Is It 1984?
September 17, 2018
Before I start today's column, How about a free movie? You can watch the Dinesh D'Souza's documentary "Death of a Nation" on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Fallon Theater. It is absolutely free and worth the time to see.
In his successor to "Animal Farm" George Orwell set forth in "1984" his vision of a fictional totalitarian state called Oceania. In this book, war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, up is down, left is right. Big Brother is watching. The "Inner Circle" controls the message to the "Outer Circle."
Any news or data detrimental to Big Brother is altered to be positive. For example, if wheat production is down 5 percent, it is changed to be up 5 percent. The Outer Circle is indoctrinated from birth by the beliefs of the Inner Circle. There is a monitor in everyone's home. Everyone is constantly surveilled.
There are several quotes in the book that are meaningful. For example, "He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past." This essentially says that whoever is in charge can rewrite history to suit their needs. Then there is, "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face- forever."
Big Brother ascribed to a philosophy called Doublethink. Doublethink is the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. Combine with doublethink that a lie is the truth until it is a lie and you have a recipe for total disinformation.
Who knew in 1949 that Orwell would be so prescient of life in 2018? While we are not Oceania there are certainly some parallels. Today we are surveilled virtually around the clock, albeit often voluntarily. Nearly every home has a computer, tablet, smart phone, or smart TV that gathers information about your every use and sends it to a third party that often makes the data available to the government.
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Your movements are tracked by your cell phone and the GPS unit in your car. At many intersections there are traffic cams that capture vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Your phone records can be made available to law enforcement with ease. The NSA now captures and stores call information on millions of calls. No one in the public really knows just how much information the NSA really stores.
Elected officials and career bureaucrats use the power of government agencies to spy on opponents using the flimsiest of excuses. They didn't surveil anyone directly on the Trump campaign, but ordered surveillance on those they knew would be in close contact with Trump. The IRS was used as a bludgeon to stifle the Tea Party movement against Obama. News reporters not beneficial to Obama were surveilled, most notably Sharyl Attkisson.
Students in public schools and in nearly all colleges are now being subtly indoctrinated. On many college campuses, socialism is taught constantly while capitalism is rarely mentioned unless in a detrimental manner. Political correctness and fear of firearms is a common theme.
The national media is complicit in this new world of disinformation. They are part of the Inner Circle that readily spreads lies and disinformation. They regularly publish opinion under the guise of news. They rarely check facts if the story fits their agenda. "A lie is the truth until it is a lie." Orwell again.
Obama is even getting back into this subterfuge. He recently made the claim that today's economy is due to him. Huh? After eight years of under 1 percent growth the message was that was the new normal. Remember that? And even the 1 percent growth was attained by changing the way growth was calculated. He told Trump that 3 percent growth was impossible, but he now wants credit for today's economic growth. Sounds like doublethink to me. He was right. Three percent growth was not possible. Four percent growth now is the norm.
Orwell wrote "1984" after World War II as a warning against totalitarianism. It seems that the left has incorporated the philosophies set out in the book as their new guide, aided by Alinski's "Rules for Radicals." In other words, the left has paid more attention to the warning than the rest of us, and is using it to their advantage.
Another Orwell quote is, "Orthodoxy means not thinking — not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness." Let us not fall into the trap of complacency while socialism overtakes us.
Tom Riggins' column appears every other Wednesday. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.