I cannot help feeling that the Obama administration, and the entire American political class, has some frightening similarities to the dysfunctional and totalitarian government that George Orwell foresaw in his classic novel, “1984.” The loss of freedom, the frightening rise in power by the ruling political class, the declining quality of life for ordinary citizens, the manipulation and spin doctoring of reality, etc. are very similar to the storyline in “1984.”
Consider some George Orwell quotes, most of which come from the novel, and recent news accounts and events:
* Orwell Quote: “The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.”
* Obama Administration: During the lead up to and after the passage of Obama’s health care reform legislation, the President allowed members of his party to dehumanize those that had honest problems and issues with the legislation. Consider the slander:
– Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called those citizens opposed to Obama Care “un-American.”
– Florida Congressman Alan Grayson called those citizens opposed to Obama Care “knuckle dragging Neanderthals.”
– New York Congressman Charles Rangel likened those that opposed Obama Care to the real racists that opposed the early civil rights movement.
– Texas Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee also likened those opposed to Obama Care to the racists of the 1950s and 1960s.
– Alan Grayson stated that all Tea Party members were wearing white sheets 25 years ago, an obvious referral to the racist Ku Klux Klan movement.
Rather than celebrating diversity of opinion and debating the issues, the President allowed his henchman and women to bad mouth and slander those Americans for having a different opinion. Rather than acting Presidential and bringing people together by ending the name calling, the President became nothing more than the propagandist that Orwell talks about.
* Orwell Quote: “War is a way of shattering to pieces or pouring into the stratosphere or sinking in the depths of the seas, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.”
* Obama Administration: Although this problem existed long before the President came into office, he has done nothing to counter what Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex. The United States, by far, is the biggest investor into military resources, by any measure you chose, in the entire world. We have troops stationed all over the world, defending interests and property that no longer need to be defended. Why do we have tens of thousands of troops in Europe? The Iron Curtain is down, communism has been defeated but still, we waste taxpayer money stationing troops there. Why do we have almost 30,000 troops in South Korea? They have one of the strongest economies in the world, let South Korea defend itself. Why do we have tens of thousands of troops in Japan? They are unlikely to attack Pearl Harbor again and these troops would be useless against any aggressive move by the massive Chinese army. Why do we not reorient these resources from defense to tax reductions and helping ordinary American citizens? According to Orwell, that would make the masses more comfortable and intelligent, two aspects that the political class would see as a threat to their own power.
* Orwell Quote: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”
* Obama Administration: Shortly after coming into power, the Obama administration decided to change the language when describing Islamic terrorism. His administration went on a journey to purge Bush era terms like “war on terrorism,” “radical Islam,” “jihadist,” and Islamic terrorism” from all government publications, speeches, testimonies, etc. For example, rather than talk about “Islamic terrorism,” the administration wants everyone to talk about “violent extremism.”
Thus, it appears that Obama is trying to do the same word games that the government did in “1984.” By controling language, you can control the situation. The problem with such an approach is while it may give those in power more control over the debate of a specific issue, it obscures the true reality of the situation. If you do not understand the reality of an issue, the chances of successfully solving that issue are minimized. How can you argue against war if it has the same meaning as peace? How can you solve the problem of Islamic terrorism if you deny that it exists? Obama’s attempt to control the language will put us further away from understanding the root cause of the Islamic fanaticism and how to defend against it.
The further problem with this language gambit is that it has not worked. According to an October, 14, 2010 Yahoo News article, several studies are now showing that changing the language is not solving any problems. A study by the Brookings Institution in Washington found that between May, 2009 and May, 2010, the number of Middle Eastern Arabs expressing optimism in Obama’s approach toward their region dropped from 51% to 16% with those becoming discouraged with the President rising from 15% to 63%. A Pew Reserach Center study shows that in August, 2010, fewer Americans held a favorable view of Islam, 30%, than during the Bush administration (41%). The Pew study also found that more Americans (35%) say Islam encourages violence more than other religions, up from 25% in 2002.
Thus, not only is this process of muddying the waters of language a bad way to solve problems, these two studies show that Obama’s purging of our government’s vocabulary is not working, either domestically or abroad from an attitude perspective.
* Orwell Quote: “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past'”
* Obama Administration: three examples here where the administration has tried to control and suppress information and perpetuate the lie in order to advance its own agenda. If you can suppress contrary views, you can control the past, the present and the future that the political class wants.
The first example was from early in the Obama administration. EPA engineer, Alan Carlin, researched and then wrote a 98 page report that challenged some of the assumptions and predicted outcomes regarding global warming that were at odds with what the Obama administration wanted to hear. Mr. Carlin has an undergraduate degree in physics from Cal Tech and a PhD in economics from MIT so that he is not an uneducated scientist. However, he was told to suppress his findings and not communicate them to anyone outside of the agency. Rather than discuss his findings publicly and have a scientific debate over his conclusions, the political class, in this case the Obama administration, decided to suppress the analysis and possibly perpetuate the potential lie of global warming. In all of the news reports I saw in this matter, no one was questioning Mr. Carlin’s methodology, analysis, etc., it was purely a political suppression of information, something that Orwell would have been proud of. By suppressing information like this, the political class can control the debate and any kind of control is not good in a democratic society since it usually does not help arrive at the right solution for a problem. Is the administration tyring to pass the lie into history and make global warming the truth, contrary to a scientific conclusion that it was not the truth?
The EPA report suppression is not the only instance where the Obama administration tried to suppress information. A soldier at Fort Hood who videotaped the killing spree by Major Nidal Hasan was told by his commanding officer to delete the video. The soldier testified that a non-commissioned officer, acting on orders from an officer, was told to delete the video the same day of the shooting. Now why would anyone want to delete a videotaping of a live crime, wouldn’t it be a great piece of evidence at the trial of the shooter? Is the Obama administration trying to control the situation by controlling the information? No reason for that video to have been destroyed unless someone, somewhere high up the chain of command did not want to lose control of the situation, even if justice was not served in the process.
Finally, consider an Associated Press report that appeared on October 6, 2010. According to the article and a finding by the commission appointed by the President to investigate the Gulf oil spill disaster, the Obama White House deliberately blocked efforts by government scientists to tell the public just how bad the oil spill could become. The article also reported that other missteps and incompetence were also suppressed by the Administration.
According to the article, the commission’s documents “show that the White House was directly involved in controlling the message as it struggled to convey that it, not BP, was in charge of responding…” There is that pesky word again, controlling. Control the information and you can control the lie, control the lie and history will turn that lie into the truth. If the Obama administration focused more on the oil spill and the root cause of the Fort Hood shooting and the reality that global warming might be a piece of fiction, and less on controlling the lie, the country might be better off, even if the political class was worse off.
* Orwell Quote: “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
* Obama Administration: Consider an October 20, 2010 article from the Heritage Foundation that covered a speech that the President recently gave in Rockville, Maryland. In that speech he quoted from the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that each of us are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Sounds harmless enough, right? Celebrating our heritage. But look closely, he did not “exactly” quote the Declaration of Independence. The accurate quote reads as follows: We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
According to the article, the President omitted the exact same phrase from two other recent speeches, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 33rd Annual Awards Gala and at a New York City fundraiser. Once is an oversight, three times inside of a month is a trend. Sounds very Orwellian to me, “to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” Denying the words “By Their Creator” may run contrary to the President’s beliefs but it is our history. It all gets back to the examples above, the political class is constantly trying to control history, the lie, the information flow, and the decision process, all of which are detrimental to freedom.
* Orwell Quote: “There was no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live – did live, from habit that became instinct – in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”
* Obama Administration: Very simple analogy here, ” the Patriot Act.” Passed during the Bush Administrating and rubber stamped renewed under the Obama administration we are rapidly approaching this Orwellian world of surveillance. The scary thing is that Orwell probably did not imagine how many ways this quote could come true today. From getting access to our library records, tapping our phones, tracking our movements via our cell phone signal, monitoring our emails, observing our social network activity, watching us via thousands and thousands of public video cameras to easy to get warrants and wire taps, the pervasive intrusion into our lives by the political class is the Orwellian nightmare we face today, a reality not conducive to freedom at all.
* Orwell Quote: “Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
Obama Administration: the best example of Obama Orwellian thinking under this quote is the failed economic stimulus plan that Obama and the Democrats passed. The original purpose of the stimulus plan was to create jobs. When the stimulus money started to get spent but very few jobs were created, the * Obama administration changed gears and stated the economic stimulus package was to both create AND save jobs. However, when not many jobs were created AND saved, the administration came up with the term like jobs “affected” or “touched” by the economic stimulus package. Thus, if the first definition does not work, try a second definition and a third definition, etc., anything to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. In this case, the pure wind is the utter failure of the stimulus package to create solid jobs.
* Orwell Quote: “Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
* Obama Administration: The best example here is the whole problem of illegal immigration and the immigration law passed this summer by Arizona, a law that was patterned after the existing Federal law regarding illegal immigration. The Obama administration has gone to court in an attempt to overturn a law that a state wants to use to return illegal immigrants to their respective countries, hopefully improving the living conditions of the state’s citizens. At the same time, the Obama administration has been returning record numbers of illegal immigrants to their respective countries and has beefed up security along the Mexico/U.S. border. Sounds like Doublethink to me: from the Obama administrationn perspective, we will vilify the Arizona law for doing the same thing we are doing at the Federal level, i.e. returning illegal immigrants to their countries. Doing the same think but holding one effort as bad but the other effort as good.
* Orwell Quote: “Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”
* Obama Administration: This quote response is not just via the Obama administration but by the whole American political class. Right now, the politicians in this country control a large part of our retirement financials via Social Security, they control our retirement health care via Medicare, they control our personal wealth and income via dozens and dozens of government taxes and fees, they control the education of our kids via public schooling, they control a larger portion of our pre-retirement medical care via Obama Care, they control who we eventually get to vote for (via gerrymandering of Congressional districts, controlling of campaign financing sources, using taxpayer money to fund earmarks which are just campaign finance tools, etc.), they control and criminalize what substances we put into our bodies, they belittle us for daring to have a difference of opinion, and they control who gets certain rights based on sexual orientation. They use these forms of control to drain us of our individuality in order to make us more controllable and reliant on their needs and desires. Orwell nailed this one right on the nose when describing life under our political class in American today.
Very scary stuff. As Orwell predicted, the United States and other democracies around the world are at risk of failing not because of some outside agency or foe but by the devious and dishonest manipulations of truth and the ever increasing control by our own political class. That is why every election now becomes so critical if we are to turn back our march towards “1984” and again become a free country, of the people by the people and for the people.
We no longer can allow the political class to control the debate, control the language and control our lives. That is why many changes need to be implemented as soon as possible:
– Reduce government’s size by 10% a year for the next five years.
– Review and amend the Patriot Act to make it more freedom and liberty friendly.
– Stop gerrymandering Congressional districts to level the playing field between incumbents and new political candidates.
Implement term limits to eliminate politics as a career opportunity.
– Bring home almost all of our foreign deployed troops and begin downsizing the military-industrial complex.
– Start reducing the deficit and the debt grip politicians will hold over us for decades to come.
– Repeal Obama Care and fix the health care crisis the right way, not the controlling political class way.
So much work to do and so little time to do it before Orwell proves himself right. We are living George Orwell’s “1984” and it is disguised as Obama’s 2010 agenda. Stop the madness, stop the doublespeak, stop the lies.