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Hillary: Orwell's message in 1984 is 'we need to trust government and the media'
Hillary Clinton is wrong about a lot of things. She's wrong on virtually every policy, she's wrong to blame everything under the sun for her 2016 loss, and she's wrong about each and every one of the excuses she offers for her shady behavior. Now, thanks to her new book, we know that she's also frighteningly wrong about literature.
Specifically, she seems to think the message of George Orwell's "1984" is 'we need to rely on our leaders and our media.'
Here's what she has to say:
"Attempting to define reality is a core feature of authoritarianism. This is what the Soviets did when they erased political dissidents from historical photos. This is what happens in George Orwell's classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, when a torturer holds up four fingers and delivers electric shocks until his prisoner sees five fingers as ordered. The goal is to make you question logic and reason and to sow mistrust towards exactly the people we need to rely on: our leaders, the press, experts who seek to guide public policy based on evidence, ourselves."
Good Lord, where to begin?
Orwell's entire point is that we desperately need to be skeptical of power because, no matter how righteous it may appear, it seeks only self-furtherance. O’Brien doesn't torture Winston to "sow mistrust in leaders." He tortures him in an effort to instill slavish, unquestioning, obedience to - and faith in - the very power structure that Hillary Clinton claims we 'need to rely on.'
In short, Clinton's view of Orwell's dystopia is the argument that the torturer is making.
As the Washington Examiner puts it:
Orwell does not want us to rely on "our leaders, the press, experts who seek to guide public policy based on evidence," only on the last element of Clinton's quote: "ourselves".
While Orwell favored the pursuit of knowledge, he also knew humanity's innate susceptibility to political malfeasance. Orwell wrote 1984 in the years just following the Nazi eugenics-based human supremacism, and at the epoch of Stalin's government-based human supremacism. Crucially, he recognized that both foul ideologies had originally won favor by claiming to serve human interests.
"The people we need," as Clinton puts it, are also the people who instigated Nazi and Soviet suffering.
Orwell's observations led him to become skeptical of all power and "knowledge", however beneficent it might first appear. Via the language of Oceania, "newspeak", Orwell warns us that that knowledge must always be open to re-examination. This is worth considering when Clinton references climate change activists as "experts who seek to guide public policy based on evidence."
...Clinton doesn't get this. Instead, she believes that the solution to populism is obedience to a 1984-style "inner party" class of those who know better.
The point of 1984 is that powerful people and institutions are self-corrupting entities which can never be "relied" upon. It doesn't matter if they're Republicans, Democrats, Trumps, or Clintons. They're necessary evils to be doubted, mistrusted, limited, and ceaselessly questioned. It's genuinely scary that a woman who almost became President doesn't understand this.
If you're so inclined, you could give Hillary the benefit of the doubt and argue that she's never actually read the book. That's probably the best-case scenario, but you'd be safe to assume it's not the truth. Hillary's big-government instincts have always trended toward the iron-fisted Big Brother end of the spectrum. Her wrath falls upon those who expose her rampant hypocrisies and hidden agendas, her campaign routinely trashed those who believe in a God other than government, and we all saw what happened when insolent serfs dared question her decisions.
Maybe, just maybe, a woman famous for YouTube videos, altered talking points, and wiped, secret, email servers should think a little before she accuses others of "attempting to define reality.".