10 George Orwell Quotes that Predicted Life in 2016 America

August 14, 2014   |   Justin King

George Orwell is as accurate now as he was when 1984 was originally published, possibly even more so.

Justin King

(ANTIMEDIA) George Orwell ranks among the most profound social critics of the modern era. Some of his quotations, more than a half a century old, show the depth of understanding an enlightened mind can have about the future.

“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”

Though many in the modern age have the will to bury their head in the sand when it comes to political matters, nobody can only concern themselves with the proverbial pebble in their shoe. If one is successful in avoiding politics, at some point the effects of the political decisions they abstained from participating in will reach their front door. More often than not, by that time the person has already lost whatever whisper of a voice the government has allowed them.

“All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.”

Examining the nightly news in the run up to almost any military intervention will find scores of talking heads crying for blood to flow in the streets of some city the name of which they just learned to pronounce. Once the bullets start flying, those that clamored for war will still be safely on set bringing you up-to-the-minute coverage of the carnage while their stock in Raytheon climbs.

“War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.”

It’s pretty self-explanatory and while it may be hard to swallow, it’s certainly true. All it takes is a quick look at who benefited from the recent wars waged by the United States to see George Orwell’s quip take life.

“The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.”

My most prized books are a collection of history books from around the world. I have an Iraqi book that recounts the glory of Saddam Hussein’s victory over the United States in 1991. I have books from three different nations claiming that one of their citizens was the first to fly. As some of the most powerful nations in the world agree to let certain facts be “forgotten,” the trend will only get worse. History is written by the victor, and the victor will never be asked if he told the truth.

“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Even without commentary, the reader is probably picturing Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning. The revolutions of the future will not be fought with bullets and explosives, but with little bits of data traveling around the world destroying the false narratives with which governments shackle their citizens.

“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”

Make no mistake about it; if an article does not anger someone, it is nothing more than a public relations piece. Most of what passes for news today is little more than an official sounding advertisement for a product, service, or belief.

“In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer…”

In every conflict, it is not the side that can inflict the most damage, but the side that can sustain the most damage that ultimately prevails. History is full of situations in which a military “won the battles but lost the war.”

“The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

Haditha. Panjwai. Maywand District. Mahmudiyah. These names probably don’t ring a bell, but it is almost a certainty that the reader is aware of the brutality that occurred in Benghazi. The main difference is that in the first four incidents, those committing the acts of brutality were wearing an American flag on their shoulder.

“Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.”

Everyday there is a new form of censorship or a new method of forcing people into self-censorship, and the people shrug it off because it only relates to a small minority. By the time the people realize their ability to express disapproval has been completely restricted, it may be too late. That brings us to George Orwell’s most haunting quote.

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

Once the people are indoctrinated with nationalistic beliefs, and the infrastructure to protect them from some constantly-changing and ever-expanding definition of an enemy is in place, there is no ability for the people to regain liberty. By the time all of the pieces are in place, not only is opportunity to regain freedom lost, but the will to achieve freedom has also evaporated. The reader will truly love Big Brother.


This article (10 George Orwell Quotes that Predicted Life in 2016 America) is free and open source. Image credit: wikimedia.org. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Justin King and TheAntiMedia.org

Author: Justin King

Justin King joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in July of 2014. His topics of interest include activism, human rights, international relations, and military affairs. Born in Japan, he currently resides in the United States.

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40 Comments

  1. There's a book written by a Russian author, that I believe when translated is called "We", that at least in 1984, was even more accurate than Orwell's 1984. I don't know if that still stands true to this day, because I haven't read it myself, but I remember then reading a big article about the eeriness of it's accuracy.

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  2. Frank, I fuckin agree…“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

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  3. Yea cuz Chelsea Manning 'told the truth' and didn't just dump a metric sh*t ton of unread sensitive information onto the internet. 99% of which had nothing to do with US War Crimes. I hope he deeply regrets putting countless innocent lives at risk.

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  4. “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”
    Take Ferguson, MO for instance. Most of the people in the United States would have never heard about the police killing the boy unless there were people looting (horror of horrors) while the police are preoccupied forcefully ending the protests.

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  5. Comrades! Us communists are on your side! The revolution will happen one day!

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  6. Citations of specific works would have been great.

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  7. Exactly. The world today is backwards and it is cause of the dumbness that plaqued this nation for years.

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  8. War is peace of mind? Freedom is slov,enly! GET UP. STAND UP.

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  9. Wtf exactly got leaked outside of that helicopter incident. I really didn't keep up with it after that

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  10. Ghst TheRenegade There were 750,000 pages of sensitive information that manning just basically handed over. A tiny, tiny fraction of those pertained to any US wrongdoing. Was high treason.

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  11. Matt Bird She deserves what she got than. Unless all of it was I could care less

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  12. Thank you for agreeing with Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton on the importance of Nationalism and mainstream journalism which serves as stenographers to
    public relations for government spokesmen. Winston Smith was a traitor.

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  13. My favorite is from 1984:
    "The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact."
    Call it war on Communism, Drugs, Terrorism… just fill the blank, formula stands true.

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  14. Karl Wetherby with a religous symbol on it .. pick one

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  15. won't be communism .. it'll be a religous extremist movement that will win

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  16. I have a book out, titled LIVING IN 1984–AMERICA'S FLIRTATION WITH FASCISM, which explores further these points. We are living in dangerous times.

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  17. Great collection of quotes but there are some inconsistencies with the commentary, and, dare-I-say-it, with Orwell's own words. Both Orwell and Justin King pinpoint 'Nationalism' as the source of oppression, forgetting that Nationalism's antithesis is responsible for more oppression and suffering throughout history. As far as Orwell's concerned, his criticism of Nationalism was probably a product of his time (and he may have fallen for some of the very tricks the above quotes signify – e.g. 'Media relations', 'history is written by the victor' and 'objective truth'). Nationalism, in its true sense, is simply to be concerned with your own folk group and to want to live in peace. Imperialism is not Nationalism. State borders are not Nationalism. The Stars and Stripes is not Nationalism. The British Monarchy is not Nationalism. When Imperialism or genocide are combined with a Nationalist movement they are hijacking it. Much like Marxism attempts to hijack human, animal and eco rights movements. And if you look at the mainstream media today… what is their primary 'public relations' concern? Demonising the very concept of nation.

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  18. George Orwell, among others opened my eyes in Jr. High. One that is not in this list is, ''We have sunk to a level at which restating the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men''.

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  19. Google is right at your fingertips, brother…

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  20. What agency do you work for?

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  21. Yevgeny Zamyatin – We (1921) If you Google it you can find a free pdf of the book.

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  22. Yevgeny Zamyatin – We (1921) If you Google it you can find a free pdf of the book.

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  23. Indeed it would, because some of these quotes have never been found in Orwell's writing (notably the "times of universal deceit" one), but they keep getting passed around on the Web as his anyway.

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  24. The author had Google at their fingertips as well. I am not the one trying to pass off incited quotes mike.

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  25. Thus, your statement.

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  26. I too read it in junior high. Always in the back my mind. Now it is too late. Any ideas?

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  27. What's funny is that I used that as the quote of the day early this week.

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  28. Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.

    Albert Einstein

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  29. I suggest reading 'Notes on Nationalism', an essay filled with truly profound quotations. It is applicable today to when it was written in the mid 40's.

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  30. What a trash article, written as clickbait. The author of the article clearly did not read 1984 but instead picked quotes which fit his narrative. The actual world depicted in 1984 is very little like the world we live in today.

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  31. What a trash article, written as clickbait. The author of the article clearly did not read 1984 but instead picked quotes which fit his narrative. The actual world depicted in 1984 is very little like the world we live in today.

    Post a Reply
  32. Karl Wetherby That is the vision of a very paranoid person's view of the world.

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  33. Karl Wetherby That is the vision of a very paranoid person's view of the world.

    Post a Reply

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