It's 1984 Again

Aug 27, 2018


My brother and I had a conversation a few weeks ago that was a telling one. He told me he had started rereading George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, and stopped. It was simply too depressing, because too much of it rang too true in 2018. For reference’s sake, Orwell wrote this novel in response to the state terror that was Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. 



My brother has never been one to shy away from a hard truth and is as well-informed a citizen as anyone I know. So, his statement struck a chord with me. Years ago, when I taught this novel to high school sophomores, the real-life reference point I used with kids was North Korea. If I were to teach this novel again, I would still use North Korea as a primary reference point. But, I would also have to use certain examples of current life in these United States. 


Right now, the lies perpetuated on a daily basis by the current administration are in the same ball park as the lies generated by the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s 1984. My two fears on these daily lies are as follows: First, many of us in this country are likely wearing out from this daily onslaught. And second, when people finally wear out, they accept what was once unacceptable as the new normal.  


I’m Andrew Nelson and that’s my perspective.