From 1984 to 2024

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,” wrote George Orwell at the outset of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Given that we are in April of 2024, now is a good time to check the United States of America for comparisons to the novel.

Under English Socialism (Ingsoc), Big Brother supposedly watches over all, but goods are in short supply and the people must queue up for everything. In the Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith finds that “statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version.” Under Ingsoc, things were as good as they could be, and since the Party controlled the present, it also controlled the past.

“Centuries of capitalism were held to have produced nothing of value. One could not learn history from architecture any more than one could learn it from books. Streets, inscriptions memorial stones, the names of streets—anything that might throw light on the past had been systematically altered.” In other words, “history has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

In Oceania, as Smith observes, only the Thought Police are efficient, and “the family had become in effect an extension of the Thought Police.” Children had been “systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report their deviations.” The omnipresent telescreens give the Party a window on every person.

The people must follow Party orthodoxy and show the requisite level of enthusiasm, lest the Thought Police arrest them for facecrime or ownlife. The Party sponsors “Hate Week,” the “Two minutes hate,” and so forth.

“Orthodoxy means not thinking, not needing to think,” Orwell explained. “Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.” Newspeak narrows the range of thought, and the U.S. Declaration of Independence could only be described as crimethink.

Winston Smith and his lover Julia pledge to fight the Party but are quickly uncovered, arrested and tortured. As Party inquisitor O’Brien explains: “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only pure power.” And so on, with parallels obvious to all but the willful blind.

As evangelists of the 1619 Project contend, the United States is nothing more than a bastion of racist oppression. So anything that would throw light on the past must be destroyed, altered, or ignored. For the woke, America’s founding documents are pure crimethink.

“Our Democracy” is code for one-party hegemony. In Conrad Black’s phrase, Joe Biden is a “wax-works effigy of a president,” and behind the scenes, the “inner Party” cadres call the shots. The notion that men can be women and vice versa, is official government ideology, imposed in the schools. Parents who object are branded violent extremists or domestic terrorists.

Orwell’s Ministry of Truth had a counterpart in the Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board, once headed by Nina Jankowicz. The Democrat insider, an aspiring chanteuse, was on board with the Russia hoax and other fables. The DGB was short lived, but the establishment media plays by their rules.

Orwell’s telescreens have nothing on the current surveillance state. The National Security Agency strip-mines personal data, and Tech companies censor information at the behest of the state. As in Oceania, ignorance is strength, but there’s more to it.

1984’s “Hate Week” finds an equivalent in Joe Biden’s Sept. 1, 2022 speech, backdropped in red with Marines at the ready. According to the Delaware Democrat, people who want the nation to be great are the major threat to “Our Democracy.” As embattled Americans should know, the obvious parallels don’t tell the whole story.

In the USSR and Soviet Bloc readers understood that 1984 was all about 1948, and Orwell was on record that the book was anti-Stalin. The Communist dictator tolerated no opposition, and his secret police kept the people in line. As Sidney Hook explained in Out of Step, Stalin staged elaborate show trials with the outcome predetermined.

The FBI now functions as Biden’s KGB, openly targeting his political opposition. Last year the FBI shot dead Craig Robertson, a 75-year-old woodworker, for things he had allegedly posted on line, and at this writing there has been no independent investigation. The Jan. 6 proceedings amount to a show trial, with some defendants held without trial in draconian conditions. And so on.

“Our Democracy” has a lot in common with a Stalinist regime, which Orwell was on about in 1984. He wrote it on the island of Jura in the Hebrides, and typed the whole book himself, working day and night. According to publisher Fredric Warburg, the manuscript “came in virtually perfect, with hardly a comma wrong.” That betokens deep inspiration, which comes through in Orwell Remembered.

“His kind has walked this way before,” wrote the poet Paul Potts, who stayed with Orwell on Jura. “You will find them in the Bible. Amos might have been his cousin once removed.” For Orwell’s friend Malcolm Muggeridge, “there was something loveable and sweet about him, and without any question, an element of authentic prophecy in his terrible vision of the future.” In America in 2024, without any question, all the clocks are striking thirteen.

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