As college freshman, most U.S. students were once required to read the novel “1984” by George Orwell. Why? Perhaps to remind students of the evil of unbridled political power wielded by a ruling elite. Following on the heels of WWII, this novel was published in 1949 when Communism was growing in power. This was indeed a perilous time for the world and for nations standing for liberty of thought and action.
Wikipedia summarizes: “The Oceanian province of Airstrip One was a nation in perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control, dictated by a political system under the control of a privileged Inner Party elite that persecutes all individualism and independent thinking as “thought crimes.” Their tyranny is headed by “Big Brother” the quasi-divine Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality.” Sound remotely familiar?
Perhaps this writer is to be forgiven if he sees governmental developments in America over the last 25 years as moving ever more rapidly toward the world of an omnipresent government. It started with the huge growth in local, state, regional and national governments.
During these 25 years, Americans have seen the consolidation of independent newspapers (and radio/TV) into huge corporations. We have seen ever smaller numbers of objective news gathering press/TV/radio journalists. The reporters remaining have become ever more dependent on government talking points and news briefings then reported as news. Now, it would seem, that only cable news and Internet delivery of information is trustworthy…and even then one must weigh carefully this reporting for “truth.” The phrase “information is power” comes to mind.
National news organizations seem as circumspect in reporting facts as was 1984’s Winston Smith who worked for the government “Ministry of Truth.” If the real truth is reported (contrary to government propaganda), reporters have had federal phone wire taps. Recently one national TV reporter was even charged with crimes against the state by the Department of Justice.
Money is the other contributing factor to our loss, as citizens, to a free and objective news media. Media people need to show a profit for the huge corporations who now own much of the nation’s newspapers/radio/TV reporting outlets. This has led to a much cozier relationship between government elites and news organizations.
National, state and even local candidates must spend huge sums advertising on TV and radio in an effort to be elected. About the best way this ruling elite can reach voters is by use of these news organizations. So politicians are dependent on news organization publicity and those same news organizations are dependent on the advertising revenue of the politicians.
One way this problem could be rectified, is to seriously limit the amount of days politicians can advertise and require the huge corporations, using the public’s airways to donate free air time to candidates. Can’t be done? That is the way the British have done it for years.
But what about Orwellian “thought crimes?” These were crimes of personal beliefs that the government deemed unacceptable. In 1984, the government attempts to control not only the speech and actions, but also the thoughts of its subjects. To entertain unacceptable thought was known as crime think in Newspeak, the ideologically purified dialect of the party.
Remind you of those who promote “politically correct” speech? Administration’s speech writer who are not to use the words “jihadist” or “Islamic terrorist?”
According to the ruling elite, just refer to the murder of 13 Fort Hood military personnel and wounding of 32 others by a Muslim radical as not terrorism but merely workplace violence. Then there is the murder of the American Ambassador to Libya and three other brave Americans in a terrorist attack which the U.S. State Department called, a “political demonstration” protesting a video.
A final example of politically correct speech is the recent change in the Associated Press Stylebook. From now on, no one will be described in an Associated Press news story as an “illegal immigrant,” “illegal alien,” “illegal,” or as “undocumented.” Now AP writers should say “a person entering or living in a country without legal permission.”
Today, our national media and governmental bodies seem to have embraced the concepts of George Orwell’s 1984 where ordinary words mean different things at different times. The objective is to confuse the citizens. Any thought or action becomes potentially treasonous or criminal, paralyzing those who might wish to defend their liberties. Sound familiar, IRS?
A management and marketing professional, Hall has earned a Master of Business Administration in management and a BA in Marketing. Dan has extensive knowledge in international marketing having worked and traveled in 48 countries. He and his wife, Phyllis, have lived in Lee’s Summit for the past 16 years.