Since the beginning of humanity, there have always been the rulers, and the ruled. The rulers have always been the government, and the ruled has always been the people. One would believe that the government would be truthful and be interested in their people's well being, but clearly, this is not the case. In fact, lies are often more common than the truth. Facts are changed based on the governing party's current needs. The government wants to control their people, to have an unquestioning, thoughtless population that make them more powerful, as this is their main priority. As a generalisation, the government is more interested in their well-being than that of the people who drive it.
It has been said that you cannot rewrite history, as it has already happened, and it cannot be changed. While history itself cannot be changed, the records of it can, and are. Governments often change certain facts that conflict with their current ideology, to make things more convenient for themselves. If a previous statement does not conform with the what the governing party currently is saying, it would be changed, the record of it happening obliterated. This is a common occurrence in 1984, and Winston is one of the culprits. In chapter four he explains the process: "As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continued alteration was applied ... to every kind of literature or documentation.... In this way every prediction made by the party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. ... In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place."(Orwell 39/40) The idea is not solely contained in 1984, either. In The Press Corpse, "The [Downing Street] memo says we gotta work to make the facts fit the false charges." (Anti-Flag, 1-2) What these two texts have in common is the idea of the government changing the facts, or past, to conform with what they are saying at present.
Another common theme is that of the government attempting to control its people for power gain. In the chorus of The Press Corpse, they state that; "They [the government] don't want to talk, talk, talk, talk, talk about it/ They want to tiptoe, walk around it/Wave the flag and mindlessly salute!/They don't want to talk, talk, talk, talk, talk about it/ they want to tiptoe, walk around it/ wave the flag and cowardly salute!" (Anti-Flag, 15-20) This shows that the government does not want its people to think, it just wants to control them as they live unquestioningly. "Wave the flag and mindlessly salute" is the government wanting its people to not think, not question, just live for the USA and stand behind the USA, as the USA uses them to become more powerful. In 1984 as well, this idea comes up often. While Winston is in the Ministry Of Love, O'Brien asks him why he thinks the Party wants power. When he answers, "for our own good" incorrectly, O'Brien explains the real reason: "The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness; only power, pure power. ... We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard the revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish a dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of power is power." (Orwell, 263) What O'Brien is saying is that, to control the people is to control the country. And controlling the country is to having...
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