We have the laws and institutions to fight attempts at information control
By David Kaye
Yevgeny Zamyatin's strikingly original 1920s Russian novel We gets read far less than its canonical English-language descendants, Brave New World and 1984. Yet George Orwell knew of and clearly drew from Zamyatin's book in creating 1984. The homage-paying is obvious: A solitary hero struggles to define himself in relation to society; a state and its mysteriously cultish leader control privacy, information, and thought; love is prohibited and freedom is categorically rejected; the violence and brutality of power lurk beneath a seemingly clean and mechanized society; common words are redefined and propaganda is pervasive in daily life; and, in total, reality is rejected in favor of myths and lies.