The Ministry Of Truth
As promised, this is a follow-up to last month’s article, The Ministry Of Plenty. Things seem right on track for the incoming government to proceed with goals that would see us plunging toward an environment eerily resembling Orwell’s descriptive 1984. Alarmist, you say? I think not.
One of the mainstays that controlled the environment of that novel was what Orwell called doublethink. If you can’t find some similarities in that and what we are currently witnessing, I don’t know what to tell you. Read this excerpt narrated by the novel’s main character’s thoughts:
“Winston sank his arms to his sides and slowly refilled his lungs with air. His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.”
This has been going on at least as long as we’ve heard politicians and citizens alike spout the gibberish about “supporting the troops, but not supporting the war,” has it not? Claiming to support capitalism and socialism at the same time is another example. Allowing the Constitution to be ignored or ridiculed under the guise of upholding “Constitutional rights” definitely qualifies, don’t you think? The very destruction of individualism requires an adherence to the principles of doublethink. And if anyone can argue that morality has not been simultaneously repudiated by folks laying claim to it – well, all I can say is that your argument would fall way short – even in a debate of logic against logic.
As further proof of a good correlation here, let’s take a look at one more excerpt from the novel. You might recall that Winston, the main character, was employed in the Ministry Of Truth. His job in the “records” department of that ministry was to “adjust” the records of history and events to fit the present so that the Party and Big Brother could never be proven wrong. In this excerpt, he tells us the overall job of the Ministry Of Truth in the society:
“And the Records Department, after all, was itself only a single branch of the Ministry of Truth, whose primary job was not to reconstruct the past but to supply the citizens of Oceania with newspapers, films, textbooks, telescreen programmes, plays, novels -- with every conceivable kind of information, instruction, or entertainment, from a statue to a slogan, from a lyric poem to a biological treatise, and from a child's spelling-book to a Newspeak dictionary. And the Ministry had not only to supply the multifarious needs of the party, but also to repeat the whole operation at a lower level for the benefit of the proletariat. There was a whole chain of separate departments dealing with proletarian literature, music, drama, and entertainment generally. Here were produced rubbishy newspapers containing almost nothing except sport, crime and astrology, sensational five-cent novelettes, films oozing with sex, and sentimental songs which were composed entirely by mechanical means on a special kind of kaleidoscope known as a versificator. There was even a whole sub-section -- Pornosec, it was called in Newspeak -- engaged in producing the lowest kind of pornography, which was sent out in sealed packets and which no Party member, other than those who worked on it, was permitted to look at.”
If there is any doubt left that much of our “mainstream media” – our own Ministry Of Truth, if you will, doesn’t already resemble this description - again, I can’t help you.
The American people have continued to depend on our Ministry Of Truth even as we state the obvious, that much of it cannot be believed. The events that have led us to our current circumstances were foreseen decades ago, yet the blind eye some turned to the possibilities delivered the results to us all. It just took a little longer than Orwell predicted. The machinations of this Ministry Of Truth are in full swing to deliver that final blow with the reenactment of that oh-so-well defined in doublespeak, “Fairness Doctrine.” Watch for it with both eyes open and remember the mantra:
“WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”