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1984 is nearly here


BARI Weiss’s resignation as an editor and columnist at the New York Times (once described as the flagship for liberal triumphalism) epitomises the virulent and destructive nature of cultural-Left politically correct ideology.

It is the most recent example of how neo-Marxist inspired political correctness now dominates, how anyone failing to conform is made to suffer and how George Orwell’s 1984 is even more relevant now than when it was published in 1949.

In her resignation letter Weiss complains about being victimised and shunned for Wrongthink, which she describes as failing to conform to the paper’s Left-leaning ‘predetermined narrative’; a narrative driven by ‘an orthodoxy already known to the enlightened few’ whose job is to ignore mainstream values in favour of PC groupthink. 

Instead of the paper allowing diverse opinions and fostering critical inquiry, Weiss concludes ‘the truth is that intellectual curiosity – let alone risk-taking – is now a liability’. Last month the paper’s editorial page editor James Bennet was forced to resign after publishing a comment piece arguing the military should be used to quell violent BLM protests.

Cancel culture is not yet as extreme as in Orwell’s 1984.  Big Brother controls language and the ability to think independently by enforcing Wrongthink (known as Thoughtcrime); and where those daring to question or doubt Big Brother and the Party soon become victims of the Thought Police and suffer torture and imprisonment in the Ministry of Love.

But Left-leaning papers such as the New York Times (much like the ABC news network) likewise seek to deny independent inquiry and diverse opinions. As argued by Weiss, journalists and editors are afraid to question the paper’s PC orthodoxy as to do so ‘puts a target on your back’. Weiss recounts being ‘the subject of constant bullying’ and being called ‘a Nazi and a racist’.

The central character in 1984, Winston Smith, works in the Ministry of Truth where, much as in Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, history is rewritten and events are reinterpreted according to the most recent political fiat and individuals guilty of offending Big Brother are airbrushed from history.

Orwell writes that ‘the process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs – to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance’.

The Black Lives Matter activists tearing down statues, erasing the names and memories of those considered unacceptable and reinterpreting history to suit their neo-Marxist, postcolonial inspired world view, have much in common with the Ministry of Truth.

Other examples of how doctrinaire and destructive PC ideology is include banning and censoring films like Gone With the Wind and the episode of Fawlty Towers that supposedly offended Germans, novels including The Heart of Darkness, Huckleberry Finn and Moby Dick plus children’s stories like Little Black Sambo and Cinderella

Additional strategies employed by Big Brother and the Inner Party to enforce dominance and control involve ‘Two Minutes Hate’ sessions where rationality and reason give way to violent emotion driven by mob hysteria.

Pictures and videos of mobs of BLM activists around the globe shouting slogans, tearing down and stomping on fallen statues and abusing and threatening police reflect the same senseless, primitive emotion.

Characteristic of the show trials associated with totalitarian regimes is self-criticism and publicly confessing to thoughtcrime. A recent example involves two Australian women responsible for a 2013 film titled Bloomers that seven years later is being attacked as an example of white superiority and racism as it depicts white actors covering their faces in ash (known as cultural appropriation). 

Such is the fear of being publicly criticised for being politically incorrect the film’s writer admits: ‘I know some argue the scene doesn’t constitute blackface. For me it doesn’t matter. I think it does, and I am ashamed.’

The film’s director subjects herself to a re-education session, saying: ‘As many people have been doing in the last few weeks, I have been reflecting on my own blind spots with regards to behaviour in my work, actions that may seem harmless but are actually incredibly hurtful to certain people or are perpetuating systemic racism.’ 

Drawing on events in Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, Orwell depicts an oppressive and terrifying world where freedom of thought, expression, religion and the inherent right to life and liberty are crushed. Bari Weiss’s resignation and the violence and mindless group think epitomised by the actions of BLM activists politically correct ideology now rampant across society’s institutions are similarly instrumental in enforcing cultural-Left ideology and language control.

It is more than concerning and disappointing, as a senior cleric recently described it. It represents a clear and present danger that must be addressed.

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Dr Kevin Donnelly
Dr Kevin Donnelly
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior fellow at the Australian Catholic University’s PM Glynn Institute and a conservative author and commentator.

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