Government Controlling Thought Essay

2260 words - 9 pages

Many countries believe that the use of propaganda helps to institute a necessary level of patriotism in their citizens. Most countries that use propaganda have an authoritarian form of government, the type of government that is shown in 1984. However, the use of propaganda also limits the freedom of people since propaganda can be used to control thought and speech. Propaganda can scare people into believing that the government is trying to appear to be the best country by either exaggerating the positive events that are happening in their country or by showing negative events that are happening in other countries. Orwell’s 1984 is more about the dangers of the government controlling thought by propaganda than the dangers of an authoritarian governmental system.
Propaganda can control people’s thought by convincing people that the government is always watching them. The leader of a totalitarian government is often “omnipresent, all-knowing, larger than life and half-divine” (Roelofs 4). An omnipresent leader can institute an extreme level of obedience into the citizens of their country because the citizens may conclude that the government could determine if the citizens support most of the government’s actions by analyzing videos or other visual evidence collected by the government. In 1984, Big Brother is omnipresent and appears to spy on all of the citizens of Oceania through the façade of moving eyes on the posters that say “Big Brother is watching you” (Varricchio 7). The moving eyes of Big Brother demonstrate that Big Brother watches all of the citizens of Oceania all of the time since the average citizen of Oceania is unable to determine where the moving eyes are looking at any point of time. The moving eyes also illustrate that Big Brother is watching all of the citizens of Oceania since the moving eyes are seen everywhere which may mean that Big Brother is able to watch all of the citizens of Oceania because he has a loyal group of personnel who assist him in spying on the citizens of Oceania. Winston concludes that writing a diary about his discontent of the Oceanic government may result in his “vaporization” (Orwell 19) because of the fear of being spied on through the telescreen. The Oceanic government limits the freedom of thought through spying on the Oceanic citizens because the Oceanic citizens postulate that their thoughts could result in their death or nonexistence. The Oceanic government believes that the control of thought limits the chance of any rebellions that may result in the overthrow of the government and the Oceanic government is all about power.
Propaganda can also control people’s thoughts through the portrayal of the country and the government’s attitude to resistance. In Oceania, the movies consist more of propaganda than entertainment, which is typical in many authoritarian countries (Varrachio 4). The availability of this form of propaganda assists the Oceanic government in helping the Oceanic...

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