Have I mentioned how much I love Leonard Pitts?
”Orwellian” is a word you toss out to prove you stayed awake in freshman English. Often, it is used to evoke a world in which all people are always under surveillance, as was the case in the totalitarian state George Orwell depicted in 1984, his 1949 masterpiece. But as you know if you read the book, surveillance wasn’t the most chilling aspect of the world Orwell foresaw.
No, the thing about that world that made your skin creep on your bones was the shameless intellectual dishonesty of its leaders, the brazen way they savaged objective truth and dared anyone to call them on it. Nobody did. The people simply accepted what they were told.
In the world Orwell invented, words had no objective meaning beyond that assigned to them by the Party, whose slogans, not incidentally, were, ”War is Peace,” ”Freedom is Slavery” and ”Ignorance is Strength.” In that world, there was no past — or rather, the past was what the leaders said it was, and it was a waste of time to check for yourself, because all books, newspapers and other records were constantly being updated to reflect whatever the new reality was.
Thus, ”Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia.” Much as we now learn that the Bush administration’s policy toward Iraq has ”never been stay the course.” And never mind that the president and his henchmen have spent three years pounding that phrase like nails into the public consciousness….
Go read the rest.