Monday, October 18, 2010

Why the Ministry of Truth Would Love the E-book

(I do have ideas floating around in my head for another food-type post for tomorrow and a yummy GAPS recipe for Wednesday's post. However, today I just don't feel like writing them out, so I'm pleased to present another guest post from my dear husband. - Janice)

How many of us, during high school or college, read the book “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell? If not, or if your memory has faded over the years, here is a quick review:

The novel, written in 1949, predicted what life could be like by the year 1984. Every aspect of life was dominated by Big Brother, an all powerful dictator who literally watches your every move via surveillance systems. Mind control and propaganda were administered by the Ministry of Truth, who revised history, altered documents and photos and insured every aspect of society was molded to support the agenda of Big Brother. The book basically expressed a fear of totalitarianism by an all powerful government with the ability to control not only people’s actions, but their thoughts as well.

Now, keep the theme of that book in mind as I describe a recent discussion of college instructors on the value of e-books. During a discussion concerning rental verses purchased text books for students, the option of e-books came up. Immediately, many instructors began praising this new technology, sparking a brief conversation on the subject. As I listened to the comments and descriptions, I heard some predicting the end of physical paper books in the future and how “green and environmentally friendly” that would be. Some spoke of how wonderful e-books are in relation to the immediate ability to edit the books, correcting mistakes and adding updates as needed. No one would even know the mistake or update was made, as the corrected version immediately replaces the old version online.

As usual, I found myself to be the lone wolf, the only person in the room who did not seem to view this latest technological advancement as anything other than manna from Heaven. I could not help but think how much easier censorship will be once all books are electronic. You don’t have to physically go door to door and collect the books like the Nazis did, all the government would have to do is hit the DELETE button on some master system and poof, no more book. How soon until the latest version of the Ministry of Truth searches e-book by e-book deciding what we should or should not read? “This book is offensive to ….” and “That book promotes anti-government views.” and so on. What isn’t deleted would be modified. I would predict the Holy Bible would be a prime target of selective editing. Within a few generations, no one would even know the original version anymore.

You may call me paranoid, but I can see this becoming reality. Even George Orwell didn’t predict the ease to which the e-book could make his nightmare come true. Take some time and read “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, and get the e-book version, you have to love irony.


  1. CREEPY! You're ahead of the curve on this one. I've never heard anyone point this out yet. VERY good point, this will come back to haunt us.
    There are many politically correct history books and Bibles out there now. Today, left-wing publishers are to blame, but with future books being online, a government agency could easily make those changes.
    We must rely on our memory to reflect on your prediction, as I fear such web blogs as yours will be eliminated "in the interest of public safety" before then.
    Ron Paul in 2012!

  2. OK that thought scared me. I am firm beleiver that unless we fight it Big Brother WILL take over every aspect of our lives

    Thanks Shawn

  3. I for one find comfort with the idea of protective agencies gaining the ability to review online books. We need to be protected from racists, lies about our leaders, religious myths promoted as science and social injustice. We have police and fire agencies to protect us, we seem to have no problem with that.
    We elect leaders who are more wise and caring that the average man. We are like children who must be protected from ourselves. When left to our own desires, we become selfish and dangerous. Our behavior must be controlled and eliminating misinformation is key to that. If someone is promoting hate and fear, especially against our own leaders, there is a duty to remove it from the view of the people.
    I am confused by your blog. You promote organic foods, yet support the killing of our fellow lifeforms. You speak of wanting a better world to live in, yet promote weapons and the idea that sections of our planet can be purchased and owned as private property. I don't understand you.

  4. Anonymous, I cannot decide if you are sincere in your comments or if you are using sarcasm to make fun of socialists. We do not need to be "protected" from any information. It is our duty as productive, functioning adults to be able to review all information available and come to our own conclusions. If you must have someone filter out information, then what does that say about your own ability to rationalize and think critically?

    As far as my blog goes, I'm sorry it's confusing to you. My blog is about freedom. The freedom to choose organic produce, raw milk, and grassfed meats if I choose. The freedom to own firearms. The freedom to educate our children the way we see best. The freedom to own land and do with that land what we choose. The freedom to hear opposing viewpoints and use our own logic to choose what's accurate and what's rubbish.

    If your comment is sincere, then I'm afraid that you are sorely underestimating the capabilities of the American people. You may be incapable of sorting through information and therefore feel the need to be limited, but my family does not. We are capable of using logic. We use the intelligence that God has blessed us with. I am not looking for someone else to "dumb down" my environment just so I have one less decision to make.

    I sincerely hope you were being sarcastic, because if you are sincere, then I am really saddened at the low opinion you have of yourself.

  5. I know that this is an old post, but I am reading you whole blog from the beginning. I thought I would let you know that the book Nineteen Eighty Four is now a banned book. There is a list of 50 Banned Books Everyone Should Read and I have taken it upon myself to get copies of these books so my children can read them.

  6. Anonymous,

    How neat to have someone reading the blog from the beginning. Thanks for stopping by!

    I didn't realize that the book was considered "banned," although I'm not surprised. In the past few months Shawn and I have started collecting classic literature. We intend to use it for homeschooling, but (like you) we want to obtain them now in case there is a time in the future where those works are no longer available.

    I'll have to check out the list of 50 Banned Books and see what else is considered too offensive to read.

    Take care,