by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
Yesterday, while discussing progressives’ sudden interest in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four because of the election of Donald Trump, I wrote:
I confess, however, I don’t see how a progressive relativist can read Nineteen Eighty-Fourwithout suffering a soul-crushing bout of self-recrimination. Unless they have truly perfected doublethink.
Here’s what I didn’t imagine. The new fans of Orwell would find Orwell so, well, inconvenient, that they’d put his original text down the Orwellian Memory Hole and replace it with something more useful.
Original Orwell is like Comrade Withers, “now in disgrace … suspected of heretical tendencies.” It needs to be replaced with a complete fabrication, a quotation like the made-up Comrade Ogilvy, which “a few lines of print … would soon bring him into existence.”
To wit (pardon the language):
— Pixelated Boat (@pixelatedboat) January 25, 2017
That crossed my Twitter feed, and it seemed so crazy I decided to verify it myself. Google, Yahoo! and Bing cached versions of the Guardian (UK) story by Brigid Delaney were post-correction.
So there is apparently another explanation for how progressives can read Nineteen Eighty-Four without disruption: Orwell wrote whatever they say he wrote.