Stupid Press, Stupid People: Non-Reporting the March for Life
by Anthony Esolen
When George Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four, the novel describing a dystopia of mass stupidity and surveillance, he wasn’t making a prediction. He was describing what he actually saw in England. His protagonist, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth, whose enterprise is to engage in massive lying, altering history by sending documents down the Memory Hole, where they will be lost forever. One of his colleagues, Syme, is a linguist with a passionate love for Newspeak, the official language of the regime. The purpose of Newspeak is to deracinate language so badly that crimethought, the doubleplusungood rebellion of mind against the regime, will be impossible. No one will be able to think of crimes, because nobody will be able to think.
Orwell modeled his Ministry of Truth after the British Broadcasting Corporation, where he worked.
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In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Ministry of Love promoted nothing but hatred and the Ministry of Truth spread nothing but lies. Although totalitarianism of the kind described and analyzed by Orwell has all but disappeared from the face of the earth, give or take a country or two, totalitarianism of another, softer kind is marching its slow way through the institutions. In the name of diversity and tolerance, it enforces uniformity and bigotry: and there is no vice as insidious as that which, in the search for power, takes itself for virtue.
In England, this degeneration has gone further than almost anywhere else in the western world. In the northern town of Rotherham recently a perfectly decent couple who fostered children in need of care and attention had their foster-children removed from them because they were members of UKIP, the United Kingdom Independence Party, which was deemed by the local council, controlled by the Labour Party, to be racist. There were no allegations that they couple had maltreated any children; indeed, to all appearances they were exemplary foster parents (of children of non-British background, incidentally). Their only “crime” was to hold the “wrong” opinions.
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