What Little Information Journalists

In the modern world, if one wanted to find a concrete example of the cult of the personality, doublespeak, and perpetual war found in the totalitarian state of 1984, North Korea is the prime example. If we wish the US to remain the beacon of personal freedom that it claims to be, we need to be sure that we do not follow the same path.

What little information journalists can get from within North Korea’s borders paints a terrible picture. Reports of their planned economy share strong similarities to Orwell's idea of manipulation through scarcity of resources to mind. The government claims to produce enough to feed the population, yet a third of the population does not receive a proper diet. The army gets first access to food and power shortages are a common occurrence. This draws parallels to the lies the party tells about the number of rations available and then editing those lies later. They lie to keep the people just satisfied enough not to fight back, but not so satisfied as to want more than the government wishes to give them. The North Korean people believe their Great Leader, Kim Il-sung, is a God that rules even from the afterlife and his grandson, the Dear Leader, rules in this life. This draws many similarities to the mindless acceptance and reverence of the party’s tenets and the blind hatred of Goldstein.

Kim Jong Un has applied Orwell's methods of planned economy and totalitarian control in North Korea thoroughly. Like Ingsoc has in Oceania, Kim Jong Un uses powerful propaganda to make people submissive and content. One can recognize Orwell's model of rewriting history inNorth Korea's museums. The people are told that the Dear Leader has provided modern houses and farm mechanization, despite that citizens live in primitive conditions and the only tractor one sees is given from the EU. The government has realized the need for an enemy to keep people afraid and controlled, the enemy being the US. Similar to Orwell's model, any access to the outside world is strictly forbidden. Their internet can only access information their leader believes they should possess, and they have never heard of the World Wide Web. The only foreign leaders citizens admire are Stalin and Mao. And the most western thing they are exposed to is “The Sound of Music.” Like in 1984, children are targeted for their malleability and are made to sing songs about how happy they are and how they do not envy the West. As scary as Orwell's novel appears to be, it is hard to believe it could be realized in our contemporary world. North Korea seems to be part of the 21st century, but it threatens the values of the rest of the world.

Based on tales told by the few people permitted to travel to the country, it's clear that North Korea exemplifies the world which Orwell described in 1984. If Orwell was trying to warn us of a possible scenario for our future, we need to look no further than North Korea to see just what it could look like. 1984 has been such a success and continues to be years later because it speaks to all times and all nations. Whatever the country or time in history, you can draw similarities between the politics of that nation and 1984. It's like looking into a broken mirror when gazing into the world 1984, we all see fragments of ourselves looking back.