In today’s gathering dark clouds, a reread of Nineteen eighteen-four shows how another prescient George Orwell was wrong to think that people should be tortured into submission. Half of America (still mentally closed, vexed and vaxed) wouldn’t have it any other way.
The world of Nineteen eighteen-four is grim in a way 2022 will understand. The people of Orwell’s future wanted to rule. They have come to like it. Freedom from choice makes them safe. People accept being monitored, and their news is censored. They think about everything with a sense of inevitability – the only way to stay safe is if they think about everything. All the sight of phones in their homes and snitches and spies in their lives is even better, really. The language itself was changed not to prevent dissent but to make it impossible.
In Nineteen eighteen-four, the government controls and changes all the media, sending past events that are no longer political in the memory. Today, we have legacy media to do that for us. We cannot read a newspaper or look at a document with the expectation that some part of it is true. Americans love fake news. To take the same example, the truth is that there is no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. He designed everything, thought twice with the instructional “contents” like toilet tape so unreal they would not make it into the B-series. Michael Cohen has never been to Prague. The FBI had to lie to get a FISA warrant to spy on Trump associates. However, the majority of Americans still believe that everything is true, and look for advertising that touches on the edge of the story. 2 + 2 can equal 5, if you believe it does.
To take another example, Hunter Biden has benefited from the marketing of his father’s work. He made millions from China and Ukraine selling wine. However the news has done with the full support of about half of the American people to lose the story and influence the 2020 election. Once pushed under the water, the story never came back in time, and it probably won’t be for the 2024 race either.
When I Googled Hunter’s name I saw a flurry of stories about his battles with various addictions. Most Americans welcome the sleight of hand. They don’t want another bad administration. They want censorship to clean that up. The government does not have to police; In America, journalists are asked to suspend other journalists’ First Amendment rights based on opinion if things get out of hand.
Orwell’s Two Minutes of Hate is when the public is told to express hatred for the enemies of the state, whether it makes sense or not. The Brett Kavanaugh hearing is a welcome addition to this, using a mix of victims, politicians, and the MSM to whip up a crowd. Social media, especially Twitter, serves the same purpose over and over again: we love Andrew Cuomo as an anti-Trump until telling him to hate him as a bully. Is Dr. Fauci the good guy or the bad guy this week? Your family is also a target as white friends said to “Write letters to your relatives and loved ones telling them that you will not visit them or answer the phone until they are at work important in the promotion of black life.”
In Nineteen eighteen-four, Criticism of the Board is the worst sin, punishable by unemployment, unemployment, and personal loss (dismissal). Although America has so far excluded physical abuse (in Newspeak, further inquiry) of Nineteen eighteen-four-style removed, the rest of the tool works. Party orthodoxy is replaced by the sin of criticizing diversity and being denounced as racism. All industries – education, advertising, entertainment – are controlled by doubling down on anti-discrimination labels. Most of the media we consume, and what our children learn in school, is filtered, judged, and censored by an ideological condition.
If you want to keep your job in those jobs and more, you have to beat Big Brother, and most are happy to do so. Those who fall out of agreement with the Party in In 1984 became “no people,” disappeared with all the evidence of their destroyed lives. In 2022, they were deplatformed. Organizations do not punish dissent so much as find dissent impossible.
Orwell was thinking about the need for a big Ministry of Truth to control society when in fact all he did was make some lies about whether calling Covid-19 the “Chinese flu” was racist and the collision of natural-is-falling objects. Fear the problem and encourage the defenders to take the solution. Tasks: you must provide a safe community. If you don’t, you are selfish; you have sinned against your neighbor.
When Orwell wrote Nineteen eighteen-four, it is impossible to think of any organization more powerful than the government, supported by the secret police and the army. He can’t imagine the world’s media and his companion dog running, social media, analyzing what we read and giving away tools. He has not seen the end of the capitalist world, a handful of people with almost all the money that can buy the rights and social changes they want.
Instead of adapting to this reality and pushing back, progressive Americans support it. They roll like dogs in the mud over the idea that when the government can’t censor Dr. Seuss, the company can do it. They are happy to pretend that censorship is not censorship because for now at least, only things they don’t like are being censored. They like to pretend it doesn’t matter if it’s from a private place.
In 2022 America, we not only voluntarily accept surveys, but we want more because it makes shopping easier. We spend billions of dollars to buy and maintain 24/7 devices on our people that track our locations, record our communications, and learn and analyze our personal behavior through preferences. porn to fashion choices, everything is so Amazon can recommend products to us. The tracking we have been sold before is the way to keep us safe from terrorist attacks that have not come, then write to our organizations to keep us safe from Covid -19 crisis kept as long as possible. We want Big Brother to know where we’ve been so he can warn us not to associate with the “sick” people there. Passport vaccination to label and reward compliance? Yes, please, if it means we can go to ballgames.
We love the surveillance tool when it helps to catch the “right” people. We fetishize how cell phone data was used to release people during the Capitol riots, together with face recognition running against images uploaded on social media, helped by the People love snitching, catch them. There’s even a do-it-yourself version of facial recognition being used to help police ID rioters. The goal is to lock people up if possible, but most honest people seem equally willing if they can put someone out of a job.
As a young man, I visited Soviet Eastern Europe. I live in China and live in Taiwan under dictatorship. I have spoken to survivors of the Constitution and torture victims of Seoul’s years of military rule. I’m older now, and know when I’ve seen something before. Orwellian? Orwell was an amateur.