English Question

The novel 1984 by George Orwell focuses on a fictional government’s abuse of power in its efforts to manipulate and control its citizens. Is fiction becoming reality? In the novel, the government uses a number of tools to maintain power including:
Constant surveillance
Unending propaganda
Distortion of language
Historical revisionism
Perpetual war
Lack of Habeas Corpus
It is easy to see that nations like the former Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Communist China during Mao’s reign all had aspects of an Orwellian state, and North Korea today certainly fits that description – one only need replace the late Kim Jong-il for Big Brother. Many argue that such a government could never succeed here in the United States. However, since the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, we have seen the passing of the Patriot Act, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and the revelations of illegal wiretapping, “extraordinary rendition” and government sanctioned torture. More recently, we have seen assassinations of American citizens by use of drones. And with the recent actions by former President Trump and the storming of the capitol, many are concerned that we are getting extremely close to authoritarianism. Using examples from the book and the key points mentioned above, argue whether or not the actions of the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration and the Trump Administration are steps leading us toward an authoritarian or fascist state, or whether they are appropriate actions and behavior for a democracy.

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