ByDean Dwyer July 2, 2023
(Queensland, Australia) — On 21 January 1950, Eric Arthur Blair died of tuberculosis. He was only 46. If that headline ran in a 1950’s newspaper, it would barely raise an eyebrow. However, if you used the pen name of this 46-year-old fellow, most people would nod knowingly. The name under which his books were published was George Orwell.
Orwell’s most famous (and often talked about) book is simply entitled 1984. Even if you have not read it, you most certainly would have heard social commentators speak about it, particularly during the last three years. But although we would readily agree that the scenario detailed in 1984 has become eerily commonplace, the question which often goes unanswered is what compelled Orwell to write such a work in the first place? Well to answer that question, you have to understand the political influences that were present in the world during Orwell’s short life – particularly Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany. In fact, his famous slogan “2+2=5” which appears in 1984 is actually based on a Stalinist rallying cry, boasting that the goals of the first five-year plan had been achieved ahead of schedule – in only four years.
But to Orwell (regardless of whatever political messaging Stalin was trying to get across), the slogan represented the absurdity of political falsehoods and lying propaganda. His beliefs were cemented during his time fighting in the Spanish Civil War after he became disillusioned with elements within the resistance forces that he felt wanted to replace the fascist government with an authoritarian regime of its own. In fact, summing up his experiences, he wrote: “What I saw in Spain and what I have seen since of the inner workings of left-wing political parties have given me a horror of politics.” It was these experiences that provided much of the political satire of 1984.
However, some years before the release of 1984, Orwell had already incorporated the 2+2=5 slogan into his writings. In a 1939 essay, he wrote, “It is quite possible that we are descending into an age in which two plus two will make five when the Leader says so”. In his role at the British Broadcasting Corporation during the Second World War, he also said, “Nazi theory, indeed, specifically denies that such a thing as ‘the truth’ exists…. If the Leader says of such and such an event, ‘It never happened’ – well, it never happened. If he says that ‘two and two are five’– well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs – and, after our experiences of the last few years [the Blitz of 1940 and 1941] that is not a frivolous statement.” In short, Orwell adopted the slogan to demonstrate the authoritarian tendency to suspend reality. A fact we are starting to become all too familiar with.
Orwell’s influential masterpiece resonates today because of one of the key foundations of his book: part of the logic of the ruling power dictates that consolidating that power requires a strategic approach such as interfering with the way that its people think. Usually, there are two tools to achieve this: fear and allegiance. This principle was on full display during the height of the COVID-era. Western governments used the fear of the virus to manipulate people into a pre-determined action (vaccination, largely against their will) and once they manipulated the population into believing the government narrative (“safe and effective”), they demanded their allegiance to the cause. Once this allegiance was secured, social power was turned against the unvaccinated population who were shamed with the charge that they were not showing allegiance to the government (and thereby the nation as a whole) by refusing vaccination.
As stated above, after living through the twin menaces of Stalinism and Nazism, Orwell wrote 1984 as a warning of what life will become in the face of unaccountable governments. Of note was his fear that party propaganda would trump free speech. But what is also important to note in modern society is that in order to monitor the success of propaganda, surveillance must operate in tandem. You see, people often focus on oneor the other. The fact is that although they work individually, it is when they operate in tandem that the real concerns begin, because the focus will be on the behaviour and thought of an individual.
Once the ruling power determines where behaviour and thought lie in relation to the government approve narrative, corrective procedures may be implemented. Again, using COVID as an example, many governments bombarded a weary population with daily statistics intended to drive fear. But, in instances where that didn’t work, they banned the unvaccinated population from social gatherings as a tool to try and force a greater uptake in vaccination rates. In short, the government didn’t trust its people to make the right decision for their health and subsequently punished them for it because they believed they were involved in “wrongthink”.
New legislation is currently making its way around the world, ostensibly todeal with the problem of misinformation and disinformation and now, it is Australia’s turn. Recently, a new draft Bill was introduced into Parliament referred to as the Communications Legislation Amendment (Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023. The key concern, accordingto the Bill is that “misinformation and disinformation poses a threat to the safety and wellbeing of Australians, as well as our democracy, society andeconomy.” The Bill goes on to define these terms:-
· Misinformation is online content that is false, misleading ordeceptive, that is shared or created without an intent to deceive but can cause and contributeto serious harm.
· Disinformation is misinformation that is intentionally disseminatedwith the intent to deceive or cause serious harm.
· Serious harm is harm that affects a significant portion of theAustralian population, economy or environment, or undermines the integrity of anAustralian democratic process.
Not surprisingly, the Bill provides exemptions for the government and its mouthpiece (otherwise known as mainstream media). According to the accompanying fact sheet, the following content is excluded:-
· Content produced in good faith for the purposes of entertainment, parody or satire; Professional news content;
· Content authorized by the Australian or a State, Territory or Local Government; and Content produced by or for an accredited education provider.
You might immediately note what is missing from that list – freedom of religious expression. Is this by accident or design? I would say the latter. As the spirit of antichrist (being a forerunner to the diabolical Antichrist) spreads throughout the world, the concept of truth has fallen on hard times. Two thousand years ago, Pilate cynically asked, “what is truth?”. All these years later, the whole world breathes Pilate’s cynicism. The problem we have now is that Western governments around the world are demanding an adherence to collective truth under the umbrella of a government approved narrative – which is not necessarily truth but the product of cultural consensus built on emotion. It is a dangerous thing to build groupthink on the whims and feelings of mankind because the heart is deceitfully wicked.
Prominent media lawyer, Justin Quill, said that the proposed legislation was “the biggest imposition on free speech that I’ve even seen in a piece of legislation.” He continued, “this is, without doubt, the worst piece of legislation for free speech that I have seen. If it was brought out on April Fools, April 1st, we’d all say it was an April Fool’s joke. It’s that bad.” But it wasn’t released on April 1st. It was released on June 25, 2023. And do you know the date of Orwell’s birth? June 25, 1903. 120 years after the birth of the man who would chillingly warn the world of the dangers of unaccountable government overreach in the areas of though and behaviour, the Australian government releases a Bill that will do just that. Coincidence? Or is someone within the Australian government taunting the population?
In the Scriptures, there is a word which appears in Hebrew – emet. It means firmness, faithfulness, truth. It is made up of three Hebrew characters – aleph, mem, tav. And those three characters happen to be the first, middle and last characters of the Hebrew alphabet, signifying that truth – God’s truth – encompasses the beginning, the end and everything in between. But I also want you to notice something else very interesting. If you remove the letter aleph from the word emet, you are left with the word met. Why is this relevant? Because aleph represents God and the word met represents death. So when you look at the word emet, while God remains in it, you have truth. But remove God from it and it is lifeless. The Australian government would do well to remember the same.
It is seeking to arbitrate truth without promoting the Christ who said He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Consequently, Proverbs 14:12 applies to the government’s proposed Bill –
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.