict. Nobody [is] smarter than anybody else [or] stronger or quicker than anybody else. Interestingly, even the socialist-leaning author acknowledges as natural varying levels of physical and mental capacity.
The Loss of Individual Identity In contemporary totalitarian regimes, those with non-conformist identities or ideologies are often persecuted. Those who dare adhere to heretical philosophies or subscribe to a heterodox Weltanschauung are ruthlessly persecuted.
Dystopian literature takes this hatred of individualism a step further, however; it portrays regimes seeking to eliminate diversity at its source through the destruction of the very concept of the individual. These two themes are highly interrelated; complete equality and individuality are mutually exclusive, as the former cannot be obtained without the complete destruction of the latter.
The novella is a testament to the individual and its right not to be placed in a condition of servitude to society. In the world of Anthem, there is not a single trace of individual rights or personal identity. An individual only has value insofar as he can serve society; those too old to work are referred to as the Useless.
In lieu of names the state assigns each character an identification consisting of a number and a word designed to promote solidarity and collectivism Equality, Fraternity, Union, and International, among others. The Erosion of the Family This final theme is by far the simplest.
Psychologists and political theorists have long acknowledged that the family, through the act of child-rearing, is responsible for the cultivation of morality and perpetuation of virtue in individuals.
Parents ideally teach their children right from wrong and instill the concept of free thought in the next generation.The struggle against a totalitarian government is unsurprisingly a frequent theme in dystopian literature. Almost by definition the genre is set in a futuristic society characterized by extreme oppression and despondence.
Malevolent autocrats at the helms of totalitarian governments have, throughout our history, been responsible for innumerable travesties. George Orwell’s, , a Totalitarian and Communist-Like Government Words | 8 Pages Introduction In George Orwell’s, , a totalitarian and communist-like government is portrayed, in a futuristic world that allows no .
History and "War is peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is strength." In George Orwell's , a light is shining on the concept of a negative utopia, or "dystopia" caused by totalitarianism. When we talk about totalitarianism in George Orwell's , and by extension totalitarian states, there are certain elements and tactics these states use to control citizens.
Key Elements of Totalitarianism in The key element of totalitarianism in Orwell's is Big Brother. Big Brother, which represents the government, is everywhere.
In nearly . TOTALITARIANISM IN Totalitarianism is one of the main themes in In post WWII Europe, Oceania has become the ruling power with the "Party" as it's ruling assembly and "Big Brother" at it's head.
Totalitarianism and Censorship in and Fahrenheit ; Totalitarianism and Censorship in and Fahrenheit WE WILL WRITE A CUSTOM ESSAY SAMPLE ON. Totalitarianism and Censorship in and Fahrenheit FOR A predominately totalitarian government has used censorship as a means to destroy .