“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
British comedian John Cleese has usually, but not entirely, been on the political left, but his stand against the attempted thought control that goes by the name of political correctness elicits my admiration. We cannot have a democracy if “crybullies” can exercise a heckler’s veto over ideas presented in the public square. Leftists, with honorable exceptions like Mr. Cleese, no longer believe in the power of persuasion and reasoned argument. Instead their tactics are shouting down adversaries, banning them from social media, and, frighteningly, mob violence. We have seen where this all leads time and again in history.
One of my favorite scenes from the musical 1776 is in the above video where Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island introduces Benjamin Franklin to his insult cards. In the musical Hopkins is portrayed as a lovable drunken rogue, but a font of common sense when big issues are afoot. When his vote is decisive on debating independence his comment is to the point: “I’ve never seen, heard, nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. Hell yes, I’m for debating anything!”
The actual Stephen Hopkins bore little resemblance to his portrayal in 1776. Born on March 7, 1707, in Providence, Rhode Island, he was the oldest man in Congress in 1776, except for Ben Franklin. From a prominent Rhode Island family he early developed an insatiable thirst for knowledge, reading voraciously, and training himself in surveying and astronomy. He became a Justice of the Peace at 23, embarking upon a career in Rhode Island politics. He swiftly became a justice on the Inferior Court of Common Pleas while serving as Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Deputies. He made his fortune through an iron foundry and his activities as a merchant.
In 1747 he was appointed as a Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and in 1751 became Chief Justice. In 1755 he was elected governor of the colony, and would serve 9 of the next 15 years in that office. In 1773 he freed his slaves, and in 1774 he sponsored a bill in the Rhode Island legislature forbidding the importation of slaves into Rhode Island With the coming of the Revolution he served in Congress until ill-health forced him to retire in September 1776.
Regarded as one of the most learned men in the colonies he served as the first chancellor of the College of the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, now Brown University. He died in 1785, universally mourned in Rhode Island.
On second consideration perhaps there is a bit of resemblance between the depiction of Hopkins in 1776 and this observation from John Adams:
Governor Hopkins of Rhode Island, above seventy Years of Age kept us all alive. Upon Business his Experience and judgment were very Usefull. But when the Business of the Evening was over, he kept Us in Conversation till Eleven and sometimes twelve O Clock. His Custom was to drink nothing all day nor till Eight O Clock, in the Evening, and then his Beveredge was Jamaica Spirit and Water. It gave him Wit, Humour, Anecdotes, Science and Learning. He had read Greek, Roman and British History: and was familiar with English Poetry particularly Pope, Tompson and Milton. And the flow of his Soul made all his reading our own, and seemed to bring to recollection in all of Us all We had ever read. I could neither eat nor drink in those days. The other Gentlemen were very temperate. Hopkins never drank to excess, but all he drank was immediately not only converted into Wit, Sense, Knowledge and good humour, but inspired Us all with similar qualities.
When the Left attempts to ban ideas from discussion they betray the best of this country which was, in Lincoln’s ringing phrase, “conceived in liberty.”
We live in deeply mendacious times, and we see it in the Leftist drive to alter reality by altering the words and phrases we use. Welfare handouts become entitlements. Illegal aliens become undocumented immigrants. Abortion becomes reproductive health. Violent Leftist mobs become antifa activists.
George Orwell warned us about this long ago:
“The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever.”
As Orwell explained getting people to use such words involves quite a bit, at least initially, of what he called doublethink:
To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word—doublethink—involved the use of doublethink.
The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies—all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.
One essential element of a free state is the ability to freely state what one believes. That is a freedom that forces on the Left in this nation and around the globe, with certain honorable exceptions, seek to take away from us. They wish us to mouth their lies, and if we do not we are to be subject to vilification on social media, have our jobs taken away from us if they have the power to compel that and have our very speech criminalized, as for example is being attempted in California. I say that these people are the enemies of freedom and that we must confront and defeat them.
All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a false view of the world upon their followers.
George Orwell, 1984
Hillary in What Happened, her non-apologia for being the most inept major party Presidential candidate in American history, explains to us what George Orwell’s 1984 was all about. The idea that what we should take from 1984 is to trust in the media, our leaders and experts has the virtue of being a rather unique take on 1984. It takes precious little imagination to see Hillary in the role of torturer so chillingly portrayed by the late Richard Burton.
The country really dodged a bullet when it came to Big Sis.
“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.”
George Orwell, 1984
I am beginning to think that the easiest way to understand this Pontificate is to imagine a screenplay about a papacy written by George Orwell that is also a black comedy. With furor among Catholics around the globe over the Pope’s remark that the great majority of sacramental marriages are invalid the Vatican has attempted to send the comment down the Memory Hole:
Editor’s note: This article was updated June 17 to include a clarification by the Vatican: Pope Francis approved a revision to the official transcript to say that “a portion” of sacramental marriages are null, instead of “the great majority.”
So everything now is hunky, dory!
Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings calls upon Orwell to explain this Orwellian time in the history of the Church:
‘You are a slow learner, Winston,’ said O’Brien gently.
‘How can I help it?’ he blubbered. ‘How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.’
‘Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become pastoral.’ Continue Reading
A humanitarian is always a hypocrite, and Kipling’s understanding of this is perhaps the central secret of his power to create telling phrases. It would be difficult to hit off the one-eyed pacifism of the English in fewer words than in the phrase, “making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep.”
George Orwell, from a review of A Choice of Kipling’s Verse
Hattip to Mary Katharine Ham at Hot Air. Wendy Davis, Texas State Senator, who won her Senate seat running as a pro-abort with the help of the man who was and is the head of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and who is campaigning for governor of the Lone Star State on the strength of her ultimately futile filibuster against restrictions on abortion passed by the Texas legislature, has proclaimed herself pro-life.
Emily at Naked DC gives us the gruesome details:
She’s lagging because of a few key features of her campaign. First, it makes gun control a key issue in a state where not only are the people heavily armed, but the livestock as well. Second, she’s allied her communications with Organizing for Action’s Texas arm, which promptly ran an ad making a joke about Greg Abbott walking into the legislature, when it is abundantly clear to everyone who has ever seen Greg Abbott that he cannot walk. She had yet to talk about the cornerstone of her political career, her filibuster of a Texas law that prevents abortions after 20 weeks, which rolled the Texas abortion deadline back from 24 weeks.
She’s since corrected that oversight. Today, Wendy Davis, says she’s “pro-life.”
Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), best known for her 11-hour filibusteragainst a controversial bill aimed at severely cutting access to abortion services across the Lone Star State, said her views on abortion make her “pro-life.”
“I am pro-life,” Davis said during a campaign stop at the University of Texas at Brownsville, according to the Valley Morning Star.
“I care about the life of every child: every child that goes to bed hungry, every child that goes to bed without a proper education, every child that goes to bed without being able to be a part of the Texas dream, every woman and man who worry about their children’s future and their ability to provide for that future,” Davis said. “I care about life and I have a record of fighting for people above all else.”
B—h, please. Continue Reading
The 74th anniversary of the Nazi-Soviet agreement. Two of the three great mass murderers of the last century, Mao would complete the trio, the marriage of convenience of Hitler and Stalin signaled the onset of World War II. Communists who had been calling for a common front with democrats to oppose Hitler immediately turned on a dime and denounced any involvement in an “imperialist war” against Hitler. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June of 1941, communists around the globe turned on a dime again and called for all out war of all free peoples against the Hitlerian threat.
Orwell had the Nazi-Soviet Pact, and the quick double flips that Communists did in response to it, and the later invasion by Germany of the Soviet Union, when he wrote this passage in 1984:
At this moment, for example, in 1984 (if it was 1984), Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.
The frightening thing, he reflected for the ten thousandth time as he forced his shoulders painfully backward (with hands on hips, they were gyrating their bodies from the waist, an exercise that was supposed to be good for the back muscles) — the frightening thing was that it might all be true. If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened — that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death?
The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. ‘Reality control’, they called it: in Newspeak, ‘doublethink’. Continue Reading
From Reason TV. It is funny until one ponders that we live in a time where a broad swathe of Americans are able to be simultaneously unremittingly hostile to people who have the temerity to hold views differing from theirs on political and cultural matters, while also supposedly celebrating tolerance as a key part of their worldview. George Orwell, a man of the Left, would not have been surprised by this:
In a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behaviour is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law. When human beings are governed by “thou shalt not”, the individual can practise a certain amount of eccentricity: when they are supposedly governed by “love” or “reason”, he is under continuous pressure to make him behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else.
The trial of Kermit Gosnell, the symbol of our age of abortion, is proceeding:
A medical assistant told a jury Tuesday that she snipped the spines of at least 10 babies during unorthodox late-term abortions at a West Philadelphia clinic.
Adrienne Moton’s testimony as part of her guilty plea to third-degree murder, came in the capital murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the clinic owner, who is on trial in the deaths of a patient and seven babies.
Prosecutors accuse him of killing late-term, viable babies after they were delivered alive, in violation of state abortion laws.
Gosnell’s lawyer denies the murder charge and disputes that any babies were born alive. He also challenges the gestational age of the aborted fetuses, calling them inexact estimates.
Moton, the first employee to testify, sobbed as she recalled taking a cell phone photograph of one baby left in her work area. She thought he could have survived, given his size and pinkish color. She had measured him at nearly 30 weeks.
‘The aunt felt it was just best for her [the mother’s] future,’ Moton testified.
Gosnell later joked that the baby was so big he could have walked to the bus stop, she said. Continue Reading
Don’t you see the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the language of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible because there will be no words in which to express it.
George Orwell, 1984
You know that you are living in topsy-turvy times when the most close-minded institutions are colleges and universities which are purportedly dedicated to free inquiry. A hilarious example of the type of brain-dead ideological conformity enforced at most laughably described “institutions of higher learning occurred last week:
Angela McCaskill was the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., a school for the deaf and hard of hearing. She has now worked at Gallaudet for over 20 years, and in January 2011 she was named its chief diversity officer. Last year, she helped open a resource center for sexual minorities on campus. But she has now been placed on leave because of pressure from some students and faculty. Her job is on the line.
McCaskill’s sin? She was one of 200,000 people to sign a petition demanding a referendum on a law recognizing gay marriage, which was signed by Maryland’s Democratic governor, Martin O’Malley, in March. The referendum will be on the ballot next month, and the vote is expected to be close.
McCaskill’s signature became public when the Washington Blade posted a database online “outing” all those who had signed the petition. Even though her signature indicated only that she wanted the decision on gay marriage to be made by the people and not by the legislature and the governor, her critics declared that it demonstrated “bias.”
Gallaudet University’s president, T. Alan Hurwitz, announced that he was putting McCaskill on paid leave because “some feel it is inappropriate for an individual serving as chief diversity officer” to have signed such a petition. “I will use the extended time while she is on administrative leave to determine the appropriate next steps,” said Hurwitz, “taking into consideration the duties of this position at the university.” Just last year, Hurwitz had praised McCaskill as “a longtime devoted advocate of social justice and equity causes.” But she is apparently not allowed to have private political views. Continue Reading
Hattip to Pat Archbold at Creative Minority Report for the video gently lampooning the twisted language employed by pro-aborts to attempt to deny the humanity of the unborn.
George Orwell, who literally wrote the book on how totalitarian regimes use language to serve evil ends, would have loved the video. Although an agnostic and an opponent of the Catholic Church, Orwell was also not only an enemy of the dishonest use of euphemisms, but also an ardent foe of abortion. This section of his novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936) indicates how deeply he hated abortion: Continue Reading
You know, sometimes I suspect there are forces within the Obama administration attempting to throw the upcoming presidential election race. The most recent evidence of this is a truly Orwellian website, Attack Watch, at which Obama supporters can report unfair attacks on Fearless Empty Suit. Go here to view the Attack Watch webite. Sheesh, I hope the Obama campaign didn’t waste much money on the design of this snitch site. I guess they aimed for foreboding and hit silly. I practically expect to hear the Imperial March theme from Star Wars. Actually, I will supply that for your listening pleasure as you are perusing the site:
Hattip to Christopher Johnson at the Midwest Conservative Journal. I would note at the outset that this is not one of The Onion parodies I like to play from time to time on this blog. With the Obama administration however, the nation each day resembles more a Onion parody. The United States Department of Agriculture, yes, you read that correctly, is pressing for mandatory gay rights training:
U.S. Department of Agriculture activists want to impose their intense brand of homosexual sensitivity training governmentwide, including a discussion that compares “heterosexism” – believing marriage can be between only one man and one woman – to racism.
If accepted by the Obama administration, that move could mean more sessions for military service members already undergoing gay-sensitivity indoctrination. Critics fear additional gay-oriented training would add an unnecessary burden for combat troops and encourage some to leave.
USDA officials have asked the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which oversees all federal employee policies, to impose its gay-awareness programs on all federal departments, according to an internal newsletter. The training includes a discussion of “heterosexism” and compares it to racism. It says people who view marriage as being between only one man and one woman are guilty of “heterosexism.”
The push for the training is coming from Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack, former governor of Iowa. The Democrat has launched a departmentwide “cultural transformation” that includes a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Special Emphasis Program.
The USDA’s senior training coordinator, Bill Scaggs, has developed a sensitivity program far more extensive than the Pentagon’s training for the anticipated lifting of the ban on open ho[JUMP]mosexuals in the ranks. His training program, which OPM calls “groundbreaking [and a] model for other agencies,” delves more into gay issues and terminology. It also justifies pro-homosexual political positions.
Orwell’s two minute hate from 1984 is brought to film in the above video. Below is a video montage of tweets calling for the death of Sarah Palin which went out after the Giffords shootings. (Strong content advisory: many of the tweets are very vulgar and obscene and all of them are examples of congealed hate.) Continue Reading