Recent developments in global geopolitics have been reminding me of George Orwell's book, 1984. I read the book in high school, and decided to buy a new copy and re-read it to refresh my memory of the dystopian future laid out in the book ... signs of which are increasingly apparent today.
The book depicts a world in which Big Brother, the dictator of Oceania, or rather, members of his Thought Police, are always potentially watching and listening through a network of ubiquitous telescreens. Nothing is illegal, since there were no longer any laws; the country is in a perpetual state of war (alternating between Eurasia and Eastasia); and doublethink was actively promoted by the Party, embodied in its three primary slogans:
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
Last night, I was reading a passage that offered strong parallels to things I read and hear about in the news lately:
... if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -- if all records told the same tale -- then the lie passed into history and became truty. "Who controls the past," ran the Party slogan, "controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." ... "Reality control," they called it; in Newspeak, "doublethink."
... To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself -- that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed.
Tonight, while reading my daily CIvicActions electronic newsletter, I clicked on the link to the blog and watched a videoclip of Keith Olbermann invoking, amplifying and extending, ever so eloquently, many of the thoughts and fears I've been feeling lately. Keith defends Bill Clinton, assails Chris Wallace over his recent
attack on interview with Clinton on Fox News (Wallace also recently went after his own father, Mike Wallace), invokes George Orwell and revokes George Bush's "free pass". It is the most courageous commentary by a reporter I have ever witnessed, and gives me renewed faith that some members of the press are still dedicated to the truth. Rather than say more about his commentary, I'll simply include an embedded link to the YouTube clip below. Good night, and good luck, indeed!