by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
I saw this book prominently displayed in a bookstore a few days ago, and I was tempted to buy it. Again. I had a copy back in my college days, but it’s disappeared from my bookshelf.
Today’s assault on speech and thought reminds me of the chilling society depicted in 1984. Turns out, I’m not the only one drawn back to the Orwell classic and the tale of the Ministry of Truth. Publishers Weekly reports the book ranks #18 on the print bestseller list for January – June 2021. Time for all of us who believe in freedom and individual rights to read this again.
As a reminder, here is how Cliffnotes.com describes the ending of 1984 and Winston’s fate.
Of course, no one at the Ministry of Love murdered Winston, even though O’Brien threatened (or promised?) that Winston would eventually be shot. But O’Brien and the Ministry of Love did murder Winston’s self. At the end of the novel, Winston no longer exists as a thinking individual. He exists only as a puppet of the Party, forever selfless, forever loving Big Brother.
Free thought. If we don’t defend it, we won’t have it.