Trump's 2019 and Orwell's '1984' Have Too Much in Common


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  2 weeks ago  •  12 comments

By:   Cass R. Sunstein (Bloomberg. com)

Trump's 2019 and Orwell's '1984' Have Too Much in Common
Those chants of "Send her back" exposed the Trump presidency's Orwellian soul.

Trump's America is the epitome of Orwellian...

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Those chants of "Send her back" exposed the Trump presidency's Orwellian soul.

By Cass R. Sunstein 4:07

'1984' Comes to 2019

Those chants of "Send her back" exposed the Trump presidency's Orwellian soul.

By Cass R. Sunstein ,

He saw it coming.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

He saw it coming.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

George Orwell's "1984" is the greatest fictional account of authoritarian leadership — the most astute, the most precise, the most attuned to human psychology.

One of its defining chapters explores the Two Minutes Hate, which helps establish and maintain Big Brother's regime.

As Orwell describes it, the Hate begins with a flash of a face on a large screen. It is Emmanuel Goldstein, "the Enemy of the People." His is "a clever face, and yet somehow inherently despicable," and also unmistakably foreign. It produces fear and disgust.

Goldstein defines disloyalty to the nation and (what is the same thing) the regime: "He was the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party's purity." Goldstein is responsible for heresies and treacheries of all kinds. He does not love his country.

In the first 30 seconds of the Hate, Goldstein's voice is heard as he denounces the party and calls for freedom of multiple kinds. "He was abusing Big Brother," and "he was advocating freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought."

The result is to produce rage and fear in the audience, and to do so immediately. Goldstein is a serious threat. Wherever he is, he commands a kind of shadow army, a network of conspirators. He is the author of a terrible book, including all the heresies.

In the second minute of the Hate, people become frenzied. They leap and shout, trying to drown out Goldstein's maddening voice. Children join in the shouting.

Orwell's hero, Winston, finds himself unable to resist. He, too, begins to shout, and also to kick violently. On his part, this was no mere show. "The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part," Orwell writes, "but that it was impossible to avoid joining in."

No pretense was necessary: "A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledgehammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic."

Despite loathing Big Brother, Winston felt his feelings "changed into adoration, and Big Brother seemed to tower up, an invincible, fearless protector, standing like a rock" against threats. And as his hatred mounts, it turns sexual. Winston fantasizes about raping and murdering the girl behind him.

At that point, the Hate rises to its climax. Goldstein's voice becomes that of an actual bleating sheep, and for a moment, his face is transformed into that of a sheep. Big Brother's face then fills the screen, powerful, comforting, and mysteriously calm.

Big Brother's actual words are not heard, but they are felt, as a kind of reassurance. At that point the Party's three slogans appear on the screen:




A member of the audience seems to pray to Big Brother. For 30 seconds the audience chants in his honor, in "an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise." Winston chants with the rest, for "it was impossible to do otherwise."

The Two Minutes Hate is a distillation of a common tactic of certain leaders, mostly in authoritarian nations, but in democracies as well. They focus attention on enemies, outsiders, foreigners and heretics — on those who seek to destroy society's fabric.

What makes the Two Minutes Hate so insidious is that even for those who oppose it, and see it for what it is, it tends to get under the skin. The sheer repetition of an accusation — against Emmanuel Goldstein, Hillary Clinton, Ilhan Omar, Muslims, immigrants or the press — can make it difficult not to feel, in some part of one's mind, that the accusation is correct.

Actually it's even worse.

As Orwell depicts it, the Hate liberates something in the human soul. It is not as if the relevant emotions — "fear and vindictiveness" — are unrecognizable, even to those who thought they had no animus against Goldstein. By unleashing "a hideous ecstasy," embodied in chants of various kinds, authoritarian leaders aim to obliterate one thing above all: what Abraham Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature."

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.


jrDiscussion - desc
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1  seeder  JBB    2 weeks ago

Trump is Big Brother...

1.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  JBB @1    2 weeks ago

The "Shock Troops' sent to Portland is another sure sign.

He is such a weak president.......

Greg Jones
1.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.1    2 weeks ago


1.1.2  seeder  JBB  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.1    2 weeks ago

They surely weren't "federal agents". Talk about ypur Orwellian Double Speak! Those are soldiers!

Greg Jones
2  Greg Jones    2 weeks ago

Wait until you get a dose of a Biden presidency.....


2.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  Greg Jones @2    2 weeks ago

Can't wait till January? Can you? Joe To The Rescue!

Greg Jones
2.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JBB @2.1    2 weeks ago

Right on!

Joe will wave a piece of paper around, proudly announce that there is "peace in our time", and then turn over the keys to the WH to AOC and her old left wing crones.

2.1.2  Gsquared  replied to  Greg Jones @2.1.1    2 weeks ago

As opposed to Trump declaring he is the "greatest of all presidents" and "I believe Putin"...

Your comment is fantasy, of course.  Mine, verifiable quotes.

Transyferous Rex
3  Transyferous Rex    2 weeks ago

Trump is most definitely Goldstein in this story. 

Every day, we are treated to the "Hate" of the lefties, wherein Trump's face, his words, and his followers are bashed. 

3.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  Transyferous Rex @3    2 weeks ago

For your edification...


What Does the Ending of 1984 Mean?

"After Winston has been broken by the rats in Room 101 and has offered Julia up for torture in his place, the final chapter of the book follows Winston for an afternoon sometime following his release from the Ministry of Love. The reader learns that Winston now leads a life of easy, meaningless work, and that when he once spoke to Julia again, she admitted that she had also turned on Winston, and the two now feel nothing for each other. In the final moment of the novel, Winston encounters an image of Big Brother and experiences a sense of victory because he now loves Big Brother. Winston’s total acceptance of Party rule marks the completion of the trajectory he has been on since the opening of the novel. Despite Winston’s various forms of rejection and resistance toward the Party, he had always been realistic about how his choices would inevitably lead to his arrest, torture, and eventual death.

Although Winston’s fate is unhappy and the ending of the book may seem pessimistic, the ending also can be read as offering a glimpse of hope. The Party had to go to extreme measures to break Winston, employing an entire cast of characters and spending countless hours following Winston and later interrogating him. The amount of effort the Party puts into breaking down just one individual would not be possible on a massive scale: there are simply too few Party members and too many people for them to monitor. If the Party needs to expend the same amount of resources on every dissenter as it spent on Winston, it will never be able to completely stamp out dissent among the people. For every dissenter like Winston who gets caught and broken by the Party, another may go undetected. Were the Party able to invent an efficient way to squash dissent on a large scale, rather than picking off dissenters one by one, then the ending of the book would be truly hopeless. But the fact that Winston was able to resist as long as he did, and that it took the Party such extraordinary efforts to bring him down, keeps the novel from being completely hopeless"...

3.1.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  JBB @3.1    2 weeks ago

Perfect example of the Trump party today...... and what is going to happen in the near future to rid the US of their mass hysteria.

Transyferous Rex
3.1.2  Transyferous Rex  replied to  JBB @3.1    2 weeks ago

I appreciate the concern for my learning and understanding. 

Funny that Sunstein is writing on governmental use of propaganda to supplant ideology, belief, thought, etc., when Sunstein himself authored an essay detailing how and why the government should and could use such tactics for that very purpose. Winton's new found love of big Brother in Room 101 is exactly the type of rewiring Sunstein has suggested be used, e.g., government engaging in counter speech to discredit thoughts, government hiring of private parties to engage in counter speech to discredit the thoughts, direct interaction and communication with the parties with the wrong thought, banning of thoughts or speech, and taxing or punishing thoughts or speech. Now that's some Orwellian stuff.  


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