Following Kellyanne Conway’s coining of the phrase “alternative facts” during Sunday’s “Meet the Press”, the novel 1984 has rapidly topped Amazon’s best seller list.
1984 is George Orwell’s 1948 novel set in a dystopian future. The year 1984 in Orwell’s novel sees the action set in Airstrip One, or what is left of Britain following a nuclear war. The Thought Police monitor everyone through cameras and microphones spread throughout every building. The Inner Party rules Oceania, the superstate in which Airstrip One is located. Oceania is at war with Eurasia and Eastasia, the two other superstates that arose following the global nuclear war.
The protagonist of 1984, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth as an editor. His job is to rewrite historical records and alter photographs in order to conform to the ever-changing version of history that the Inner Party is enforcing. The original versions are destroyed. The public is only allowed to know exactly what the ruling elite want them to know. Deviating from their version of reality is crime. The Thought Police can punish thought crimes with torture and death.
Given the actions of President Trump and his administration since his inauguration on Friday, including Conway’s ridiculous use of the phrase “alternative facts”, the novel could not be more relevant right now. The silencing of the EPA and the Department of Agriculture could not be more Orwellian if Orwell himself had written about it.
Turning the United States of America into Oceania, ruled by Big Brother and the Inner Party, is not going to “make America great again” the way Trump promised he would. It would destroy free-thought, liberty, and freedom, some of the core principles this country was founded on.