Monday, May 18, 2020

1984, George Orwell

I believe this is the 3rd time I've read it ... blogs, Goodreads and Kindle make records for the last "decade" or so much better. It looks like the last time was 2012 (I failed to blog it), and the time before that was likely "late 1970s".

Pretty much everyone knows the jist of it ... Winston Smith, Big Brother, Newspeak, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, total lack of privacy, eternal war. "INGSOC" (English Socialism) with its sacred principles -- Newspeak, doublethink, the mutability of the past. It is a classic that all would be well served to read merely so we have a "common framework".

In the time prior to "1950", that was true for the "elite educated" as so well covered by Buckley in "God And Man At Yale". Today, more than in Orwell's time, we see that one of the chief focuses of "The State", "The Party" (TP- Democrat as I like to call it), the media, the mass market, etc is to define that "common framework" ... the "Common Myth" through which the powers that be want to be certain we ALL see as "truth". "Moral Believing Animals" explains how that "World View" is built and accepted by all of us -- what differs is the specifics of our model, and how hard it is to communicate with someone who has a different World View (model). 

Back in 2012 I was assuming that we were quickly headed  for a future somewhat like "1984" ... shortages, being forced to ONLY do things the way the "Politically Correct" state demanded, or to suffer "consequences". There were rumors that my banishment from IBM was partially due to my insufficient celebration of gay "marriage". My comforting thought then was that an armed populace would somehow "head that off". 

Fast forward to today,. and I am utterly amazed by the level of fear and the urge not only to comply with whatever changing directive the state throws out, but to turn in others who fail to sufficiently bow to those orders. Initially, we were "flattening the curve" for "a few weeks" during which masks were NOT ADVISED because we needed those for the "front line". 

Then, no "curve" developed, and even in the hottest of hot spots (NYC), the big navy hospital ship called in to handle the non-existent "curve". left, and healthcare workers around the nation were put on furlough, since every "non-essential" procedure was not being done. 

When we had been advised to NOT wear masks, we were told they did not work every well, and EVERYONE was eventually going to get this virus anyway!  We were not wearing the masks and only going to "safe places" like WalMart, Costco, Home Depot and liquor stores because they were "essential", however churches, corner bars and other small businesses were not! We had to FLATTEN  THAT CURVE, because many/most of us were going to need a ventilator! 

Now it seems that the virus is very non-lethal (like .2-.4 death rate, much less for the young, essentially zero for preteen), and "at some point", it is critical to develop "herd immunity" -- BUT NOT NOW! Oh, and the masks DEFINITELY protect others -- and maybe even you. In any case, they will protect you from dirty looks and online haranguing -- you most probably will feel virtuous wearing one!

How deliciously Orwellian! 

Poor Winston Smith required massive torture to finally learn to love Big Brother. Apparently, for our coddled culture, all that was needed was a little virus fear, media hype, and some Facebook shaming! 

George messed up a bit on sex. He seemed to think that it was too dangerous to allow sexual freedom. Apparently, TOTAL sexual freedom provided through abortion on demand, birth control and abandonment of all sexual morality for pure hedonism is even more effective. My sense is that abortion is key -- one you are willing to celebrate the killing of the most vulnerable, the abandonment of any other thought of morality is a walk in the park.  

It seems that we have proven that the worship of pleasure destroys the family, and as Orwell understood, once the family goes, Big Brother is there! He will provide -- and in much greater level of hedonistic enjoyment and freedom from ANY responsibility or labor than Orwell postulated. 

As we now see, the modern "Big Brother" may well tell you to hunker down at home, wear a mask, send in all your money above a certain "fair income", but he certainly won't restrict any of your sexual proclivities (except possibly chastity). He will just insure that your life a totally meaningless pursuit of earthly pleasure, with an absolute minimum of responsibility beyond increasingly slavish worship of Big Brother, and and regular "Two Minute Hate" (currently of Trump). You are required to signal your "virtue" to your fellow Big Brother believers via posting approved hate memes on social media. 

Orwell's dystopian vision was very dark ... our Fascism comes with a disarming smiley face

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