Would George Orwell, author of "1984," have made a good director of the federal office of Personnel Management?

We will never know because the famous British writer died some years ago and was not a registered Republican anyway.

The question comes up as a result of an intriguing item in the current issue of Management magazine, a publication produced by the OPM for government straw bosses, supervisors and executives. In its "Nitty Gritty" section, dealing with futuristic personnel concepts, the magazine reports:

"In 10 years Westinghouse will market a system to monitor employe thoughts." The article continues: "By analyzing brain waves, employers will know if their workers are concentrating. 'We think it's a good measure of mental workload,' said Louis Harris of Westinghouse's Human Services Laboratory. His lab is testing a 'baseball cap' helmet which hooks into a brain-wave monitoring computer and flashes warnings if the wearer's attention wanders."

At present, federal managers must look for glazed eyeballs or listen for snoring sounds to determine who is thinking un-federal thoughts.

When the "are-you-thinking?" caps come out, you can bet the General Services Administration will make the mind-reading beanies a stock item in its catalogue of office supplies for federal agencies.