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Barron's Booknotes-1984 by George Orwell-Free Book Notes
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The new High order, according to Goldstein, is made up of bureaucrats, scientists, publicity experts and other middle-and upper-middle working-class people hungry for pure power and ruthless in their attempts to gain it. Compared to the old ruling class, they're unaffected by liberal ideas, and brutally efficient. Aided by print, TV and film, they have used propaganda and surveillance to expand their influence and to suppress private thoughts and actions.

This group consolidated its position through collectivism, or the abolition of private property, according to Goldstein. By abolishing private property, the new High order concentrated it in far fewer hands than before-their own. Collectively, he says, the Party in Oceania owns everything because it controls everything, and disposes of the products as it thinks fit.

The Party accomplished this by "collectivizing," taking over factories, mines, land, houses, transport in the name of Socialism. INGSOC "has in fact carried out the main item in the Socialist program, with the result... that economic inequality has been made permanent."

A ruling group, says Goldstein, can fall from power:

1. By being conquered from outside.

2. By a revolt of the masses.

3. By permitting a strong, discontented Middle group to develop.

4. By losing self-confidence and the will to rule.

A ruling class with a strong enough desire to rule can remain in power permanently, Goldstein says. The existence of superstates (WAR IS PEACE) eliminates the possibility of being conquered from outside. Since the masses have no basis for comparison, they don't know they're oppressed and won't revolt. Continuous warfare maintains morale and keeps out people from other societies.

The only remaining dangers to the Party are the rise of the Middle group and "the growth of liberalism and skepticism in their own ranks." To eliminate these dangers, society is organized as a pyramid. At its top is Big Brother, the infallible and adored figure created to focus the love, fear and reverence of the people. Next comes the Inner Party, the "brain" of the State. Next is the Outer Party, or "hands." At the base of the pyramid are the proles.

In principle anybody can enter any branch of the Party. The rulers are held together by belief in INGSOC and its aims. In fact, however, there's less mobility than there was in the old days of capitalism. Since membership is not passed down according to blood lines, the Party pretends to be above "class privilege"; but few people move from one group to another. Why not? The Party sees to it.

The Party perpetuates itself and its power by naming its successors. In order to remain in power forever, the Party keeps the proles in a state of ignorance and uses Thought Police to monitor Party members and prevent independent thought-and therefore questions about the system.

Thought Police make sure Party members hold the right opinions and have the right instincts by watching them constantly and weeding out anybody who deviates from the Party norm. From childhood Party members are trained in:

• Crimestop, or "protective stupidity"; in other words, stopping short of any dangerous thought.

• BlackWhite, or thinking of Big Brother as omnipotent and the Party as infallible even when they're not. This implies discipline-saying black is white if ordered. It also means believing it.

• Doublethink, or holding two contradictory beliefs at the same time, and believing both of them. This makes possible the alteration of the past (what Winston does at the office). With no past to compare things with, everybody is satisfied with present-day conditions. More important, changing the records safeguards the infallibility of the Party, removing from the records any hint that the Party was ever wrong about anything.

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Barron's Booknotes-1984 by George Orwell-Free Book Notes

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