What suffers under political correctness is the free and open discussion of ideas, the exchange of facts and information; because inevitably the truth gets sidelined because it is often considered politically incorrect. ~ N. Ross
On a warm summer evening, just a couple weeks before our nation celebrated its bicentennial I walked across a stage in Oroville, California, and made the transition from childhood to responsible adult. Prior to that evening in June 1976 I was a student, now I was expected to make my way forward with all that knowledge I had been so graciously given by the public school system.
I would love to go back and repeat those last 4 years at high school; knowing what I know now. I’d probably never make it to graduation ceremony; I’d probably be expelled for arguing with my history teachers long before then. But that is neither here or there, or as the old saying goes, germane to the subject under discussion.
I am grateful though that somewhere along the line my time spent in those public indoctrination centers one of my teachers instilled the love of reading into me. My parents also fueled that by providing me with Time-Life books ranging from Sherlock Holmes stories to Greek mythology. I can remember as a young child reading Stuart Little and Tom Sawyer for book reports; something my son NEVER had to do over the entire time he spent in these public indoctrination centers.
But it was only after they had given me the basic tools of vocabulary in elementary school that I discovered the joy that can be found in the pages of something as simple as a book. Ironically, one of the first truly memorable novels I can recall reading was one written about a society in which books themselves were illegal; Fahrenheit 451. Since then I was required to read all the old classics; Animal Farm, The Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, Johnny Got His Gun, (which left me disturbed for years after finishing), and of course, George Orwell’s classic, and the subject of this particular rant, Nineteen Eighty-Four.
While my own son was making his way through the public indoctrination centers, and as a response to their unwillingness to require him to read books, I bought all those old classics for him to read. Some of them he did, some he didn’t, but again that is irrelevant to the point at hand. In the particular version of 1984 that I purchased there is an Afterward written by the German psychologist Erich Fromm which begins with the following words, “George Orwell’s 1984 is the expression of a mood, and it is a warning. The mood it expresses is that of near despair about the future of man, and the warning is that unless the course of history changes, men all over the world will lose their most human qualities, will become soulless automatons, and will not even be aware of it.“
1984 was published 9 years before I was born in 1958. Having now lived nearly fifty-nine years, and having watched as people, and their attitudes have changed, I can only imagine what Eric Arthur Blair, or George Orwell as most know him, would have thought about society in America today in 2017. You see, Blair, or Orwell if you prefer, died in 1950; just a year after 1984 was published. Were he still alive today I can almost picture him on the talk shows and lecture circuit, crying out, “It was supposed to be a warning, not a bloody instruction manual!“
The first time I read 1984 was back in what I like to call, the Leave it to Beaver Days of America; when things were much simpler. This was way before Richard Nixon was forced to resign from the presidency; before the age of the internet, personal computers and cell phones; and before 9/11 and the growth of the apparatus designed to keep us safe from terrorism.
Although I don’t recall seeing it, this was also the period which saw Senator Frank Church appear on NBC’s Meet the Press and warn, “In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.”
Just to show you how much things have changed in America, in 1975 a United States Senator would appear on television warning us of the dangers of this surveillance apparatus being used against the American people, and in 2013 an employee of the NSA would reveal the extent to which we are being spied upon, and the majority of Americans would consider his acts those of a traitor, or treasonous.
But make no mistake about it; Big Brother is alive and well…and he is watching and listening to you!
What irks me more than anything else is when I hear people tell me that they have nothing to hide, so why should they concern themselves about the government spying upon them? The total lack of regard for the right to privacy is, as far as I’m concerned, beyond comprehension. It does not matter if you have nothing to hide, you have the right to be secure in your homes and in your private conversations from prying eyes and ears. How would these people like it if someone else, their neighbor perhaps, began snooping on their private conversations? Bet they wouldn’t like it so much then!
Although we do not have telescreens, as Orwell described them in his novel, the NSA has a multitude of tools at their fingertips to monitor every single thing we write or say…at any given moment. Not only that, with all the other surveillance tools at their disposal they can track your whereabouts nonstop, from the moment you leave your house until the moment you return. That SHOULD scare the hell out of you; but most pay no attention to it.
But it is not just Big Brother that fits into society’s having become exactly what Orwell warned us about; it is much more. Take for instance Political Correctness; isn’t that very much like what Orwell called Thoughtcrime; the speaking of things which are politically and socially unacceptable? The thing, the hypocrisy about political correctness is that those pushing it say they only seek tolerance for differing beliefs and ideologies. But where is their tolerance for the ideas and beliefs which contradict the ones they hold? What suffers under political correctness is the free and open discussion of ideas, the exchange of facts and information; because inevitably the truth gets sidelined because it is often considered politically incorrect.
The of course there is Orwell’s fictional Ministry of Truth; whose job was to rewrite history and the news to follow the party line. Yet isn’t that exactly what our news media does today? Aren’t they the lapdogs for those in power who either prop up or tear down those who either toe the party line or threaten it? And let us not forget the very institutions I spoke of at the very beginning; the public indoctrination centers known as public schools. How well do these institutions of learning, (and I say that sarcastically), teach our children how to think critically, to question what they are being taught, and to value the truth?
People claim that they value the truth, that they respect those who speak it. Why is it then when someone speaks a truth which runs counter to their existing beliefs they get so upset and begin calling the speaker of these truths all manner of names? I’ll tell you why, and you aren’t going to like my reason; it is because you have been conditioned, indoctrinated, or brainwashed if you will, into believing that the version of history which you have been taught is the ONLY version, that it is true and factual, and that anything which contradicts it is a lie. You are simply not capable of accepting anything which conflicts with your programming.
Of course there will always be those who are wired just a bit differently who are capable of critical thought, of seeing through the lies they have been taught; but they are looked upon as aberrations and social misfits for the most part. One look at how those today who go around repeating the same quotes and phrases used by our nation’s Founders and how they are considered dangerous ought to prove that point quite well.
It’s almost as if Orwell had some magical device that let him look into the future, and he then turned around and wrote a prediction of what he saw. Just look at the party slogans for Big Brother; War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength; my God, it’s as if Orwell were talking of society today in 2017!
And then of course there is Orwell’s fictional drug to keep the society from despair…Soma. Although Soma is a fictional creation of Orwell’s mind, how many people are taking powerful mind altering drugs prescribed by their doctors to treat a whole range of anxiety disorders? I have seen normal kids; full of energy and vitality, turned into zombies after taking their anti ADD or ADHD medicine.
It’s funny; I don’t ever recall ever knowing a single classmate who suffered from ADHD back when I went through school. So where did this illness come from? Or, was it created to sell drugs that kids really don’t need, or to calm them down because parents and teachers are not capable of stimulating their minds in productive ways? In any case, I’d be willing to bet that in a classroom of 30 you are going to find at least a handful of the students there on medication for something designed to keep them in line in class; and in life. But the end result is that it is just another name for Orwell’s Soma; drugs used to numb the mind so that people will accept everything bad that is happening around them without question.
The sad thing is that, were kids today required to read 1984, they would not see the parallel between the fictional society of Oceana and the real life as found in the United States in America. Either that or they, having been conditioned to accept all these things, would not bat an eye at how dangerous Orwell’s depiction of Big Brother is to their liberty.
I find it a sad commentary that another Orwell quote aptly fits today, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” If that be the case, then you can call me a revolutionary; you can count on me speaking out the truth wherever I might travel. And one other thing, you can take your Thoughtcrime, or political correctness as you like to call it, and stick it where the sun don’t shine!
May 11, 2017
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross, Student of history, politics, patriot and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Send all comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you liked Neal’s latest column, maybe you’ll like his latest booklet: The Civil War: (The Truth You Have Not Been Told) AND don’t forget to pick up your copy of ROSS: Unmasked – An Angry American Speaks Out – and stay tuned – Neal has a new, greatly expanded book coming soon dealing with the harsh truths about the so-called American Civil War of 1861-1865. Life continues to expand for this prolific writer and guardian of TRUE American history.