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Once upon an afternoon, when the clocks were striking thirteen,

the people all did just as they were told, for they were all on the telescreen.

    And none of them objected; indeed, they all felt specially blessed,

    for they all believed whole-heartedly that Big Brother always knows best.

They saw his picture everywhere, on billboards and posted on walls.

He smiled benignly down on them in the streets and in public halls.

    Every person in Oceania has an important role to play.

    The Party ensures that we play our roles by scheduling events throughout the day.

Every morning an exercise boosts our heart's beating rate

as we scream rage at the enemy du jour in the daily two-minute hate.

    Thus filled with renewed fervor for the Party and the State

    I hurry to my jobsite, for I dare not come in late.

Consigning history to the memory hole in my isolation booth,

I spend my day lying about the past in the Ministry of Truth.

    Deceit and manipulation are necessary for the Party to maintain control

    from the highest Party member to the lowest, most benighted prole.

To keep the proles subdued and docile the Party's sloganeers

create an heroic paradise by stoking people's fears.

    The enemy's all around us, the Party likes to say,

    but to protect our cherished nation only Big Brother knows the way.

Struggle nurtures toughness, he says, so go to any length.

Ignorance is wisdom and obedience is strength.

    Yes, this doublethink is nothing more than dishonest linguistic voodoo,

    but though they don't believe it themselves, the Thought Police will ensure that you do.

Intelligent dialogue and reasoned dissent have all been completely hushed

and the human spirit and its creativity have brutally been crushed.

    So now we're stuck in this dystopic world; there's nothing we can do,

    except to give you a warning so this won't happen to you.

Remember that it's really all too easy, as anyone might guess

to justify taking vigorous action your neighbor to oppress.

    Yes, now you're in a bit of a quandary over just what you must do.

    You dislike hearing what some people say, but your rights are their rights too.

Nobody can own the truth, so accept that you just might be wrong.

The willingness to face that fact is what makes a people strong.

    In the free market of ideas and beliefs you must always entertain doubt,

    so no one can lie and deceive you for long; the truth will always come out.

Now you know: the First Amendment is, of all good things, the greatest treasure you possess,

so never give up: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press.


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