Friday October 27, 2017
Trump card produces '1984'

George Orwell's '1984' finally became a reality in 2015 or 2016 with the arrival of Donald Trump on the political scene. Trump is a dead ringer for Big Brother, the ranting, rabble rousing, but ultimately powerless figurehead for the establishment in Orwell's dystopian vision.

Rather than the tv being the spy in the corner of the room we now have the tablet and the mobile phone monitoring the every move of almost everyone on the planet. There are no hiding places any more. The comfort we used to have that the authorities, or whoever else may be hacking into our digital devices, are so overwhelmed by the quantity of the data (and so incompetent) has melted away like frost in the early morning, because sophisticated AI systems make it possible to process gargantuan amounts of data more or less instantly. If you don't believe this take a look at the personal, targeted advertising you receive on the social media you use. Buy something (or even think of buying something) and it doesn't take long for the advertising to respond. Instead of (or as well as, because, of course, our desktop computers and other home based intelligent devices, like modern TV screens, are part of the intelligence gathering network) we now have the spy in your pocket.

The globe had already split into three zones (America/NATO, China and the rest) and warfare had become permanent and more or less incomprehensible to the person in the street. During the Afghanistan war (did that ever end?) I videoed a shopkeeper in Croydon being interviewed by a journalist who had been there and immediately recognised that the interviewee was from Afghanistan. Could a German have openly run a shop in Croydon in the Second World War? They would have been locked up if only for their own protection at a time when public propaganda openly warned of fifth columnists and told civilians 'careless words cost lives'. Today's wars involve the populace in just the same way that kids pick out football teams that they have never seen, to support. In broad terms they care about the fate of their teams but they are not that much involved. This is warfare '1984' style.

The prime function of modern conflict is to make people rally round the flag and to provide an excuse for legislation that controls the population (that's you and me). It also produces lots of business opportunities for the international conglomerates that are the modern arms traders.

So far as new speak and the re-writing of history to create a narrative more convenient for the establishment, Trump's 'fake news' along with his air brushing out visitors who jammed the streets of Washington to celebrate his predecessor's victory, so that he could claim the crowd of his own supporters was the biggest, so perfectly fits the '1984' narrative that, as they say, you couldn't make it up! Except he frequently does.

Even without Trump, the torrent of misinformation that fills traditional media and the newer social kind, is unmistakably something out of Orwell's dystopian future. These days traditional media has no budget to check facts, so correspondents just make things up to suit their prejudices and if they check at all merely look at the cuttings to find the rubbish that other similar correspondents have written on the same subject. Social media, of course, is propelled by people who have an axe to grind. That's why they are posting.

Torture in the shape of Extreme Rendition and water boarding are every bit as bad as the rat in the cage at the end of '1984'.

So what is missing from Orwell's vision? Well, simply put, it's the opposition. There is none, or precious little. Of if there is any, it's keeping extremely quiet.
Posted by Jonathan Brind.
Friday October 27, 2017