Philip K. Dick’s Critique of Orwellian Totalitarianism

22/11/2023 02:49

Philip K. Dick’s Critique of Orwellian Totalitarianism


 The comparable novel to Orwell’s 1984, and complementary work of science fiction, is The Man In The High Castle, published and set in 1962, by US’ author, Philip K. Dick, in which the Axis Powers, that is, Japan and Germany, won the Second World War, and rule over the United States, although Italy’s Empire remains North African. In the novel's alternate history, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt is assassinated by Giuseppe Zangara in 1933, leading to US isolationism. Adolf Hitler’s German National Socialists (Nazis) conquer most of Europe, and the Soviet Union (Russia), murdering Jews, Roma, Slavs, and other groups, while Japan occupies Eastern Asia and Oceania. The Nazis, with help of their allies, conquer most of Africa. As Japan invaded the US’ West Coast, Germany invaded the East Coast. By 1947, the US and the remaining Allies surrendered to the Axis, ending the war.



 By the 1960s, similarly to Orwell’s Oceania (Ingsoc), Eurasia, and Eastasia in 1984, Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany are competing superpowers, with Japan establishing the ‘Pacific States of America’ (P.S.A.), along the former West Coast United States, and the remaining Rocky Mountain States, Great Plains States and Texas, are a neutral buffer zone between the P.S.A. and the Nazi-occupied former Eastern United States. In the East, ‘The South’ is a racist puppet regime, collaborating with the Nazis, and consisting of many of the states of the Old Confederacy, that is, the states that were defeated by the North, during the term in office of President Abraham Lincoln, in the Civil War of 1861-5, to put an end to black slavery. The United States of America still nominally exists in the Northeast, controlled by a German military governor, while North America’s Canada remains distinct, and more liberal from the point of view of the enslaved; for example, popular US’ comedian, Bob Hope, is depicted as doing a radio show from there, like William Joyce, disparagingly known as Lord Haw-Haw, a free Briton, who helped the Nazis, according to the real events of WWII, by broadcasting Nazi propaganda from Germany.

 In a particularly noxious piece of writing, in which Arthur Seyss-Inquart, who fought for the Austro-Hungarian Empire in support of Germany in WWI, became Chancellor of Austria during the Anschluss of 1938 in which, annexed by invasion of the Wehrmacht (army), Austria became a German province, Ostmark, while Seyss-Inquart afterwards became Reichsstatthalter (governor) of the occupied Netherlands, as he oversaw the extermination of Dutch Jews and other minorities, in Dick’s The Man In The High Castle, he oversees the extermination of the peoples of Africa, and their skulls are used as bowls for the devouring of their brains.



 Hitler, though still alive, is incapacitated from advanced syphilis, and his private secretary, Martin Bormann, is acting Chancellor of Germany, with anti-semite propaganda Minister, Paul Joseph Goebbels (who succeeds), Chief of Security, Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich, commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe (air force), Hermann Göring, and others vying to take his place. The Nazis have colonized the Moon, Venus, and Mars, which suggests that the colonists will be taking cancer with them. The novel, which is another instance of what the implementation of a liberal education would be from the perspective of the amoral enslaver, is set mostly in San Francisco, state of California, West Coast, where Chinese residents are second-class citizens, while black people are slaves.



 The plot is of a coup to remove Goebbels by ‘Dandelion’ group member, Reinhard Heydrich, and Carsten Nørgaard in the 2015-19 web TV series from Prime Video, The Man In The High Castle, was the actor in the role of undercover Nazi defector Rudolf Wegener, posing as Baynes, a Swedish industrialist, who discloses to a Japanese General the group’s plan to annihilate its traditional fishermen’s culture in a battle for Japan’s Home Islands, Hokkaido (北海道), Honshu (本州), Kyushu (九州), Shikoku (四国), and Okinawa (沖縄本島), which presumably would result in Japanese skulls being used as the equivalent of sushi (ちらし寿司)bowls to fish out the contents and feel their lips with Philip K.’s sticks:


‘It is far from easy to be a good man. In fact, as one gets older, it becomes more and more difficult to know what a good man is. Yet it also becomes increasingly important to at least try.’1


1 Nørgaard, Carsten as Rudolf Wegener, ‘A Way Out’, Episode 10, Season 1, The Man In The High Castle, Prime Video, November 20th, 2015.