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Jim Dickson

1984 has been a long time coming

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It’s been coming for a long time. There have been attempts from time to time, but mostly the country has been able to right itself and move on.

It has taken us 73 years to finally reach 1984, but I am very much afraid that 2022 will be the official date that the United States of America began 1984. This month the Biden Administration boldly announced that a new “Disinformation Governance Board” under the Department of Homeland Security. I don’t think that George Orwell himself could have come up with a better name for the new “Board.”

At this point most of us are not sure what this new board will be doing, including Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, but it’s something like it’s going to “tackle falsehoods that threaten the national security of the United States.” How is that for a black pit to fall into? The new “Board” will be led by Nina Jankowicz, who it seems is very well versed on falsehoods and disinformation, so it seems a good choice.

For those of you who are reading this and asking what has all this to do with 1984, maybe a little explanation is in order. The novel “1984” written by Eric Blair under the pen-name George Orwell published in 1949, was a story of how Orwell imagined it would be to live in a totalitarian state in the year 1984.

At one time the book was on the reading list of most high schools and colleges across the country. I haven’t bothered to look, but my guess is that it’s not anymore; therefore it’s probably not as well read as it once was, even though it should be. If you have not read the book, please do so as there are many lessons to be learned from it.

A fictional country, Oceania is ruled by an omnipresent leader known as “Big Brother,” who is watching over every citizen at home, at work or anywhere by means of a Telescreen that is installed in every home, work and public place. The party controls everything, even history and language which is being replaced with a new language called “Newspeak” which removes all “harmful” words from the language.

History is being re-written daily according to what is considered “correct” by the government at the time. Even thought is controlled by the Thought Police who see that no “Thought Crimes” are committed. Does any of this sound a little familiar?

The theme of the government is “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery,” and “Ignorance is Strength.” All this is over seen by The Ministry of Peace, whose job it is to fight wars.

And there’s the Ministry of Plenty, whose job is to limit food and other necessities to keep the people poor and hungry while, telling them that they are prospering. Poor hungry people are easier to control.

Then there’s The Ministry of Love, who does a great job of spreading hate and suspicion, and last but not least, The Ministry of Truth, whose job it is to be sure that no one ever knows what the real truth is. Also to convince the people that only “Big Brother” loves them and knows what is best for them, and only he can be the answer to all their problems.

When Stalin created a similar ministry in Russia he named it “The Truth Department.” It must have worked pretty well for him; it kept him in power until he died a natural death – rare in that job, so it’s probably in the Putin playbook as well.

I am happy to say that we are not that far down the road yet, but unless this new “Board” dies the death that it should, this beginning may well be the end, and 1984 may have arrived this year. Let’s hope that there is such non-partisan opposition, this terrible idea will be swept into the dust pan of stupid ideas where it so richly belongs.

Born, raised and educated in the Southwest, Jim Dickson served in the U.S. Navy Reserve in Vietnam before a 35-year business career. Retired to St. Helena Island, Dickson and his wife are fiscally conservative, socially moderate and active in Republican politics, though they may not always agree with Republicans. Having lived around the country and traveled around the world, Dickson believes that the United States truly is the land of opportunity.

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