Which Country Has Most Closely Matched the Dystopian Future of George Orwell's 1984?

The best answer to any question.
Feb. 5 2014 8:23 AM

Which Country Has Most Closely Matched the Dystopian Future of George Orwell's 1984?

462150311-this-undated-picture-released-from-north-koreas
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the command of Korean People's Army Unit 534.

Photo by KNS/AFP/Getty Images

This question originally appeared on Quora.

Answer by Todd Gardiner:

Advertisement

North Korea is a great example:

  • Perpetual state of war (perpetuated solely to constrain society)
  • Charismatic great leader (who has created a false cult of personality)
  • Media blackout and nonstop propaganda
  • Voicing any criticism of the government is a "thought crime."
  • The ministries may lack the names of 1984 (e.g., Ministry of Plenty), but the results are the same: war, propaganda, torture, starvation.
  • Members of the "Inner Party" have a very high standard of living.
  • A large proletariat class who are more politically free than the middle class but brutally oppressed economically

What is missing?

Universal surveillance. The technology and infrastructure to do this are lacking in North Korea, as are the funds to install it.

Three superstates of near-identical ideologies—although propaganda would conceal similarities—that can never defeat one another.

Newspeak or the creation of language-based societal limits.

But those last three are (in order) increasingly difficult to actually employ. Language, especially, is known to be impossible to control. (France has been trying this for centuries.)

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.