The Great Unsaid: What 1984 Can Teach Us About 2014

1984 was not an instruction manual8th January 2014

By  Ethan Indigo Smith

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act – George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell is one of the most influential books of our time. It resonates today as much as it did fifty years ago. It changed the course of history by spawning new language and meaning relating to the structure, actions and mechanisms of our society. And that legacy seems perfectly fitting, for in the story of 1984, the world is faced with so much restriction that even the expressiveness of the official language is deliberately restricted by institutions in  attempts to eliminate personal thought.

1984 provides a stark view of a burgeoning culture of totalitarianism that is as important as a work of fiction as it is as a reflection of modern fact.  In 1984, each aspect of the Five Freedoms of The First Amendment were infringed and removed. Freedom of speech was so restricted that not only was there one source of news – operated by the official governing body – there was also a whole arm of government dedicated to slowly and steadily eliminating language deemed detrimental to the state.

Undoubtedly language, in spoken and written forms,  assists our ability to communicate with and also elevate each other. The key to learning practically everything is in language. And to author George Orwell’s credit,  1984 spawned many well-recognized phrases relevant to our society to today – and for which there were previously no words or phrases. Terms like memory hole, big brother, double-think, oligarchical collectivism, proles and many others.

Nuclear military complex

1984 begins with a very important sentence.

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. ~ 1984

The implications of this, of course, is that the military is in control, and society is running on military time. Later, in arguably the most influential political fiction in history, the main character Winston Smith suggests that after the atomic bombings of London (in what one can infer was a world war three type of scenario) he does not know if it is indeed 1984 or some other year thereabouts.

The effect (of the atomic wars) was to convince the ruling groups of all countries that a few more atomic bombs would mean the end of organized society, and hence of their own power. Thereafter, although no formal agreement was ever made or hinted at, no more bombs were dropped. All three powers merely continue to produce atomic bombs and store them up against the decisive opportunity which they all believe will come sooner or later. And meanwhile the art of war has remained almost stationary for thirty or forty years. ~ 1984

The great unsaid in 1984, the whole reason for the total elimination of freedom of movement, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of press and the reason they are on military time, is to facilitate the atomic war on Planet Earth – a war so destructive that England ended up the totalitarian state known as Airstrip One.

In reality today we see the atomic war on Earth, the continued confrontations over islands or rhetoric, is resulting in the same kind of oligarchy.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster has led to a practical elimination of free speech and free reporting of information in Japan. Its new secrecy law is arguably written for and because of Fukushima. Authorities failed to manage the radioactive leaks, and instead decided to punish individuals for leaking/reporting information about their disastrous failure. And following the Fukushima event, the EPA (the supposed Environmental Protection Agency) turned off public access to radiation monitors.

Clearly, nuclear experimentation does not co-exist alongside freedom of speech, transparent access to information and access to clean water.

Sadly, it is apparent that those undertaking nuclear experimentation do not and cannot consider all possible risk factors at play in such dangerous experiments. And even the factors that can be predicted are not mitigated by the reckless nuclear industry.

As reported by AFP news  on 21st October 2013:

Heavy rain at the Fukushima nuclear plant caused a leak of radioactive water containing a cancer-causing isotope, possibly into the sea, its operator said Monday, as a typhoon approaching Japan threatened further downpours.

Heavy rain?!? In Japan?! I mean, really, who could have seen that coming??

It also appears that the failings of the nuclear industry are embedded in its culture at all levels – from vendor to regulator.  According to a 2012 report in  The Economist:

“The reactors at Fukushima were of an old design. The risks they faced had not been well analysed. The operating company was poorly regulated and did not know what was going on. The operators made mistakes. The representatives of the safety inspectorate fled. Some of the equipment failed. The establishment repeatedly played down the risks and suppressed information…

But despite this, our planet and its inhabitants are suffering the mistakes of the nuclear industry, while the institutions responsible remain protected – by censorship, corporate spin, political rhetoric and legislation that limits the industry’s liability for its destruction.

In a world of nuclear experimentation, institutions are protected at the risk of individuals.

Institutional vs. individual  thinking

Today we value institutions over individuals. We allow institutions to restricts our most elemental freedoms and to proceed with their status quo agenda: a war world.

Today the atomic war on our Earth Mother results in the restriction and removal of freedoms, and increased sickness and cancers. And yet it seems no one wants to talk about it! Instead of China, Japan and the U.S.A. coming together to help each other, they are instead making threats to hurt each other.

Just as Airstrip One was nuked before it turned to oligarchical collectivism  in  1984, in reality, Japan turned to oligarchical collectivism after the Fukushima disaster. And to its own end, the United States EPA restricted the flow of information thereafter. In essence, the environment was destroyed and basic human freedoms removed across numerous national jurisdictions. Yet strangely, no one wants to talk about it! No one wants to address it. Instead we just fight on, not in the heroic manner of the Rainbow Warrior, but like ignorant slaves for the Ministry of Peace (aka the Military) in 1984, accepting the status quo, and the rhetoric of those complicit in creating it.

Nuclear experimentation is entropy. It can kill us all. But the nuclear issue can also unite us all; all people of peace, all people who appreciate basic freedoms of speech and the right to clean water, all people who are pro-individual, whether the individual is from China, Japan or the U.S., and all who are skeptical of institutions, no matter where they are from or what they claim to represent. Our survival as a race seems to depend on it.

If the events of 1984 continue to hold true, at this rate words will soon become not only censored, but illegal and eliminated, controlled by increasingly totalitarian governments. Today sharing information on institutional activity that harms individuals is already punishable, and the sharing of ideas that challenge the status quo is becoming more heavily censored. Japan’s censorship of matters deemed “secret” (but still globally critical), and the UK’s attempt to prohibit ‘esoteric’ information within Airstrip One (or England, I mean, the land of Magna Carta) are prime examples.  Soon writers like me will only find work eliminating (or in 1984 ‘newspeak’, “rectifying”)  information and news, instead of sharing and interpreting it.

For more information, please see: The UK’s Proposed Ban on Esoteric Knowledge: Why Institutions Seek to Limit Access to Information

The self-serving agenda of government

Enabled by institutional thinking, the  nuclear/military complex continues to grow, despite its failures in Chernobyl,  Hanford,  Three Mile Island, and now  Fukushima.  And governments continue to benefit politically.

On 4th November 2013, Bloomberg  news reported that  the United States government has offered to assist Japan to decommission  the Fukushima reactors and address the ongoing leakage of radioactive water  into the sea. But does this action demonstrate the benevolence of the US government, and its dedication to rectifying the world’s biggest and most immediate environmental threat?

No – it does not.

As reported by Bloomberg:

Japan  will receive international help with the cleanup at the Fukushima atomic station once it joins an existing treaty that defines liability for accidents at nuclear plants, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said.

So the United States’ “offer” of assistance is in fact conditional. So let’s look at those conditions:

The treaty, known as the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, assigns accident liability to plant operators rather than equipment and technology vendors, Moniz said in a Nov. 2 interview in Tokyo.

It seems the real aim of the Convention, as well as other  international conventions on nuclear liability,  is to protect the nuclear industry.

Under the Convention:

–           The total compensation available after a nuclear accident is capped at a level far lower than the actual clean-up cost.

–           The companies that supply nuclear reactors and other materials are exempt from liability in the event of an accident.

–           The operators of nuclear plants are left accountable for paying damages, however operators are not required to maintain adequate  financial reserves to cover the cost of an accident.

Just as we’ve seen with the too-big-to-fail/too-corrupt-to-succeed banking industry, it is again tax payers who will end up footing the bill for the failings of corporations.  What this actually means is that companies like GE (General Electric) can continue producing  questionable nuclear devices  – earning  billions of dollars in annual profit  as a result –  without accepting any liability for the quality of their product, or the devastating results caused when their products inevitably fail.

In reality, the US has long been pushing for the CSC to be ratified  in countries such as India, Canada and Korea, where it hopes to expand its nuclear business. Now it seems the US government is using the fallout from the Fukushima disaster to blackmail Japan into signing the treaty – which explicitly protects American nuclear companies, while solidifying business opportunities in Japan for American nuclear suppliers.

The final word

The nuclear industry is finally realizing the inherent dangers of playing with fire. And yet it continues to evade responsibility for its failures.

The  Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster  has led to a practical elimination of free speech and free reporting of information in Japan. GE, the suppliers of the failed reactor, made a ‘donation’ equivalent to around $1 in every $6,000 it earned (gross profit) in 2011 and wiped its collective hands of the whole mess. And the power-brokers of the United States government – in true institutional form – has seized the disaster as an opportunity for political and nuclear advancement.

Clearly,  destructive institutions will not change course, no matter how destructive, until they are forced. Only through collective pressure can we stop the insanity of nuclear experimentation and political totalitarianism.  Boycott Japanese products for instituting secrecy laws, and insist our governmental and corporate institutions help Japan help our Mother Earth – without the attachment of political strings.

If we continue down our current path of nuclear experimentation against a backdrop of censorship and misinformation, at this rate, we will all end up nuked out like 1984’s Airstrip One.

For more information, please read my previous article: GE Spokesperson Speaks to Wake Up World About Fukushima Nuclear Disaster.


Previous articles by Ethan:

About the author:

Ethan Indigo SmithEthan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California.

The events of September 11, 2001 inspired him to write his first book,  The Complete Patriot’s Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism, an insightful exploration of  history, philosophy and contemporary politics.

Blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality and humour, Ethan’s more recent publications include:

Visit Ethan on  Facebook  and check out  Ethan’s author page  on

This article edited by Andy Whiteley for Wake Up World.

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