“What you’re about to read is a vision of the future,” the teacher told her class.
“If you expect to read a tale of space travel … or a story focused on happy, prosperous people living in a bright, sparkling city of tomorrow, you need to prepare yourself for something completely different.
“Jimmy Jones, if you could develop an appreciation for books that rivals your love of the Beatles, you could get into an Ivy League School.”
The teacher combined her admonition with an appeal: “JJ, I assure you that you’ll find no ‘Flying Circus’ within the pages of this novel, but the author is British, and given your world view, that ought to count for something.”
The large young man grabbed a box of 40 books and put one on the desk of each of his 35 classmates.
Then she said, “Class, there are three goals to which we all should aspire. We need to think clearly, speak clearly and write clearly.
“We all know that words have meaning, and that some words have many different meanings. But what would happen if a government sought to control its citizens by the deliberate distortion of language?
“Prepare to encounter ‘newspeak’ and discover the consequences of calculated, confusing communication, designed to discourage independent thought and action.
“George Orwell’s book is titled ‘1984,’ and that’s only 10 years from now. You’ll read of a future that’s quite distressing. A future based on language control, thought control and collective control through a surveillance state.
“Could something like that happen here? Read this book and decide for yourself.”
For the next two weeks, the class immersed itself in Orwell’s dystopian tale, discussing the distressing, foreboding future presented in the text.
And then, the future arrived.
JJ did in fact become a lawyer, and Big Guy eventually became a federal lawmaker.
Both marveled that the USA in 1984 was nothing like Orwell’s “1984.” Ronald Reagan carried every state except Minnesota en route to his second term.
The same was true 10 years later. Big Guy became part of a big class of conservative congressmen — over 70, who won a Republican House Majority for the first time in 40 years.
Almost 30 years have passed.
A terror attack on our soil and a decision that collective security should be emphasized over personal liberty.
A computer revolution that encouraged surveillance and enriched tech firms, which in turn offered allegiance to the business and the bottom line rather than the county that made their success possible.
The election of a president, heralded as “post racial,” who instead became our “most racial,” inserting race and other wedge issues into virtually every public debate.
A public education system transmogrified into a political indoctrination system, populated with leftist grievance mongers who promote “wokeism” — a political movement designed to intimidate by shutting down debate and insisting on uniformity.
And “pandemic panic,” where sound science took a backseat to political science and government curtailed our freedom of movement as well as our right to work.
Through it all, echoes of “Newspeak…”
Ignorance is strength…
Uniformity is diversity…
War is peace…
Equity — not equality!
Two weeks to flatten the curve.
Sadly, it’s become clear… 1984 is finally here.