The book “1984″ was written by George Orwell, and published in 1949. The book is set in the future, in a country called Oceania, which is a dictatorship. The principle character, Winston Smith, works in the Ministry of Truth, which controls the news, entertainment, and propaganda. His job is to rewrite history to conform to the current understanding of events. When a conflict appears between current statements or thoughts and what was said in the past, it is Winston’s job to correct the situation by deleting past references or modifying them so they conform with current thought.
In this topsy turvy world of “1984″, we also saw The Ministry of Peace, which dealt with war, The Ministry of Plenty which dealt with economics and rationing, and The Ministry of Love, which dealt with law and order.
In “1984″, the population was subjected to extreme surveillance. Today, we have a National Security Agency (NSA) that does not respect the rule of law and is implementing vast oversight and monitoring of our phone calls. We now have a no-fly list where once placed upon the list, the person cannot challenge why they wound up on the list. The right of Habeas Corpus, specifically mentioned in the Constitution, has been suspended for people suspected of terrorist acts, and has resulted in their unlimited detention. More and more restrictions on personal liberty are being sold as necessary for the safety of our country. As we drift away from the Constitution, for whatever reason, we also drift away from the rule of law to the rule of men.
In “1984″, the news was highly controlled and censored. Only news that was favorable to the government was allowed. Today, we have a proposal from the Federal Communications Commission to place government monitors in the newsrooms of television and radio stations. Their purpose would be to query the news people and editors as to why they place emphasis on certain stories and chose to run them over other stories.
In the “1984″ society, you have a supreme leader issuing laws and edict by fiat. Oceania was not a democracy or a republic. It was a dictatorship. In contrast, we have a Constitution that is the law of the land, and defines a legislative process whereby the Legislature writes the laws and the President faithfully executes them. The greatest attribute of our country has been its faithful execution of the rule of laws, not of men.
However, President Obama has moved beyond signing statements, minor modifications to signed legislation that is as old as our country. Never, in the history of our country have we had a President who just rewrites or adds text to modify existing legislation to suit his personal whims. President Obama has made major changes to such laws as coal, immigration, the Affordable Care Act, and the minimum wage laws. None of these laws allow for changes by Presidential fiat.
In “1984″, everyone from school kids to adults were constantly being indoctrinated in a specified way of thinking. This exists today in our inner city schools, where we have thousands of school kids trapped in grossly underperforming schools, and politicians who will not allow for school choice. The various teacher unions are dead set against school choice and want to keep these kids in poor performing schools, day after day, where they are indoctrinated to accept the current liberal mantra.
In “1984″, we were introduced to the Newspeak language. Signs were everywhere with slogans such as WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. Again, the purpose of this language was to control society into thinking that war was good, freedom was bad, and lack of knowledge was good.
The fictional language “Newspeak” was used to get the people to think along the lines of the dictatorship. Now Newspeak is drifting into our current language as various people proclaim the loss of work hours and/or jobs due to the Affordable Care Act is really a positive event in their lives. No longer will they be “job bound” having to hold a job they don’t want, just so they can have health insurance coverage.
The New York Times Editorial Board stated “…That is mostly a good thing, a liberating result of the law….” The Minority leader of House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated, “They are following their aspirations to be a writer; to be self-employed; to start a business. This is the entrepreneurial piece. So it’s not going to cost jobs. It’s going to shift how people make a living and reach their aspirations….this was one of the goals. To give people life, a healthy life, liberty to pursue their happiness. And that liberty is to not be job-locked, but to follow their passion.”
Having your hours reduced or, even worse, finding yourself out of work, yes, you may find your healthcare costs covered, most likely you will be living on food stamps, living in subsidized housing, and getting your clothes through charity, but will you really have the desire to pursue that dream career? When you struggle to put food on the table, buying clothes for you and your family, your thoughts are most likely about how to survive.
Have we reached 1984 yet?…..No, but we are definitely headed in the direction of an ever expanding government with more government control over the population. President Obama has sued Standard & Poors for a credit downgrade, and earlier tried to silence the insurance companies that criticized the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare. Our freedoms are disappearing, all in the guise of safety for the state. Lastly, a country founded upon the individual is being replaced by values that place the state above the individual.
George Orwell once said, “He who controls the past, controls the future. He who controls the present, controls the past.”
Question – How many more freedoms do we have to loose before the people say, enough is enough, and take corrective action?…….or Is there another Winston Smith out there ready to come to work tomorrow at a new government Ministry of Truth?
- Bob Hancock