Of course our educational system has deteriorated almost to the point of non-existence, but not all of our lack of an educated population can be laid at the doorstep of the NEA. Unfortunately, some great literary works are simply ahead of their time and because of that they pass into oblivion before their relevance is truly known. I think this is the case with “Brave New World”, which deals with cloning, drugs, and promiscuity and “1984” which deals with distortion of the truth and government surveillance.
The novel “1984” is a multi-dimensional work that has largely fallen out of favor and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it is because so much of it is true today that it has lost its impact and the people who should be teaching and reading it, have not experienced the world before these things became commonplace. It must be remembered that this novel was published in 1934 and television didn’t really exist. But when it was published the idea of having moving pictures broadcast into your home was revolutionary much less having the television watching you. Today everyone has a television and while that television doesn’t exactly watch you, we are nevertheless under constant surveillance. There are cameras everywhere—some obvious but many obscure and others hidden altogether. This is done for our ‘protection” so it is accepted with few if any complaints – just like “1984”. However, this isn’t what brings me to contemplate the relevance of this novel, because there are three other things in this novel that I think people should stop and consider.
First, there is the running theme throughout this work that words in “Newspeak” have different meanings than they used to. This of course is true on the surface but when you stop and think about these words and their meaning today, you will find that perhaps George Orwell wasn’t too far off. For example, I cite “love is hate and hate is love”. At the superficial level of Newspeak this is merely a contradiction in terms, but step back and apply this concept to some of our liberal and conservative thought positions, such as; homelessness, welfare, and affirmative action. These are all things “loved” by the left and “hated” by the right but on closer examination and with a little thought it can be argued that the left actually “hates” the homeless, the poor, and minorities, while the right actually “loves” these.
For example the left will (and is already) spending large sums of money on the homeless by providing them with shelters, food, clothing, and in some cities (San Francisco) a stipend, thus “proving “ that they “love” the homeless even though living on the street can be exceedingly dangerous, unsanitary, and a threat to public safety. Being homeless is their ‘right” no matter what its impact is upon society as a whole and it our responsibility to make them as comfortable as possible, thus demonstrating our love and respect for them. It could be argued that this also demonstrates our superiority – Noblesse Oblige.
The right on the other hand strives to take the homeless off of the streets by forcing them into shelters, by limiting the amount of time they can receive aid, by forcing them into drug rehabilitation, and putting them into custody if they fail to comply with the law (no public urination or sleeping under overpasses). All of these actions are viewed as a clear demonstration of the insensitivity of the right-wing, in effect demonstrating that they “hate” the homeless, but do they? Is giving them food and shelter – forced or not – wrong? Isn’t the purpose of homeless programs to make them NOT homeless? Isn’t improving their life, getting them off of drugs, giving them shelter, training them for employment, better than simply enabling their self-destructive behavior? Or is the purpose of “programs for the homeless” to make them comfortable being homeless? Note that many of these programs are justified on the basis of reducing the number of homeless but do in fact enable homelessness. The attitude spoken or not, seems to be that the homeless have a “right” to be homeless and the rest of us must accept their decision regardless of its impact on our lives. Doesn’t the public good take precedence over an individual’s right to self-determination? I submit that the liberal left is not only enabling self-destructive behavior but that they and their well meaning programs are a form of class warfare intended to keep some members of society in the lowest class while allowing them to pat themselves on the back for all of their good deeds. I further submit that the left hates the homeless while the right is attempting to actually help them and thus loves the homeless. Or as George Orwell so aptly said “Love is Hate, Hate is Love”, but that isn’t all that he said. What about “War is Peace and Peace is War?”
The left the world over is for peace. They demonstrate at the drop of a hat over anything that (in their opinion) even remotely appears to be aggressive. They have demonstrated against the B-1 bomber, the B-2 bomber, Star Wars, military deployments, ROTC, any new weapons, bigger defense budgets, and anything having to do with the American military or American interests. It is worth pointing out these same peace loving people also demonstrate in support of Fidel Castro, the Palestinian Murderers, Ho Chi Minh, the Arab Cause, the Sandinistas, Saddam Hussein, and generally any regime that announces it is “for the people” regardless of their obvious brutality and subjugation of those same people. Apparently, Peace in their eyes does not mean freedom from death and conflict, it just means that these are kept out of the public eye. For these people Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly apparently do not matter as long as there is no American presence and a controlled economy. The fundamental belief for the Peace activists appears to be that Peace can be defined as a “lack of war”.
But what about those people who favor a strong defense budget, a large an effective military, programs to defend the weak, and programs intended to thwart terrorism, governmental murder, and the subjugation of their people by a variety of dictators? Are these people, war mongers? History tells us just the opposite and in fact history would demonstrate that the very philosophies and positions taken by the Peace Activists lead inevitably to war and bloodshed, while those of the “hawks” either lead directly to peace or to much less bloodshed. The Roman Empire endured for a thousand years and during that period the people prospered, yet
had a huge Army that was engaged in small wars and skirmishes for that entire
time. Had it not been for their well
trained Army and a willingness to use it, Rome
would have perished. Of course there are
those who would say that the Pax Romana was maintained by the subjugation and
oppression of all of those they conquered.
There is a grain of truth to this argument because there were those
people who wanted to be free of Rome but not to be free as much as to subjugate
and oppress free of Roman interference.
The fact is the greatest majority of the people within the Rome Roman Empire were quite satisfied with the
situation. In fact most of the
barbarians who pressed Roman frontiers really didn’t want to crush , they wanted to
become Roman. Rome
This latter point is one that seems to be lost on the “peace at any cost” crowd because most of the world wants to become “American” and those that are opposing American dominance and wish to be “free” from American Imperialism are much like those that opposed Rome, they really want to oppress and subjugate without interference from America. Unfortunately, American Imperialism is much less overt than Roman Imperialism because it is cultural and economic. However, that isn’t the point, the point is that what the Peace activists see as “war mongering” might more accurately be viewed as “peace mongering”. Thomas Jefferson crushed the Barbary Pirates and that ended the piracy issue against American shipping. General Pershing crushed the Philippine (Muslims) rebels and that ended that until recently when the Muslims once again are in revolt against secular authority. President Truman dropped the atomic bomb and ended WW II at a stroke, costing hundreds of thousands of lives but saving millions. This can be contrasted to the peace lobby who prevailed in the 1930’s in their attempts to “give peace a chance”, which was simply interpreted by Hitler as weakness and led directly to WW II. Therefore, once again George Orwell appears to be correct in that War is peace and peace is war. But of all of Orwell’s vision of the future none is more clear cut and chilling than the role of his protagonist, Harry Winston.
Harry Winston was charged with “rewriting history”. When I first read this book, I saw this as an example of how a dictatorship (ala the
) laid claim to events that
never transpired – in effect a form of propaganda. Like so many people I dismissed it as a
literary mechanism because history is simply recording facts, facts that cannot
be disputed because they were witnessed by thousands. Yet every day I see history being rewritten
not through lying but through interpretation and omission. Thomas Jefferson was a slave owning hypocrite
who didn’t believe in nor practice the glorious words he wrote down. George Washington was another slave owner who
didn’t believe in the ideals he fought for and deserves little to no credit for
his role in founding the nation. Harry
Truman was a power mad Dr. Strangelove who needlessly slaughtered thousands of
innocent people when all he had to do was threaten. We have been witnesses to the deification of
Jack Kennedy at the expense of Lyndon Johnson with the USSR debacle being laid at the
doorstep of Nixon and Johnson rather than Kennedy who initiated it. We find that the Civil War was about slavery
rather than about States Rights. More
recently we see the Los Angeles Times digitally altering a photograph to imply
a threatening soldier rather than a soldier with his gun pointed away in a
non-threatening position. There is
another very famous photo of a Vietnamese Colonel shooting a Viet Cong in the
head at point blank range – a summary execution. What was not reported was that the Viet Cong
had MOMENTS before shot an unarmed family of four who were lying at his feet at
that very moment. The colonel simply
shot him too late but the implication was that this was the summary execution
of an unarmed captive soldier. So
history was written by omitting certain facts that did not support the desired
viewpoint, which was the South Vietnamese were thugs, the Americans
Imperialists, and the Vietcong valiant patriots. Viet Nam
History is a fragile thing and historically it has been written by the victors. Certainly the Gallic Wars would be quite different if they were written by the Germans and Gauls rather than by Caesar. Still if you read enough history written by various people on both sides you can eventually develop a relatively truthful view of events, but that was before political correctness. Today history is being rewritten not by the victors but by a small number of activists who wish to twist the facts to support their own agendas, which almost universally are left leaning. We are rapidly, if we aren’t already there, approaching a point where newspapers cannot be trusted to report the facts, that history books cannot be relied upon to give an accurate view, and pictures are no longer worth 1000 words but are not worth anything because they cannot be relied upon to reflect the truth. In effect, political correctness has infected our society with multi-culturalism, moral relativism, and immorality masquerading as morality and the victim appears to be history.
I have no glib answers to this problem but the Alarm was sounded by George Orwell over 70 years ago and it grows louder each day. 1984 is upon us and the words and pictures that surround us carry the aura of Newspeak, where nothing is as it appears and frequently is exactly the opposite of what it appears to be. Be vigilant.