I almost hate to say it, because it’s become such a cliché, but when exactly did George Orwell’s 1984 cease to be fiction and instead became an almost uncanny accurate depiction of modern-day life?
Sure, it’s a tad hyperbolic to say so, but not really. Both sides of the aisle often make use of references to 1984 to attack the other side. Shortly after Trump took office, 1984 jumped the bestseller charts, as did a few other dystopian novels, because you know … Trump was Big Brother … or something?
Still, if there was ever a point that comparing the state of our nation to 1984 was blatant hyperbole, those days are long gone. In recent years, we’ve seen how our language has been manipulated just as it was in the novel. In 1984, the Newspeak dictionary is the compendium of the language used by Oceania and is always changing, with words being taken out constantly with the goal of reducing the ability of the population to commit thoughtcrime, or thoughts not approved by the Party. The ultimate goal is that, eventually, the language would be small enough that thoughtcrime is impossible.
Our language, however, is being expanded to make thoughtcrime more likely. Two years ago, Merriam-Webster updated the definition of racism to include “systemic racism.” During the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings, they changed the definition of “sexual preference” in order to justify an attack on her. Last year, Merriam-Webster updated its second definition of racial “color-blindness” so that you can still be racist if you treat all people the same regardless of race—essentially declaring that you’re racist even when you’re not.
But the increasing accuracy of the Orwellian label to describe what’s happening in our country isn’t limited to changes in vocabulary. In 1984, the government sees children as property of the state and undermines the family institution by turning children against their parents.
Is this much different from what we’re seeing now?
At least 68 school districts in Missouri have adopted policies that affirm that the districts are not required to disclose conversations of students with their teachers or counselors about “academics and personal issues” to the student’s parent or guardian. For example, I reported on a scandal at Buena Vista Middle School in Spreckels Union School District in California earlier this year. Teachers were accused of pressuring a female student to change her gender identity and keep it secret from her parents. PJM’s Megan Fox has reported on how this is happening nationwide in our public schools.
These are direct threats to parental rights that quite literally divide families, instilling the notion to kids that the state, not parents, has children’s best interests at heart.
Even elected leaders are working hard to undermine parental rights in favor of the state. Last year, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed two bills into law that allow minors to hide abortions and transgender therapies or surgeries from their parents.
And don’t get me started on Joe Biden’s Disinformation Governance Board. You can’t get more Orwellian than that. While we can take some comfort in knowing that the board has been shelved, for now, there’s no point in pretending that the radical left won’t try this one again … perhaps sooner than you think.
There was once a time when such crazy things about oppressive government were easily dismissed by Americans. “That could never happen here! This is America!”
Yeah, well, “this is America” is no longer a good enough explanation for why the oppression and control depicted in Orwell’s 1984 would be impossible here. We’ve been steadily heading in the direction of an Orwellian dystopia for years now, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s too late to right the ship.