My objective in recommending 1984 is not to point out how prescient Orwell was in anticipating many of the scary developments of our modern times. That’s too easy, and it has been done and then done again. It’s a cliche. My objective is to point out a stunning irony, the one thing that Orwell got wrong. Orwell assumed, naturally enough, that the schema and structure of the nightmarish society he envisioned was comprised of a ruthless totalitarian bureaucracy oppressively controlling the thought, speech and behavior of the masses by a combination of brutality, electronic surveillance, propaganda and mind control. North Korea comes remarkably close to a waking version of Orwell’s nightmare, I think. To me, however, present-day 1984 reminds a lot more of the Red Guard youth movement of the Cultural Revolution in China. It is fascinating that in our modern version of 1984, the looming trends don’t appear to be coming from a totalitarian government. Not that the expansion of government, the creeping intrusiveness of government is of no concern. Not by a longshot.
Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life–the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language–and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written. ~Goodreads.com
However, of much deeper and frankly surprising concern is the forces of 1984 slowly (and not so slowly) beginning to envelop modern life are coming from traditionally liberal institutions such as the university, the media and big corporations, particularly the beloved high-tech companies of Silicon Valley, most notably (listed alphabetically) Amazon, Apple, facebook, Google, and Twitter. However, the list is much longer, these are only the most visible vanguard in the War on Free Speech and the traditional liberal values advanced, defended and championed during the 1960s and 1970s by my generation, the so called boomers. The irony-within-the-irony is that the Silicon Valley companies just mentioned were the brainchildren of boomers. However, the then-liberal values of those young visionaries have in many ways become illiberal and regressive; inversed, turned inside out like the “Bizarro World” in the Superman comics. Mobs of Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) have been unleashed by social media and university campuses, and by high-tech internet companies in the form of nanny algorithm bots to monitor, intercept and punish speech and expression outside the bounds of the politically correct , the moral and the virtuous, as defined by the Social Justice Warriors, of course. The the mobs and the forces which drive them–whether social media, traditional media, the university, high-tech companies or far-left factions in the government–all overlap, flow into and reinforce one another.
If you are not already tuned into what I am describing here–admittedly with rather broad strokes–I may sound quite paranoid, like a modern conspiracy theorist chasing UFOs. If so, I just ask that you keep your eyes open for examples of the appalling erosions of free of speech and fee expression happening more frequently and more pervasively every day. Try to connect the dots, it is not difficult once you begin to look. For more depth look on Youtube for any of Jordan Peterson’s lectures on postmodernism and cultural marxism such as this one => Peterson on Postmodernism. If you want more, here are two fantastic books to get started.
What Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is saying may initially sound reasonable enough. However, at closer examination, it is really rather chilling in the way it matter-of-factly presents postmodern ideology in a seemingly innocuous package: Facts don’t matter, words don’t count, semantics are unimportant. The thing that is important is morality, and the facts be damned! To me, that’s scary! Moreover, anyone familiar with REBT-CBT will immediately detect that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, is indulging in a classic cognitive distortion called emotional reasoning: If something feels immoral to me, it must be immoral. Why? Because that’s the way it feels! A perfect thought circle! Feeling makes it real, feeling makes it so, not facts. This is dangerous stuff. Although Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has a youthful appeal and a folksy style in the new social media sense of folksy, even occasionally speaking in “baby talk,” I believe she is a shrewd cookie who should be taken quite seriously.
If you are an old hippie, an aging boomer approaching his or her dotage, I am sorry to be the one to tell you that we have met the enemy, and he is us!
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