Not one, but two sicknesses have invaded the formerly free nations of the west. One is a virus, recently introduced from China, the other an even deadlier contagion, one that seeks out and destroys not just bodies, but minds and souls as well. It, too, has roots in Asia. To wit:
Rhode Island is deploying the National guard and state police to hunt down individuals from New York who are seeking refuge in the Ocean State. Police are stopping cars bearing New York license plates. National Guard troops are going door-to-door in search of New Yorkers. Once found, they will be compelled to undergo a 14-day quarantine. If they refuse, they may be fined and jailed.
Big Brother is Watching You.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is threatening to permanently close down churches and synagogues that do not comply with his order to stop gathering during the coronavirus outbreak. He told them, “You’ve been warned, you need to stop services…” Residents of the Big Apple who break social distancing rules will be subject to $500 fines. The state has banned gatherings of any size, decreed that people stay a minimum of six feet away from each other, and ordered all nonessential businesses to shut down indefinitely.
New Jersey police have arrested folks for hosting parties, including one person who hosted a pop-up wedding at his home. Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order in March that prohibited “gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations, or other social events” in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus in his state. At a recent news conference Murphy exclaimed, "If you do not need to be out, then we need you to stay at home.” He then added, “And even when you are at home, keep your distance between yourself and other family members."
If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.
The Laredo, Texas, city council recently passed a motion subjecting residents to a fine of up to $1,000 for not wearing some form of covering on their nose and mouth in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. All residents over the age of 5 are now required to have their nose and mouth covered when entering public buildings, using public transportation and when pumping gas.
We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.
Police in Chicago recently broke up a funeral for violating Illinois’ stay at home order. A funeral.
Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.
In Greensboro, North Carolina, four men from the group Love Life were arrested for praying outside an abortion clinic while the county is under a stay at home order. Justin Reeder, Love Life’s lawyer, stated that the group is a religious non-profit, recognized by the federal government as providing charitable and social services and is therefore, pursuant to several provisions in the Guilford County proclamation and the United States Constitution, expressly permitted to continue prayer and ministry. No matter. As Reeder and the four men approached the abortion clinic they were promptly confronted by numerous squad cars, cited and arrested.
Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.
Vermont’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development has ordered all big box retailers in the state, such as Wal-Mart and Costco, to stop the in store selling of items the agency has determined to be “non-essential.” So, even though these stores can stay open because they sell items the government deems essential, they must not sell the items they have on hand that it doesn’t think are all that necessary. How does it justify that? It doesn’t. Just do what Big Brother tells you to do. These stores must restrict access to the non-essential goods by closing aisles or removing the items from the sales floor. Moreover, showrooms and garden centers must be closed to customers, as well. Several other municipalities around the U.S. have issued similar decrees.
Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters inside your skull.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced new guidelines for construction sites operating during the current pandemic, adding that the city will be sending inspectors out to these sites every day to ensure they are complying with the new edicts. Garcetti said, “We will not be shy about shutting down construction sites that do not comply, so comply.” He also used a recent press briefing to encourage citizens of the City of Light to report any businesses that may be violating the order, stating, “You know the old expression about snitches, well in this case snitches get rewards. We want to thank you for turning folks in and making sure we are all safe.”
It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.
“Government officials across the U.S. are using location data from millions of cellphones in a bid to better understand the movements of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic and how they may be affecting the spread of the disease,” read an article in a recent Wall Street Journal. The piece went on to state that federal, state and local governments are now receiving analyses about the presence and movement of people from their cellphone data.
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
Some American citizens have been threatened with arrest for leaving their homes without authorization or a government-approved reason for doing so. Small businesses are being told they must limit the numbers of customers in their stores and offices or that they must shut down entirely—or have their water and electricity shut off.
“You are a slow learner, Winston.”
“How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four."
"Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”
The Serbian government recently banned its citizens from taking short walks with their dogs in the evening. It had previously graciously allowed them to take walks of up to 20-minutes with their furry family members. The country is now under curfew from 5 p.m. until 5 a.m. daily.
Sanity is not statistical.
Germans have quickly taken to reporting their neighbors, fellow citizens, and businesses for disobeying social distancing rules. Germany introduced new measures in March forcing restaurants, pubs and sports facilities, among other entities, to close their doors, and also banned gatherings of people. Since then, the polizei have been inundated with calls from people reporting on their neighbors. An official in Magdeburg was moved to tell citizens that they shouldn’t overburden the police, stating, “People shouldn’t make a report every time they see three people sitting on a park bench,” according to the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung. In some cases, jealous Germans have reported on Berliners traveling to their summer homes by identifying their license plates. This is sadly reminiscent of the East German Stasi, a network of over 200,000 informants that spied on friends, colleagues and relatives for that nation’s Communist government in order to crush dissent and force them into permanent submission.
Confession is not betrayal. What you say or do doesn't matter; only feelings matter.
England’s Neath and Port Talbot Council is using a space-age talking drone to chase people back into their abodes. The drone is equipped with speakers that will scream out, “This is a message from Neath and Port Talbot Council. Please follow the given rules at this time, you must stay home.” Nothing creepy there. At least it says “please.” One local opined that this is “next level stuff!” and added that it “feels a bit 1984-esque.” You think? (That’s the problem, we aren’t thinking anymore.)
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
No fewer than 24 countries are currently using telecommunications for tracking their citizens locations. At least 14 are using applications for contact tracing or quarantine enforcement. China, home of the virus, has introduced a “traffic-light system” that uses smartphone software to classify individuals as red, yellow or green and determine whether they can move about or meet.
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
Google is releasing location data to 131 nations so authorities can determine if people are obeying self-isolating rules. The search engine colossus issues “Community Mobility Reports” showing the frequency of visits to shops, parks and workplaces.
Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.
Amnesty International’s tech division deputy director, Rasha Abdul Rahim, points out that “The recent past has shown governments are reluctant to relinquish temporary surveillance powers,” and adds, “We must not sleepwalk into a permanent expanded surveillance state now.”
Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.
We may already have done so. House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) recently affirmed Democrats’ intent to use the COVID-19 pandemic to further their ideological agenda when he said, "This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently said of the coronavirus crisis: “It is going to be transformative on a personal basis, on a social basis, on a systems basis. We're never going to be the same again.” Unfazed, a reporter asked him, “When do we get back to normal?” He replied, “I don't think we get back to normal. I think… we get to a new normal.”
Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.
Some in government are legitimately trying to prevent people from dying. Some are giddy at the “tremendous opportunity” to increase their own power. Most would like to do both.
If we fall victim to doublespeak, which, by Orwell’s definition, means “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously and accepting both of them,” we are sentencing ourselves to an unending servitude, a spiritual darkness never again to be pierced by the light of freedom. War is not peace. Freedom is not slavery. Ignorance is not strength.
As Ben Franklin noted, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Let’s hope this COVID-1984 crisis doesn’t end as Orwell’s novel did: “The struggle was finished. We had won the victory over ourselves. We loved big brother.”