ジョージ・オーウェル『1984年』 - 管理社会/監視社会と自由の制限

 ジョージ・オーウェル(注:George Orwell, 1903-1950:英国の作家で,全体主義的・管理社会的ディストピア反ユートピアの世界を描いた『1984年』で有名/ラッセルのこのエッセイはオーウェルの死後4年目に書かれたことになる。)の『1984年』は,まさに読者を戦慄させた,身の毛のよだつような本である。けれども,この本は,疑いもなく,著者が意図した効果(影響)をもたなかった。(注:オーウェルが自ら語っているように,彼は民主社会主義者であり,彼はこの小説において社会主義そのものを糾弾しているのではなく,当時のソ連に象徴される全体主義的な社会や国家を批判していることに注意)。

George Orwell’s 1984 is a gruesome book which duly made its readers shudder. It did not, however, have the effect which no doubt its author intended. People remarked that Orwell was very ill when he wrote it, and in fact died soon afterward. They rather enjoyed the frisson that its horrors gave them and thought: “Oh well, of course it will never be as bad as that except in Russia! Obviously the author enjoys gloom; and so do we, as long as we don’t take it seriously.” Having soothed themselves with these comfortable falsehoods, people proceeded on their way to make Orwell’s prognostications come true. Bit by bit, and step by step, the world has been marching toward the realization of Orwell’s nightmares; but because the march has been gradual, people have not realized how far it has taken them on this fatal road.
Only those who remember the world before 1914 can adequately realize how much has already been lost. In that happy age, one could travel without a passport, everywhere except in Russia. One could freely express any political opinion, except in Russia. Press censorship was unknown, except in Russia. Any white man could emigrate freely to any part of the world. The limitations of freedom in Czarist Russia were regarded with horror throughout the rest of the civilized world, and the power of the Russian Secret Police was regarded as an abomination. Russia is still worse than the Western World, not because the Western World has preserved its liberties, but because, while it has been losing them, Russia has marched farther in the direction of tyranny than any Czar ever thought of going.
出典: Symptoms of Orwell’s 1984l,(1954).