By now, you've probably heard of Dick Cheney's latest bout of buffoonery. On his way home from his "try and kill me" tour through Asia on Air Force 2, Cheney agreed to be interviewed by reporters, but only if the reporters referred to him as "a senior administration official."
He blew his "cover" when he started making statements like "I would describe my sessions both in Pakistan and Afghanistan as very productive."
But even though any of my three dogs could see through this "anonymity" stratagem, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow plowed ahead with the company policy. On Wednesday, he told reporters " "I have spoken with the vice president's office, and the ground rules that were laid out are going to remain in effect."
Isn't that special?
The New Orwellians
It appears that even the Bush inner-circle is getting a glimmer that anything old "Last Throes" says will be automatically disregarded by the discerning public. And it's a sad state of affairs when the administration spinsters understand that if "Cheney says" his sessions in Pakistan and Afghanistan were very productive, that constitutes de facto evidence that those sessions were a total flop.
And for that blithering jackdaw Tony Snow to cover up the cover up with "ground rules are going to remain in effect" bull pluck illustrates just how insane the nature of discourse in our once might republic has become.
Voltaire, author of the immortal novella Candide, famously wrote, "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
Lamentably, too many Americans exist who still believe the Bush administration's absurdities. They remind me of the "outer Party members" that George Orwell described in his seminal novel 1984.
Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph.
In other words, Orwell tells us, it important in a totalitarian society for the citizenry to maintain a mentality appropriate to a state of war.
It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist.
Does this sound at all familiar to you? It should.
Another Orwellian concept that should resonate is the Two Minutes Hate.
The programmes of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Goldstein was not the principal figure. He was the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party's purity. All subsequent crimes against the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching…
…Goldstein was hated and despised by everybody, although every day and a thousand times a day, on platforms, on the telescreen, in newspapers, in books, his theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up to the general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were in spite of all this, his influence never seemed to grow less…
… Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room…
… In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy…
…The Hate rose to its climax. The voice of Goldstein had become an actual sheep's bleat, and for an instant the face changed into that of a sheep. Then the sheep-face melted into the figure of a Eurasian soldier who seemed to be advancing, huge and terrible, his sub-machine gun roaring, and seeming to spring out of the surface of the screen, so that some of the people in the front row actually flinched backwards in their seats. But in the same moment, drawing a deep sigh of relief from everybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of Big Brother, black-haired, black-moustachio'd, full of power and mysterious calm, and so vast that it almost filled up the screen. Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the face of Big Brother faded away again, and instead the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
If you're at all aware of what goes on at A.M. talk radio, Fox News and the rest of the Big Brother Broadcast, you realize that Orwell's Two Minutes Hate has evolved into a 24/7/52 phenomenon.
I don't know how we're going to turn our country around, but I know that we must. We're at a tipping point. Our cherished republic continues to slide toward a state of Orwellian dystopia, and if we let this situation continue much longer, there will be no turning back.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.