Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mainstream Tyranny Part 2




Orwell recognized how important intellectual liberty was in a society.  And intellectual liberty can only survive as long as objective truth is upheld.  In one of Orwell's essays for Tribune, titled Freedom of the Park, Orwell wrote of the implications for abandoning truth:

"The law is no protection.  Governments make laws, but whether they are carried out, and how the police behave, depends on the general temperament of the country...The decline in the desire for intellectual liberty has not been so sharp as I would have predicted six years ago, at the start of the war, but still there has been a decline."

In the chapter that is the focus of these posts, the author writes, "Totalitarianism demands a continuous alteration of the past.  Friends of totalitarianism claim that as all history is inevitably biased and inaccurate, we might as well accept one bias as another.  If absolute truth is impossible we might as well accept expedience as a guide."

In 1984, the ruling party of Oceania, Ingsoc, continuously rewrote history, recognizing it as necessary to maintain the intellectual edge over the people, and to create the perception that history is always on their side.  Even though Winston, who wrote the history, recognized that each day he was writing a new history, the requirement to burn the history of yesterday made it impossible to prove that was was printed today wasn't truth.  An attempt to argue that the current history was false could not be proved as there was no evidence to the contrary.  Rewriting history is only possible so long as objective truth does not exist. And without truth intellect cannot survive, as there is no foundation to support it.  The result of such a society Orwell believed was either "unredeemed dullness, or neurosis."  


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Evan Jones is a painter, drummer, and avid music lover.