Trump's Playbook?

The Trump Administration's 1984 Connection


Accusations have surfaced of the Trump administration taking inspiration from George Orwell’s 1984. An anonymous source says, “within the administration, the book is viewed as a ‘play book on governing’. People think that the steady flow of outrageous lies and accusations is just insanity or stupidity, but it is a very calculated tactic. It is ‘2 + 2 = 5’. It is training the public to think lies are true, and to demand others agree that the lies are true.”

“Similarly, they are doing their own version of ‘Newspeak’. They aren’t removing words from the language. Trump won’t be saying ‘Double Plus Good’ any time soon -- it has too many syllables. But they are redefining language. ‘Lies’ are ‘Alternative Facts’. Journalists that disagree with Trump are ‘fake news’. Courts that disagree with Trump are run by ‘so called judges’. They are creating a dialect to keep an uninformed base resistant to the truth.”

I asked if “Thoughtcrime” was being implemented in statements such as calling the press “the enemy of the people”. His answer was, “Yes, in a sense. They are painting people who disagree as an enemy of the people and the state, which is both Orwellian and classic totalitarian, but they have not taken it to the level of criminalizing disagreement or dissent. They don’t need to. Their base will accept their actions and reject valid criticism, seemingly no matter what they do, and those who challenge them with truth or law are vilified.”

“They are, however, implementing their version of Perpetual War. It doesn’t seem like it yet, but alienating and attacking Muslims, immigrants, and minorities is the beginning. They understand the Orwellian concept that if the people have an enemy, they will accept loss of freedoms, wealth, and rights. It was the Jews in pre-Nazi Germany. It was Eurasia then East Asia in 1984. They will escalate this, and relations both within our country and internationally will suffer.”

“If that leads to an excuse for a war, Trump will jump on it, and that will allow him to grab even more power. Is it so far-fetched to think of a war where we are no longer fighting in Iraq, but we are fighting with our ally Iraq against Iran? ‘Iraq has always been our ally. We have always been at war with Iran’?”

“You can see the Memory Hole concept in their efforts to systematically remove scientific documents supporting climate change from government websites, and in subtle avoidance of history, such as not acknowledging the impact of the holocaust upon Jews.” (The Memory Hole, in Orwell, was the concept of rewriting history by destroying and altering documents).

I challenged him that the Trump administration is not implementing the most famous aspect of Oceania’s totalitarian regime, the constant surveillance by the state. He answered, “No, they haven’t. A bit of an Orwellian security apparatus was pushed forward by Bush and Obama; but ironically, while they violate our Fourth Amendment rights, our intelligence institutions are still too committed to The Constitution for Trump; so, he has vilified and undermined them. The FBI may or may not fall in line with him, but the rest pose a threat to him. In truth, he doesn’t need him. Instead he has an army of alt-right internet trolls and extreme right websites to smear, harass, and attack anyone that becomes a threat to him.”

“He is, however, working towards the totalitarian aspect. The attacks on the courts, the press, the intelligence community, education, and generally, anyone who does not agree with him, they are all working to undermine the foundations of democracy that interfere with Trump’s power grab and efforts to profiteer for himself and his friends. People write-off these behaviors as those of an impulsive narcissist. His fans even cheer him on for ‘standing up to the system’. That is a dangerous underestimation. Trump may not be smart enough to plan such things, but Bannon certainly is.”

“The mainstream Republicans are helping support the more totalitarian goals. They are creating laws against protest. They are refusing to investigate the administration’s questionable activities.” I asked if he thought this was an intentional attempt support a more totalitarian state. “Who can be sure? Politicians have been chipping away at The Constitution to support their own biases for years now. It could be just that. It could be more insidious. I don’t know. Does it matter? The effect is the same.”

“Let’s be honest, if Paul Ryan thought he could repeal Obamacare, outlaw abortion, cut corporate taxes, and ride those victories to a Presidential bid in eight years; he would gladly throw a journalist in front of a train. Supporting Trump may be awkward, but it is worth it for Ryan. Many conservatives in Washington are the same. The ends justify the means.”

Questioned about Trump’s Orwell connection, Kellyanne Conway said, “The President is not interested in books, except writing bestsellers. He gets his information from the internet and television.” She then went on the rant about the “liberal elite” and their overvaluing outdated media, such as books, newspapers, and “archaic federal documents”.

When Sean Spicer was asked, in a Whitehouse press conference, about a possible connection between Orwell’s writing and the administration, Spicer attacked, “This is just another example of the liberal media unfairly attacking the President. You don’t see Fox or Breitbart trying to make connections between the administration and Orwell. It’s like when the press attacked him for quoting a fascist. It was a good quote. Similarly, the works of Orwell, Huxley, and Burgess contain some excellent writing and great quotes. The administrations familiarity with these works does not mean we take inspiration from them!”

Accusations that Trump is taking inspiration from Orwell’s dystopia may be completely false. It is hard to believe Trump is that literary. It should be disturbing, however, that such comparisons can seem to make so much sense.

War is peace.
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength
-- George Orwell, 1984
This post is satire and political commentary, not news -
Sean Sannity (Contributor)