In choosing the headline for this essay, I realized that it peripherally applied to me. I hope that I am still relevant in a world gone crazy with endless nonsense conjured up by those seeking absolute power. Revolutions purporting to establish a Utopian society to solve all perceived problems, likely solve none of them. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” was a ruse that led to great dictatorships and great misery. Every student of 20th century history has to completely oppose all who would lead us down that path.
No one did that better than the great writer George Orwell, whose novel about a dystopian future, “1984,” so starkly portrayed the problems with dangerous mind-bending ideologies that it is still relevant today. Published in June 1949 just a year before Orwell’s death, the prophetic novel concerns an individual, Winston Smith, living in a mythical society called Oceania, where the Party run by Big Brother controls everyone through their Thought Police who prosecute Thought Crimes. Orwell talked about Newspeak where language was manipulated to suit the needs of the Party and Doublethink where contradictory beliefs were simultaneously accepted as correct.
The population in Oceania was controlled by four ministries. The Ministry of Peace dealt with war. The Ministry of Plenty handled economic affairs such as rationing and starvation. The Ministry of Love kept law and order through torture and brainwashing. And the Ministry of Truth dealt with propaganda.
Even though Orwell intended 1984 to apply to the Soviet Union of his era, he got so much correct about ideologically-based totalitarian societies that we have no problem seeing shades of a grim dystopian future descending upon us again. When the monstrous Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin died in 1953, just four years after the publication of 1984, a great relief spread around the world. Yet the Soviet Union did not collapse for another 40 years. “The image of a boot stamping across the human face” was one of Orwell’s memorable images, still applicable to those continuing the Soviet legacy in North Korea and China today. Happily, we in the West are still a long ways from that portion of the Orwellian nightmare.
What makes Orwellian images so relevant to us are the modern attacks on language and history to try to force conformity to the ideology of the Left. “Political correctness,” observed Theodore Dalrymple, “is communist propaganda writ small.” On college campuses, anyone daring to disagree with the Party is charged with “denial,” “microaggressions” and “hate speech.” The latter term is especially Orwellian.
And of course modern totalitarians are busy destroying statues of historical figures to alter the past so that it conforms to their views of where we should be headed. As Orwell explained “Who controls the past controls the future.” His words from 70 years ago are frightening:
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
Today, we are constantly confronted with Doublespeak, where political discourse is much the opposite of what the words describe. Although Orwell never used the term, it is a combination of his Newspeak and Doublethink.
Take for instance the Ministry of Truth, now called the New York Times, deciding recently that they will drop their “Russian Collusion” narrative about President Trump in favor of a “racism” narrative. In other words, Trump is no longer a Russian agent, he is now a “racist.” This decision is to carry their “journalists” through the Presidential election in 2020, regardless of the facts. It not only allows the Ministry of Truth to portray President Trump as a racist but also all of his followers. And it dovetails nicely with the Ministry of Love, which keeps the underclass in line with a constant barrage of hate. Never mind that such charges have no factual basis.
The truth is much the opposite. Those who are pushing these narratives are/were far more involved with the Russians than Trump and far more racist than anything we have seen since the days of George Wallace. Race defines them. It allows them to divide and conquer, by once again pitting ethnic and racial groups against one another. Let’s not forget that Democrats have a long history of doing this, from the George Wallace Southern Democrats all the way back to the Ku Klux Klan and the Civil War. In Oregon in the 1920s, the KKK was synonymous with the Democratic Party. Democrats have tried to erase that part of their history, because they want to use variations of the same political strategies over and over again.
If George Orwell were still alive today, he would very well understand what Democrats are doing.
Orwell would also understand why Democrats and their allies in the media have seized science from scientists. The Ministry of Truth finds it extremely convenient for their propaganda. If they can claim a scientific basis for their remarkably destructive plans, they can claim great objectivity for the “urgent task” of remaking the world to suit themselves. Too many scientists play along, either because they are already members of the Party, or because they are beholden to the Party for their livelihoods.
So we get an endless stream of disinformation, designed to prove that the Earth is experiencing a climate crisis. The disinformation may have a shred of truth to it. That makes it slightly more difficult to prove that the Party is lying. But disinformation is a lie, because it suggests something that is ultimately far from true, such as a pending catastrophe.
All summer long, the Ministry of Truth has been trying to redefine “Summer” as “Climate Change.” For instance, the inevitable heat waves somewhere are billed as unusual. Indeed the heat wave in Western Europe broke heat records. But so did the cold wave in Eastern Europe and Russia that the Ministry of Truth ignored. Alaska was briefly warm as we in the Pacific Northwest were unusually cool. Both of these events had a well understood origin that the Party did not want explained. Large dips in the Jet Stream allowed cold Arctic air to descend into mid-latitudes, while permitting warm tropical or desert air to come north. This has nothing to do with atmospheric carbon dioxide, a fact that greatly spoils the propaganda value.
Then there were the claims that July 2019 was the warmest month “ever.” This was based on the Party’s reworking of past surface station records to cool the past and warm the present. Rewriting the past is straight out of Orwell. It is a Thought Crime to believe that July 1998 is the warmest month in the NASA UAH satellite records. They really hate the truth.
And it will surely provoke the Thought Police to further suggest that we might well have been warmer in the Dust Bowl of the 1930 and early 1940s. We had quite a number of record hot 100+ degree F days in the early years of weather observations at Portland Airport (1941 to 1945), but none so far this summer. Going back much further, even the Great Global Warming Guru James Hansen admits that the Minoan, Roman, and Medieval Warm Periods were warmer than the present.
One remarkable departure from the Doublespeak is apparently coming from Michael Moore’s new documentary film that started out as feature for the Ministry of Truth, promoting renewable energy. But as they got further into it, even the notorious Moore could not stomach all the disinformation from the climate cartel, and the documentary turned into an expose.
As in 1984, some within the Party are beginning to revolt. Is this a turning point? Orwell would be pleased.
Gordon J. Fulks lives in Corbett and can be reached at email@example.com. He holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago’s Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research and has no conflicts of interest on this subject.