It’s no coincidence that the left seems rather Orwellian at times; after all, Ingsoc in 1984 was Orwell’s 1949 warning regarding what English Socialism could metastasize into a generation down the line. Why not American socialism?
One of the left’s current (and frequently Orwellian) buzzwords is “sustainability.” Lately, based on recent headlines, the left seems to reaching peak Orwell. Is such a condition sustainable? There seem to be an enormous amount of euphemisms, doublethink and moral evasions in the headlines these days. Here’s a just a taste:
In order to play the losing hand the left have chosen to deal to themselves and the rest of the country via Obamacare, some Ministry of Truth-style euphemisms regarding work and employment have recently become necessary. As Michael Goodwin noted yesterday at the New York Post, “America now has a government that views work as a trap and celebrates those who escape it”:
That is the upshot of last week’s remarkable exchange over ObamaCare. It began when the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the interplay of taxes and subsidies in the law “creates a disincentive for people to work.” The report predicted the mix would lead to fewer hours worked, costing the equivalent of nearly 2.5 million jobs.
In response, President Obama’s spokesman pleaded guilty — with pride and pleasure.
“Opportunity created by affordable, quality health insurance allows families in America to make a decision about how they will work, or if they will work,” Jay Carney said. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi applauded the law for freeing people from “job-lock.”
They never mentioned the implications of this distinctly Obama-ish New Deal. The subsidies that enable some Americans to decide “if they will work” mean higher taxes from those who must or want to work.
Republicans immediately jumped on the finding as proof that the law is a jobs killer and cited earlier discoveries about its destructive impact. These include Obama’s lie that “you can keep your plan” and the fact that many new insurance plans come with higher premiums and deductibles and fewer doctors.
Pay more, get less will be the experience for tens of millions by the time the law is fully implemented. And don’t forget its assault on religious freedom.
Economist Craig Newmark, the husband of popular blogger Betsy Newmark, boils the implications of the left’s recent tack down to a couple of sentences:
I love that Liberals have now decided that what individuals voluntarily choose–regardless of the consequences for the rest of us–is fine. Question for them: shouldn’t we therefore allow individuals to choose whether or not to have health insurance and if so, what kind?
Of course, to buy insurance of any kind, you’ll need at some point to verify your identity. Indeed, to do just about anything these days, you need to verify your identity — except vote, where in blue regions of the country, dead or alive, you’re more than welcome to vote early and often.
In fact, you even need to prove your identity via a photo ID card to march in anti-voting ID protests:
— Stacey-SisterToldjah (@sistertoldjah) February 8, 2014
As Moe Lane notes in response, “I thought that it was impossible for North Carolinian minorities to get valid photo IDs! …Well, no, I didn’t: not being a racist, I don’t have as low an opinion of the intelligence and competence of North Carolinian minorities as does, apparently, the NC NAACP.”
Oh, and speaking of work, global warming zealots are drawing attention to themselves by vowing to work less. Bobo slackers for Gaia!
Dame Vivienne Westwood, 72, has said she will integrate her environmental beliefs with her business ethics by reducing her contribution to mass production – something which she says is directly linked with climate change.
‘Do I feel guilty about all the consumption that the fashion world promotes? Well, I can answer that by saying that I am now trying to make my own business more efficient and self-sustaining,’ she says.
Westwood believes she will now be able to use her label to champion her politics more authentically.
The high-fashion designer from Derbyshire said she wants to nurture and improve what her company already does rather than increase it, despite recent success in China and the US. She also made a £5m profit in 2012 – significantly up on the previous year.
‘I have decided not to expand any more. In fact I want to do the opposite,’ she told the Observer. ‘I am now more interested in quality rather than quantity.’
* * * * * *
George Clooney, Jerry Hall and daughter Georgia May Jagger, singers Paloma Faith and Chris Martin and Westwood herself feature in the new set of images by award-winning celebrity photographer Andy Gotts MBE.
He says: ‘People want to support Vivienne Westwood. She’s so passionate. They see Vivienne as someone really special and people feel the urge to fight in her corner.’
And yet another radical environmentalist who has been trapped by that religion’s economic catch-22. Or as Walter Russell Mead wrote in 2011:
Greens like to have it both ways. They warn darkly about “peak oil” and global resource shortages that will destroy our industrial economy in its tracks — but also warn that runaway economic growth will destroy the planet through the uncontrolled effects of mass industrial productions. Both doomsday scenarios cannot be true; one cannot simultaneously die of both starvation and gluttony.
As Mead noted back then, even far left George Monbiot of the UK Guardian seems to understand this catch-22:
“All of us in the environment movement, in other words – whether we propose accommodation, radical downsizing or collapse – are lost. None of us yet has a convincing account of how humanity can get out of this mess. None of our chosen solutions break the atomising, planet-wrecking project. I hope that by laying out the problem I can encourage us to address it more logically, to abandon magical thinking and to recognise the contradictions we confront. But even that could be a tall order.”
This is an awesome admission of categorical intellectual, political and moral failure. For two decades greens have arrogated to themselves the authority of science and wrapped themselves in the arrogant certainty of self-righteous contempt for those who oppose them. They have equated skepticism about their incoherent and contradictory policy proposals with hatred of science and attacked their critics as the soulless hired shills of the oil companies, happy to ruin humanity for the sake of some corporate largesse.
And of course, if the situation is so grim that you should downsize your business, why not simply quit entirely for the sake of Gaia? George Clooney, who is supporting Westwood, has also called for the end of internal combustion vehicles — which would mean the end of his industry — but personally owns a Lexus, Careera and a 1959 Corvette. Shouldn’t he take the first step by transforming his fleet into plowshares?
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Regarding the American left — who were once thought of as the party of labor, a la England’s explicitly labeled Labour Party — and their recent disavowal of work, the Washington Post is always eager to support the man they helped install in the White House. Or as the Zero Hedge econoblog noted yesterday: “WaPo Praises The Joy Of Being ‘Untethered’ And ‘Unleashed’ From A Job, The ‘Freeedom’ Of Unemployment”:
Now that the full court press to refute the findings of the CBO report which, as we reported, confirmed what was largely known – that as a result of Obamacare, the strapped US economy will have even fewer workers as millions will fall back on welfare state entitlements which make hard work obsolete – has failed, it is time for the propaganda to take a different track: one where not having a job, and in fact losing it due to Obamacare, is hailed as an act of nobility. Sure enough, here comes one of the administration’s favorites, the Bezos Times, with “They quit their jobs, thanks to health-care law” which does largely as its name suggests: highlights just how “enabling” and “liberating” Obamacare is for one’s life, once a person is no longer burdened by something as trivial as a job.
* * * * * *
Of course, it is up to the likes of the
BezosWashington Post to make it appear that this is all not only perfectly normal, but noble and dignified.
Alas, as smarter people than us have pointed out, being untethered and unleashed only works as long as the system has other people’s money to distribute to those who chose not to work and pay taxes. Once said money runs out , complete social collapse and revolution usually follows.
But it isn’t just work where Orwellian euphemisms are running rampant these days on the left. As John Hinderaker noted yesterday at Power Line, “We Live In a World Gone Mad, Feminist Edition”:
Today’s political and cultural Left isn’t just wrong, it is stark, raving mad. Today’s example, via NewsBusters, comes from an interview of four feminists on NPR. The subject of the program was “mean girls on Twitter.” You have to read it to believe it:
The uber-feminist actress Martha Plimpton (a star on Fox’s sitcom “Raising Hope”) hilariously came under attack because promoting a pro-abortion event called “A Night at A Thousand Vaginas” was cruel to “trans men” who don’t have vaginas:
Plimpton was surprised when some offended Internet feminists urged people to stay away, arguing that emphasizing “vaginas” hurts trans men who don’t want their reproductive organs coded as female.
You are living in a very special world if you think that reproductive organs need to be “coded” as male or female.
“Given the constant genital policing, you can’t expect trans folks to feel included by an event title focused on a policed, binary genital,” tweeted @DrJaneChi, an abortion and transgender health provider.
“Policed, binary genital…” You get the sense that these people don’t have a whole lot of fun.
But of course — as the Ayatollah Khomeini warned his fellow true believers in 1979 — “An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam.”
Whoops, sorry, just confusing various totalitarian eschaton-seeking religions; easy mistake to make these days, no?
Especially when one New York business that caters to their fellow lefties is apparently ready to start slitting throats right now, Kevin D. Williamson noted yesterday at the Corner:
Advertisements for Manhattan Mini Storage are the wallpaper of New York City, and they frequently contain beef-witted anti-Republican and leftish invective of one sort or another, e.g. “Vote your conscience in this next election. Or just vote Republican.” It is banal stuff and, given the local political conditions, cowardly, too. But if there is one thing that New Yorkers love, it is being flattered by having their biases endorsed.
I was a bit taken back by the company’s current billboard in Tribeca: “The French aristocracy never saw it coming either.” Patting Manhattanites on the head for being good little Democratic doggies is one thing, but flippant cheerleading for what was, let’s remember, mass murder is quite another. For those of you keeping score, the number of people slaughtered during the Terror included 16,594 killed in the guillotine alone, along with tens of thousands more victims of summary execution by other means.
Mass murder is not cute. Its celebration is not clever.
Manhattan Mini Storage does understand that Dr. Zhivago and the Bane-edition of the Dark Knight Batman Trilogy weren’t how-to guides to slaughter their neighors, right?
That’s one direction that going full Orwell can lead to; perhaps, though, such a path could be blunted, at least a bit, this November.
Oh and speaking of going full Orwell, “Disgruntled worker who is ‘not a female or a male’ sues for $518,682 over PRONOUNS,” Eric Owens writes at the Daily Caller:
Some of the terms the coworkers called Jones included, for example, “little lady,” “lady” and “miss,” reports The Oregonian. The coworkers said Jones looked like a woman—possibly some unidentified female celebrity.
Jones was unhappy, explaining that pronouns which apply to everyone do not apply to Jones and are “unwelcome” because Jones is “not a female or a male.”
Before ultimately quitting the job, Jones asked supervisors to present information to every other employee about various gender identity issues. The suit says supervisors chose not to make such a presentation.
“Plaintiff cried regularly at work and at home during this time,” Jones’s $518,682 suit declares.
Jones began working for Bon Appétit in March 2013 and then resigned at some unspecified later date.
When filling out a job application, the prospective employee left the binary boxes about being either male or female blank — apparently intentionally — and staffers at Bon Appétit Management Co. never mentioned it.
The genitalia Jones possesses, if any, is unclear.
Also unclear is which gender pronouns the special and unique litigant sought to be called.
You can’t make a revolution without ripping some more chapters out of the Newspeak Dictionary. Speaking of which, when does it shrink to nothingness?
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In response to all of the above Orwellianisms, Angelo M. Codevilla cautions, “Live Not by Lies”:
Why then do we not call lies lies, and liars liars? Because there are consequences. Had O’Reilly told Obama something like “You know that this is false. You are insulting me by lying to my face. What makes you think that I, or any other American would stand for that?” he would have been ostracized by the Establishment – and lost his prized access to the White House.
For ordinary Americans, calling the regime’s lies by their name, deviating from political correctness, carries far stiffer penalties, because the regime has labeled each such deviation as an antisocial pathology: racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, “denialism,”etc., any of which mark you as an opponent of those who count. They may fire you, pass you over, or just exclude you from that to which you wish to be included.
This is new and incomplete. But only in America. It is the very routine, the very constitution, of totalitarian society. Returning our attention to the indissoluble link between truth and freedom, lies and servitude, was the great Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s enduring contribution to our civilization.
Solzhenitsyn showed that totalitarianism works by leading people to take part in the regime’s lies, and that it does so mostly by a host of petty incentives. Then he wrote: “the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, but not with any help from me.” The lies that hold up corrupt regimes, he noted, like infections, “can exist only in a living organism.” Hence whoever will live in freedom “will immediately walk out of a meeting, session, lecture, performance or film showing if he hears a speaker tell lies, or purvey ideological nonsense or shameless propaganda.”
We should all do that. Even Bill O’Reilly.
Huh — you’d think a guy named O’Reilly would understand the benefits of Irish Democracy.