In our politically obsessed society, references to George Orwell’s “1984” are so common that they are at risk of becoming cliché. Terms like “thoughtcrime” and “doublespeak” are effective retorts to the reliable buffet of political lies told every day. The American Left have made repeated attempts to claim that the United States under the Trump administration is synonymous with the “dystopian world in which war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength” described in 1984. However, when we analyze the themes explored in George Orwell’s famous dystopian novel, we increasingly feel that we are reading what appears to be the American Left’s playbook.
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
On multiple occasions, the Left have demonstrated a desire to rewrite history with two primary objectives. The first is to escape their own history, and the second is to reshape history to enable their future. After all, the Democratic Party is forever tarnished by the legacy of slavery, the KKK, and Jim Crow. Even after the controversial and refuted “switch,” Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson’s repeated use of the phrase “n***er bill” during the Civil Rights era exemplifies the fact that the American Left never truly banished racism from its platform. Instead, they embraced a paternalistic bigotry of low expectations which exists to this day.
While this strategy is applied to American history through absurdities like the intellectually fraudulent “1619 Project,” the same effort has been exerted against inconvenient elements of world history. The fact that fascism is rejectedwhile communism, socialism, and Marxism are accepted is testament to the success of the American Left in purposefully failing to educate younger generations on the inevitable failure of Leftist regimes.
Because of this erasure of history, comments from Joe Biden like “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black” or that Mitt Romney would put African Americans “back in chains” are ignored. It is why those who openly describe themselves as communists, socialists, or Marxists are embraced and celebrated. It is why we seem to be repeating the mistakes of the past.
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”
After history is reformatted to be politically convenient, the next component of the Left’s Orwellian strategy is to gain control of our language in order to achieve ideological ends. There are countless examples of this tactic, including the redefinition of racism to align with the flawed notion of intersectionality, the demand that you prove fealty by chanting “Black Lives Matter” with no regard for its underlying premises or the radical organization it supports, or the assertion that we must “Believe Women” despite the obvious fact that men and women are equally capable of duplicity.
The Left understands that achieving full control of language will open the gateway to their subsequent goal of controlling our culture. The generational removal of methods of dissent or disagreement, alongside the subjective redefinition of words for political gain, will be difficult, if not impossible, to undo. For this reason, and this reason alone, the Left focuses on speech more than anything else. “Speech is violence” justifies a violent reaction to speech, until the only speech that remains is deemed politically acceptable.
“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”
“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
As the Left’s grip on our language grows tighter, and historical excerpts which debunk their radical principles and positions are intentionally wiped away, they are finally equipped to target and redefine the ultimate and central metric of ideological debate: truth and logic.
While the notion that politicians have a habit of being deceptive shouldn’t be a shocking revelation, the Left’s modern approach to the definition of truth goes far beyond the intentional use of simple falsehoods. To put things bluntly, we have left the realm of “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” and have instead entered an illogical universe where sex and gender simultaneously have no meaning while also being characteristics of upmost importance.
Just like Orwell in 1984, we use the mathematical certainty that “2 + 2 = 4” as an example of concrete truth. However, even such binary notions have been slowly eradicated, with the culturally dominant Left demanding that we accept a fluid version of truth which disregards fundamental logic. For example, if men are women and women are men, how can the Left concurrently posit that our society is dominated by a systemic scourge of malicious misogynistic males who forcefully hold females in positions of subjugation and servitude?
“In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to make four.”
“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”
As truth becomes subjective, the unfortunate outcome is that freedom is diminished. The very notion of freedom has been subtly redefined to remove its original connection to individual liberty with the necessary partner of personal responsibility. Instead, freedom has become tainted by notions of selfishness and entitlement, with no regard for the individual freedom of others. In short, the negative rights of all have been replaced by the positive rights of some.
While this problem also exists on the American Right, the American Left approaches freedom in the same manner as George Orwell, with a distinct focus on the restriction of thought and speech.
Those who speak objective truths — such as referencing statistical evidence which counters the claim that police brutality is both racist and systemic, or that life cannot be measured as valid or invalid along a scale of convenience, or even that men and women are different — are castigated as bigots, societally “cancelled,” or even punished.
The fact that the Left attempts to justify such attacks on free speech — whether truthful or not — under the guise of achieving some notion of equality or tolerance is irrelevant when we consider that, without freedom of speech, we can never be free.
“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”
“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.”
No oppressive regime can exist in a vacuum, and all require a method of enforcing their demands. While the (remaining) pages of history are riddled with stories of power achieved through violence alone, the mainstream Left is potentially more dangerous because they exercise control and power not through the violence of groups like Antifa — whom they are happy to passively support — but through the control of truth through curated propaganda in the form of “objective journalism.”
The term “fake news” is so overused (and often misused) that it has lost all meaning. Unfortunately, this has allowed the dishonesty of the mainstream media to hide in plain sight. Instead of performing their assumed “duty” as objective journalists, they have morphed into an elitist gaggle of activists. Instead of screaming their demands in the streets, they shape their reality in our collective psyche through their words and voices.
Ultimately, the blame for this prevalence of shameless lies falls not just on the declining fraternity of journalists, but on society as their audience and consumers. However, it is arguably impossible for a society to question the given narrative when its freedom has been diluted, its ability to question stunted, and its understanding of contextual history rewritten. The nail in this particular coffin is the despicable compulsion of the political and journalistic classes to present adherence to subjective policy as proof of one’s virtue. By doing so, they bypass the need for debate or justification, instead providing people with a lazy method of proving virtue and ideological purity.
The mainstream media have abandoned any hint of objectivity, but continue to benefit from the generational levels of trust and respect earned by their predecessors. Until that changes, their deceitful words will remain powerful, and as a result they will continue to be convenient mouthpieces for the Left.
“Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
George Orwell’s marvelous yet terrifying novel is a hauntingly appropriate novel to reference when criticizing the actions of any political movement. However, in recent years it appears as if the American Left have started to treat it not as a work of fiction, but as a guidebook for power.
Their objective is made simple if our children don’t read — and more crucially understand — profound political works like 1984. Why do you think the Left wants to control our education, our history, and our words?
More from Ian Haworth: The Difference Between Cancel Culture And Free Speech
Ian G. Haworth is a conservative commentator who provides an honest, principled, and hard-hitting insight into our politics and culture from his unique perspective as a British immigrant to the United States. Ian hosts “The Ian Haworth Show” and “The Truth in 60 Seconds.” He is a regular columnist for Townhall.com, and his work has appeared in other outlets including The American Mind, The Washington Examiner, and The Federalist. Ian graduated from Oxford University, and now lives in California. Follow him on Twitter @ighaworth