Fear of Trump has made “1984” a bestseller, again

In a rather terrifying, but also somewhat hopeful, development, George Orwell’s portentous warning about a totalitarian future, “1984,” is a best-seller again.

The book’s newfound success — it’s #1 on Amazon right now — is presumably thanks to Donald Trump.

And I say “hopeful” because, while the book is about a horrible totalitarian government, people are buying the book because they’re worried about Trump. And that’s a good thing, they should be.

I read 1984 back in high school, a few years right before 1984. It’s a cautionary tale of how a totalitarian controls and destroys its own people by controlling and destroying all facts.

One of the book’s most famous lines is: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

In the book, the government continually changes the truth by rewriting history books and destroying old documents that reflect what actually happened, but are now inconsistent with the governments new faulty version of the “truth.”

Just this weekend, in a move that made many think of the book, top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway referred to Trump’s and his aides’ obvious lies about the diminutive crowd size at the inaugural as “alternative facts.”

In the book, the government agency that deals with changing the past is called the Ministry of Truth. And books and documents that are destroyed are said to be sent down “the memory hole.”

The way in which Trump outright lies, and even contradicts himself, is straight out of 1984. In the book, the lies are intentional. In Trump’s case, as CNN’s Mark Preston noted, it’s still unclear if Trump is lying or delusional:

“He’s undermining his staff by forcing them to go out and repeat his lies. And if he’s not lying, let’s assume he’s not lying at all. He’s either delusional and he believes it, or to Dana’s point, the insecurities…”

Whether Trump is a liar, delusion, or both, clearly there’s been an effort by Republicans over the past twenty years to rewrite the truth about a number of topics, science in particular. But in order to do that, they need to not only play the refs — the arbiters of truth, aka the press — but eventually eliminate the refs entirely. That’s one of the reasons Fox News was created. If you don’t like the facts, create your own alternative fact network. At the same time, do everything you can to discredit the actual media. At some point, and we’ve reached that point, a good portion of your voters will no longer believe the media’s truth, and rather, will embrace your lie.

Trump, by intent or infirmity, is only the latest and most brutal manifestation of the Republican party’s longterm goal of governing by deception. And the scary thing is, it may be starting to work.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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9 Responses to “Fear of Trump has made “1984” a bestseller, again”

  1. HandsomeMrToad says:

    Best line: “‘You’re only a rebel from the waist downwards,’ he told her.”

  2. Badgerite says:

    This is brilliant.
    Kellyanne Conjob does so much smile, as bare her teeth. Just an observation.
    Not an “alternative fact”.

  3. Moorezart says:

    Another great one for these times is It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. It’s even more alarming because it tells how Windrip got elected (lies, lies and more lies) and immediately set in place the machinery for a complete totalitarian regime just like Trump is doing. It’s ironic because Windrip poses as a democrat. The parallels between Windrip and Trump are alarming to say the least.

  4. Demosthenes says:

    I read 1984 in 2003, when we lied our way into an unnecessary war with Iraq. In contrast to the Bush II administration, the Trump cadre doesn’t pick big stuff to lie about; it lies about everything. 1984 is more of a cautionary tale about now than the Bush II years, given the authoritarian government’s focus on big and small lies alike.

  5. brel1 says:

    Read 1984 during the Bush years and thought it relevant and it’s still on my shelf. Now 1984 seems real. The nightmare has become a reality. Haven’t been able to watch the spinning MSM for years without going nuts. An aside: Putting my tinfoil hat on here: Bill Maher pointed out that the Red states have the highest drug addiction. Just wondering if the GOP had something to do with that. People are even dumber when addicted.

  6. keirmeister says:

    I guess you don’t get any more Orwellian than the phrase “Alternative Facts.” Luckily we have Randy Rainbow to help explain it through song:

    https://youtu.be/OdV_8TGswRA

  7. BearEyes says:

    John – I would argue that the re-writing of the past began with Ronnie Raygun when he brought in all those “religionists” to get votes. This has clearly been a theo-fascist coup d’ Etat (forgive the lack of accents from my keyboard) in the making for the last 40 or so years. 20 is giving them far too much credit. They stacked the local town councils, the school boards, etc. all along – whilst the democrats forgot there’s a 50 state strategy to be had.

  8. AdmNaismith says:

    For f*ck sake- where were these people when Bush was president? Cheney was just as free with the lies, though not as gods damned clumsy about it (gotta give him credit there).

    Yes, these bastards are 10x worse, if only because of how incredibly stupid their leader Il Douche is, but still…

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