I have a tendency to read two or three books at once and have once again fallen into this bad habit. I am reading George Orwell’s 1984 once again and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (about the life of Thomas Cromwell) for the first time. The later is a study of the past, whilst the former was written as a study of the future that has now become the past.
Wolf Hall highlights the degree to which government, both Protestant and Catholic, peered into men’s souls in Tudor times, which was frightening.
1984 is not just a satire on Totalitarianism; it is satire on all dominant political thought processes. Nowadays, ours is a kind of vapid centralist social democracy which is utterly dominant in both the so called right and left parties all over Europe.
In 1984 when O’Brien is torturing Winston Smith he says:
“We are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury, a long life or happiness, only power, pure power.”
It seems to me that today many of the world’s leading politicians are less and less interested in ideology, in moving the world in the direction of their own choice. They are focused on power, but not power to do something, just to be.
To obtain an office, to be on the top table with the President of the United States, to have their name inscribed in the lists of Prime Minister, to be someone, not to do anything.
They are empty shells.
As O’Brien says:
“The object of power is power.”
Newspeak is famously the corruption of language to eradicate free thought. Political correctness is the modern equivalent of newspeak.
Modern leaders for instance unashamedly draw back from talking about immigration because is leads inevitably into a language which confronts political correctness.
Thus when the Right seeks to speak out on its favourite theme it is quickly deemed guilty of “thought crime”.
In 1984 any lie can become truth. Two and two can be made to be five.
Now in the modern consensus all conservative heresies are gradually consigned to the dustbin because an opinion pool from some focus group has deemed that any citizen that confronts the notion of social democracy is dangerous or idiosyncratic. In other words the only yardstick to live by is that society knows what is good for me, rather than living by my instincts of what is good for me and my family.
The main component seems to be that people have to believe in something because it is deemed to be good for society by the dominant politics of the day, and not for them and their families. For instance, when David Cameron bravely speaks out for marriage, a bucketful of invective is poured over his head which argues that because not all marriages are good, we can’t support marriage. He must have the courage to carry out his convictions.
Most people know that the modern state is fantastically wasteful and incompetent but it is somehow bad manners to rise up in intellectual rebellion and demand a bonfire of rules and regulations, a dramatic cut in spending and the return of our own money in tax cuts.
I think that many people would in truth, like to send their children to a privately run school. They cannot afford it because they would have to pay for education out of their highly taxed salaries. They are brain washed into believing that state schools, many of which provide a very mediocre education, are actually best for them and their families. This may be right, but not in all cases.
Many people would like to top up their NHS prescriptions or spend their last days in a private home or a private hospital. However, they think they should want to end their days in a mixed NHS ward.
Many people think that much of the money which they give to charity is wasted in incompetence and corruption and that actually this has been a great cause of the corruption of the ruling classes which has led to the ruination of Africa. But they dare not say so.
Most people like the thought of living in their own country, with their own culture and their own religion in the broadest sense, but they are brainwashed into thinking it is good to live in society where their traditional identities are gradually being forgotten.
Most people would like to believe in marriage and in God, but because they are told that God’s existence cannot be proved and that belief in Him can lead to intolerance and extremism they substitute religious obedience for some vague subservience to the good of society and liberalisation.
This attitude informs the debate on “global warming”. People are told that they should want to live next to a huge, ugly wind turbine. That they must give up their comfortable car because this too adds to global warming. Unfortunately global warming has become a constant crusade by the Left to impose a new, thoroughly painful ideology on us, when their old ones have been demolished.
Is it any wonder that if you look around Europe the Prime Ministers, whether left or right, are generally instantly forgettable suits.
Is it any wonder that there has never been a time when politicians and political parties in Europe were more moribund, and there are increasing calls for state funding to fill the vacuum?