America’s Orwellian Liberalism

America’s Orwellian Liberalism

By Marvin
Folkertsma

The ink was barely dry on the
asterisk in Jimmy Hoffa, Jr.’s rant about taking out those “son-of-a-b*tches” –
referring to Tea Party members — when the vice president made his own
contribution at a Labor Day rally.  “This is a fight for the existence of
organized labor,” the veep shouted.  “You are the only ones who can stop the
barbarians at the gate!”  And the diatribes have continued with the
establishment of a website designed to track unfair comments made by those who,
in President Obama’s words, want to “cripple” America.  Congresswoman Maxine
Waters’ snippet about telling the Tea Party to “Go to H*ll!”(that pesky asterisk
again) added a nice sentimental touch, and some Wall Street protesters are denouncing free enterprise with
words snatched from Robespierre’s rich vocabulary.

 

This is pretty harsh stuff applied to
a menagerie of mostly gentle souls whose views of constitutional government
differ from those of President Obama & Company, but such perfervid comments
take on a clearer meaning when viewed in a more appropriate context: George
Orwell’s 1984.  That is, somehow the voices of liberalism today sound
less like traditional partisan pep-talks and more like Oceania’s “Two-Minute
Hate” sessions, where party members screamed at a giant telescreen filled with
the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, one of Big Brother’s objective enemies.  The
purpose was to deflect rage against miserable social conditions by directing it
to a foreign source, to siphon off the hatred by venting against Big Brother’s
enemies.

 

The parallels go beyond hurling
epithets at that massive Leon Trotsky lookalike in one of 1984‘s most
memorable scenes.  Consider the three slogans of the Party applied to today’s
Orwellian liberalism: “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” and “Ignorance is
Strength.”  As explained in The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical
Collectivism
, “the book” within the book, the purpose of war was to
preserve the domestic power structure.  As applied to today, Orwellian
liberalism’s increasingly vicious attacks against the Tea Party and Republicans
perform the same function, which is to preserve the current liberal power
structure by blaming others for its colossal failures.  High unemployment,
failed foreign policies, high energy prices, horrible housing markets,
disastrous federal deficits — they’re all the fault of liberalism’s enemies.
Republicans, Tea Party members — meet Emmanuel Goldstein.

 

“Freedom is Slavery” offers a host of
villains in civil society to whom the American public is “enslaved” under the
guise of being free, though the slogan offers a variant of what Orwell had in
mind.  Thus, freedom to choose one’s own health care plan or no health care plan
at all is slavery to the insurance companies; Americans “addicted” to oil
driving gas-guzzlers are slaves to Exxon and its partners; freedom to eat French
fries is slavery to clever McDonald’s advertising campaigns; and freedom to make
your own investment decisions is slavery to Wall Street.  In fact, Orwellian
liberalism assumes that citizens’ own decisions to live their lives pretty much
as they please constitute slavery to someone or another in a so-called “free
country,” which is why Big Brother in the form of the nanny state is becoming so
enormous, so oppressive.

 

This leaves us with what likely is
the most important slogan of Orwellian Liberalism: “Ignorance is Strength,”
which means in this context that ignorant citizens constitute the foundation of
the liberal establishment.  Indeed, there is no way America’s Oceania Big
Brother equivalent, President Obama, could get away with ludicrous statements
about “millionaires and billionaires not paying their fair share” of the income
tax without the silent collusion of Americans’ stupendous ignorance about such
matters.  Similarly, the country’s energy shortages could not conceivably exist
with an informed citizenry that is aware of how well-connected environmental
activists have prevented production in resources where North America dominates,
such as coal, natural gas, and shale.  Further, the massive propaganda campaign
centering on anthropogenic global warming could not possibly succeed with an
attentive public.

 

In short, “Ignorance is Strength” for
Orwellian liberals; pierce it, and the whole century-old liberal-progressive
project collapses in a heap of prevarications and pretense.

 

If this happens, liberals’
presumption to govern on the basis of the other two slogans, as well as a thick
vocabulary of Orwellian doublespeak, will collapse as well.  The question is
whether this situation can endure indefinitely, as it did in 1984.  The
answer depends on Americans’ determination to reclaim control of their
government.  Absent that, we had all better learn to love Big
Brother.

 

Dr. Marvin Folkertsma is
a professor of political science and fellow for American studies with The Center for Vision &
Values
at Grove City College.  The author of several books, his latest
release is a high-energy novel titled
The Thirteenth
Commandment
.

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