Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four Describes the Authoritarian Left Better Than It Does Trump

Trump haters rush to buy the famous dystopian novel.


It's great to see that leftists and millennials and others are snapping up George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four in a bid to make some sense of Trump's presidency. Because when they get deep into this dystopian tale—into the Newspeaking, sex-fearing, history-rewriting meat of it—they might realize that it describes their authoritarianism better than Trump's. I can picture their faces now: "Guys… is this novel about us?"

The book shot to the top of Amazon's bestseller list after Kellyanne Conway used the phrase "alternative facts" to describe the Trump administration's belief that the crowds at his inauguration were larger than the media had let on. People pointed out that "alternative facts" sounds creepily like something the Party in Orwell's story would say. Trump seems to believe he can fashion facts from thin air, to boost his own political standing.

"Alternative facts is a George Orwell phrase," said Washington Post reporter Karen Tumulty. MSNBC correspondent Joy Reid tweeted the following lines from the novel: "The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command." Within hours Nineteen Eighty-Four was a bestseller again, people buying it as a map to the liberty-challenging Trump era.

But the novel is a better guide to what preceded Trump, to the nannying, nudging, speech-policing, sex-panicking, P.C. culture that Trumpism is in some ways a reaction against.

Consider the Junior Anti-Sex League, the prudish youths in Orwell's story who think the "sex impulse" is dangerous and devote themselves to spying on interactions between the sexes. "Eroticism was the enemy," they believed. "Desire was thoughtcrime." If this prissiness finds its echo in anyone today, it isn't in the creepily oversexed, pussy-grabbing Trump—it's in the stiff buzz-killers of the campus feminist movement.

These radical wallflowers demonize drunk sex, bossily insisting all sexual interactions must be "sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual and honest." (Even the Junior Anti-Sex League didn't come up with such a thorough list of what counts as acceptable sex.) They drag male students to campus kangaroo courts for allegedly doing sex the wrong way. Student officials in Britain have banned the making of "animal noises" in the student bar lest they arouse sexual bravado in men, and sexual dread in women.

Fortunately, it is curable. Some universities make freshmen undergo diversity training, inculcating them with the correct mindset on all matters racial, religious, and social. The University of Delaware, going full O'Brien, referred to its diversity training as "treatment" for incorrect attitudes. The New York Times reported last year that more and more students think diversity training "smacks of some sort of Communist re-education program." The modern campus, as devoted to treating moral infection as to imparting knowledge, could adopt O'Brien's cry as its slogan: "Shall I tell you why we have brought you here? To cure you!"

And of course there's thoughtcrime. The Party punishes anyone who dares to hold a point of view it disagrees with. Not unlike modern P.C. warriors who will brand you a "denier" if you're not fully eco-conformist and a "misogynist" if you criticize feminism.

Witness the doublespeak of today's leftist lovers of censorship. They create Safe Spaces, they speak of "the right to be comfortable". These are darkly Orwellian euphemisms for censorship. The Party would be proud of these people who have successfully repackaged the expulsion of unpopular views as "safety" and "comfort"; who will use actual threats and force—see the Berkeley stink—to secure students' "safety" against unpleasant ideas. War is Peace, Violence is Safety, Censorship is Comfort.

As to "alternative facts" and the invitation to "reject the evidence of your eyes and ears": that Nineteen Eighty-Four theme applies at least as well to the P.C. set as it does to Trump's hissy fits. Their clinging to patently overblown rape-on-campus stats, and their trashing of anyone who dares question them, suggests a deep devotion to alternative realities.

And how about Newspeak, the Party's made-up, minimalist language that it pressures people to adopt? That finds expression today in the Pronoun Police, who demonize the use of "he" and "she" as potentially transphobic and invent Newspeak pronouns in their stead. Some campuses now want everyone to use "ze" as a default pronoun. "Ze" might be the most Newspeak word ever: a strange small word you must use if you want to be considered morally good.

Then there is the war on history, the demolition of ugly or inconvenient historical ideas and symbols. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, old things that have fallen out of favor are plunged down the memory hole. Today, P.C. zealots demand the tearing down of statues of old colonialists or the renaming of university halls that are named after people from the past who—shock, horror—had different values to ours. The Year Zero fervor of Orwell's Party is mirrored now in the behaviour of intolerant culture warriors.

Trump will be authoritarian, that's for sure. But his is likely to be a clumsy authoritarianism, oafish rather than Orwellian. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, leftists and millennials won't find a dystopian, fictionalized version of Trumpism—they'll find themselves. In the Party, in the treatment of ideas as disorders, in the Two Minutes Hate against those who are offensive or different, in the hounding of unpopular opinions, in the memory-holing of difficult things, they will see their own tragic creed reflected back to them. They will find a stinging rebuke from history of their own embrace of the sexless, joyless, ban-happy urge to control almost every area of individual thought and life. I hope they heed to this rebuke, and change.

NEXT: U.S. Military Veterans Can Still Face Deportation

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  1. Man they need a headline proofreader-come on now.

    1. Fairly good article though.

      1. I agree, Grinch. The only mistake that stood out to me was the partial sentence

        These radical wallflowers demonize drunk sex, bossily insisting all sexual interactions must be

        which had no ending. After O’Neill makes his corrections I’d like to forward his observant article to a few friends.

        1. This article was published in Spiked a few days ago, and was apparently cut and pasted badly here.

    2. They won’t even spring for an edit button.

  2. is this the post that was memory-holed for a couple days?

    1. I think it was posted early by mistake. When I saw it yesterday, the byline said February 10.

      But yes, it is.

      1. Why did they get rid of our comments too?

          1. We have always been at war with comments.

            1. Not the “””The People’s Republic of China “is a socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants,” and that the state organs “apply the principle of democratic centralism”””

              1. wrong place, oops

          1. Threadwinner, BP!

            1. I’d say thanks, but considering your handle, I’m wondering if you’re just extending the whole ‘4th wall’ idea.

        1. There were no comments, comrade. I don’t know what you are talking about. The article has always been commentless.

          1. You wrong, this just in, the comments were there, but Goldstein stole our precious comments. Remember this good brother when its time for the two minutes of hate.

        2. They’ve explained that before. Something to do with their shitty blogging software.

          1. Shitty blogging software? On MY Reason?!?

            1. It’s the only software they could find consistent with Windows XP, which is what all their devices are on.

  3. They ran this shit yesterday – WTF?!?!


    1. I think that articles attributed to “reason staff” are pretty much literally phoned in.

  4. The ministry of truth will put forth acceptable speech will not include hate speech words and terms – un acceptable words = freedom, liberty, free market capitalism, profit, choice. More to follow, that is all.

  5. 1984 was written by a lifelong unrepentant socialist who was describing and projecting the possible future course of another socialist from the left, Joseph Stalin. It was basically a sane smidgen of the far left unironically attacking where leftism leads to if followed to its logical end.

    1. Wait, you mean the moral of the sorry in Animal Farm is not that the wrong top pigs were in charge?

      1. Mmm… pig tops….

    2. A good article on this.

      1. Money quote:

        In practice, democracy has never lived up to its ideal. At bottom, democratic elections are not about advancing high ideals or embracing rational decisions made by an enlightened populace. Democratic elections are about winning power. “Mobocracy” is not exclusive to our time or a particular political party. Playing on people’s insecurities and fears of “the other” is not exclusive to a particular billionaire. These are not flaws of a know-nothing reactionary movement but features of democracy itself.

        Nothing illustrates this more clearly to me than people who sang the praises of democracy then did an abrupt about-face into decrying the dangers of populism.

        1. Rather, nothing illustrates how poorly understood this is than…

        2. And insisted on November 8th that the election results must be respected or else anarchy would ensue, and on November 10th set about fifteen different schemes to undermine or circumvent the election results.

        3. Historically, what we call “democracy” today (representative democracy) isn’t democracy. Democracy was for property owners, and either was direct or based on sortition. It was more like shareholders in a corporation than the bizarre political arrangement we have now.

          1. Exactly, or as they say now, it was racist, bigotted, homophobic, sexist, patriarchy then, and apparently still is…?

            1. Well, you may spew such b.s., but you’re missing the point.

              Sortition is a good idea, as is the question of who can vote on what; democracy shouldn’t be two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

      2. Could it not also be said that the trouble with democratic elections is that somebody wins them? Which is worse for the losers: the free competition of the market or the zero-sum outcomes of democratic elections? Which of the two is more dog-eat-dog?

        Was just talking to some people today about that. Trying to explain that all redistribution by the government is zero-sum is difficult. The idea is simple, but self-interest is a barrier ten feet tall in most people.

        1. But, its only Zero-sum when looking at it through the lens of a balance ledger. When it comes to humans there are some intangibles, say like moral that can never be accounted for on those same ledger sheets.

          1. Redistribution is Negative Sum: The taxes raised make people do things to avoid them which they would not do absent the tax. The bureaus doing the redistributing could be doing useful work. The interest groups competing for a slice of the pie could be doing useful work. See Gary Becker’s 1983 Quarterly Journal of Economics paper.

        2. This isn’t strictly true. Monetarily, as Johnny B notes, it’s actually negative sum; not just because of what people do to avoid taxes, but also do to administrative costs of collecting and redistributing the money.

          But in terms of utility, redistribution often is ‘positive sum’ (not factoring in the above mentioned costs, I would note). This is because of decreasing marginal utility. Simply put, $100 is not worth as much to Bill Gates as to a homeless, starving person. He doesn’t need another $100. How much would you have to pay Bill gates to render you a service? Maybe infinite, because he wants for nothing.

          The homeless starving guy, on the other hand, needs the $100 to live; he’ll do anything for a hundred bucks. So even just measuring in terms of the amount of labor one is willing to offer for that $100, it can be said to be objectively more valuable to the poor guy than to the rich guy. Indeed, one could argue that more value is created by taking $50 away from a rich guy who would have used it to by cuff links and giving $40 to a poor guy so he can buy food for a few days.

          1. The second (and less convincing) argument is that the government can divert private money from less productive to more productive endeavors. I.e., taxing money invested in cuff link production to fund maintaining roads on the belief that it is more productively used for the latter than the former. The more sophisticated version of the argument contends that the state can increase production by tageting speculative investment that (presumably) doesn’t contribute to production or by targeting low risk, less productive investment during a recession and redirecting toward higher risk, ostensibly higher return endeavors on the basis that, in recessions, private investors are irrationally afraid of risky but profitable investments and this creates a positive feedback loop which keeps employment and therefore spending from recovering.

            This is basically the central premise of Keynesianism as I understand it. Private investors either become irrationally risky during booms or irrationally risk averse during bust, and engage in investment behavior that is clearly suboptimal; the state can, it is claimed, fix this basically by disincentivizing (via taxes, tax credits, spending, etc.) risky investments and incentivizing low risk investment, and doing the opposite during a depression.

            So that’s where you get the idea of non-zero sum redistribution.

            1. It’s a good thing we have all these omniscient overlords to take care of this for us.

  6. The left lives in an alternative fact world. It’s in conceivable that they will recognize 1984 for the mirror that it is.

    1. And that is the rub.

  7. This article assumes leftists have some sense of self-awareness.

    1. Indeed, came through as very wishful thinking that anyone of that mindset would see themselves in 1984, Animal Farm, Brave New World, or any dystopian tale,

      1. Or The Killing Fields, come to think of it.

        1. Or Venezuela. Chavez and Maduro are no longer socialists but rather populist proto-Trumps. And the past leftist support for Chavez and the other Bolivarian Socialists? Down the memory hole.

      2. I remember reading an editorial by a young lefty who thought that “Animal Farm” was an animal rights allegory. I swear to God that that was her honest interpretation.

  8. Because I’m hoping that when they get deep into this dystopian tale?into the Newspeaking, sex-fearing, history-rewriting meat of Orwell’s nightmare vision?they might just realize that it describes their authoritarianism better than Trump’s. I can picture their faces now: “Guys? is this novel about us?”

    Ha ha – good one. The left has no self awareness, and are masters of projection.

  9. These radical wallflowers demonize drunk sex, bossily insisting all sexual interactions must be

    Prolly a typo, but if this was the literary version of a dropped mic:

    * slow clap*

  10. These radical wallflowers demonize drunk sex, bossily insisting all sexual interactions must be
    Go on….

    1. “Radical wallflowers” is an awesome phrase. Jakob Dylan hardest hit.

      1. Concerning Hihn’s FB page, I particularly like the Jonathan Livingston Seagull vibe. Very 70’s.

        I bet Hihn has a Greek fisherman’s cap and listens to Joan Baez.

        1. Nah, he doesn’t like music.

      2. The Radical Wallflowers? Is that like Sex Metal Barbie?

      3. The Radical Wallflowers? Is that like Sex Metal Barbie?

        1. Better video.

          What’s up with the squirrels today?

  11. they might just realize that it describes their authoritarianism better than Trump’s. I can picture their faces now: “Guys? is this novel about us?”

    Oh please.

    1. That’s not going to happen. There is such a thing as confirmation bias.

    2. Few Dems think that the solution to their election loss is not ‘Prog Harder.’ Introspection is not their strong suit.

  12. I’m looking forward to the giant paper mache heads of Emmanuel Goldstein

    1. You misspelled Stephen Bannon.

      1. See where Rosie O’Donnell will be playing Bannon on SNL.

  13. The author here is expecting far more self-awareness from the left than it is capable of exercising.

  14. Another good article on leftist authoritarians.

    Feeling better about
    one’s self by confessing
    other people’s sins,
    humiliating and hurting
    them, is an addictive

  15. Out of curiosity, what legal recourse would a student have for avoiding ideological propagandizing classes like this crap? This would be one thing at a private college, but a public university requiring this horseshit as a requirement for graduating seems like it runs afoul of speech issues, especially if a student can’t expect to receive a passing grade if he doesn’t tow the lion.

    1. Don’t go to UMass Amherst? I suppose if the requirements to graduate changed while you were in attendance, you might have a case. The problem is that the courts don’t think “social justice” is a religion so it will be excused and justified with some bullshit about the university getting to decide what its mission should be.

      1. Don’t go to UMass Amherst?

        Not easy for most students.

        I can’t imagine what I would have done. At that age I was a sort of liberal-by-default but no way would I put up with the insanity they go through today.

      2. Correcting the definition of “religion” to keep up with a world where they rarely involve deities any more would be a good start.

      3. The class is led by Professor Benita Barnes, who has a definite liberal fascist bias, a student who took the course told The College Fix.


    2. ‘Men have domination over women thus they (women) become their property’

      ‘Do you even English, bro?’

    3. Don’t get a bachelor’s degree?

      1. UMass is now issuing Bachelox degrees.

    4. In it, students must act out examples of racism to prove America is racist “from A to Z.” Students must also read about how society is dominated by “white privilege” and discuss ways to combat that. They’re charged with creating a mock sexual assault awareness campaign and taught U.S. society pushes male “domination” over women. Another assignment has them coming up with ways to make a university more welcoming to a low-income black lesbian majoring in engineering. New vocabulary words thrown at students include “internalized classism” and “cultural imperialism.” And a “Man Box” assignment teaches students that when men try to prove their masculinity it ends up “with frequently disastrous consequences.”

      It almost seems like you need to fail the class in order to get an ‘A’. Like all the white heterosexual guys can show up the first day, say they paid to enroll and attend the class, but won’t offend anyone by attending and will completely understand if everyone in the class, including the professor, can and would still fail them.

      Do you want me to show up to the exam so *I* can cheat off of *you*? You wouldn’t even have to give me the right answers, not that I’d know one way or the other.

      1. And a “Man Box” assignment teaches students that when men try to prove their masculinity it ends up “with frequently disastrous consequences.”

        I have no idea what a “Man Box” is, but check out Dan Greenburg’s short play “Convention” for a better take on this theme.

        1. I know what a girl’s box is.

          1. badoom, pish! Heyooo!

    5. Expanding on one of the four “folk beliefs,” the reading stated “our society has socialized both men and women to believe that men have domination over women thus they (women) become their property as well as are required to bend to their wants and wishes.”

      Crazy broad thinks she’s living in a Muslim country.

    6. I am lion, hear me roar …

    7. I’d love to see that professor invited to a debate. Heck, I could handle debating her, and she’d come out looking like a fool. Then again, that’s not a long trip to take.

  16. Maybe authoritarians of all stripes borrow a little of Orwell here, a little of Orwell there…

    Really, I’m sick of the “No your more authoritarian!” line of reasoning. I don’t want less authoritarianism, I want more liberty.

    1. Authoritarians see liberty as violence and coercion.

      Look at it this way. If you’re an authoritarian who enjoys initiating violence and coercing others, what is liberty to you? Liberty is the people who you initiate violence on and enjoy coerce rising up and stopping you. That means they use violence on you to stop you from initiating violence on them. They coerce you into not coercing them. So from your point of view, liberty is violence and coercion. Liberty is the people doing to you what you like to do to them.

      The idea of life without violence and coercion simply does not compute. Either the authoritarians use violence and coercion, or someone uses violence and coercion to stop them from using violence and coercion.

      Either way it’s all about violence and coercion.

  17. If you want a pretty good projection of 1984 into today’s social media hell, The Circle is a decent read. The main character is an angst-ridden millennial, woo’d by the promises of lavish services at her google-like company, becoming more driven by likes and retweets (smiles, in the book) as the book progresses. All in all, the book is pretty good, if annoying as you watch this 20-something become seduced by creeping authoritarian technocracy. Somewhat blatant metaphors are still interesting.

    While the book is more of a prequel to books like We and 1984, showing how the dystopia was created, the protagonist follows largely the same progression. And unlike Zamyattan’s tome- where at the end we see the dystopian society ready to flurish into space- in The Circle we see society ready to start invading the mind so that they all know your thoughts, rather than your every action.

    The only place where the book really misses the target is in portraying one or two antagonists as masterminds pushing the plot along. I think the hell we will soon be in will be an amorphous online community that periodically takes the face of one or the other SJW or Celebrity of the moment whose poignant tweet or screed focuses the mob for a short time before handing off to the next Suzy Fairchild-Agreivant. To me, this unpredictable and vindictive collective is more terrifying than any police state.

    1. I think the hell we will soon be in will be an amorphous online community that periodically takes the face of one or the other SJW or Celebrity of the moment whose poignant tweet or screed focuses the mob for a short time before handing off to the next Suzy Fairchild-Agreivant.

      Watch the first episode of the 3rd season of Black Mirror.

      1. Watch the first episode of the 3rd season of Black Mirror.


        S1E2 – 15 Million Merits and S3E6 – Hated In The Nation both seem similarly/equally relevant.

        1. Also, S2E4 – White Christmas is just standalone sci-fi/social commentary brilliance worth seeing, IMO.

          1. That was brilliantly horrible

            1. A horrible performance/story or horrible fictional events/ideas/topic?

              1. Good horrible

                1. Ah, true/agreed.

                  Probably should have some trigger warnings though too. Especially if someone’s not familiar with Black Mirror. It’s not for the kiddies, it’s not a Christmas tale. If you’re already a little depressed or unhinged, it won’t do your mental state/outlook on life any favors.

                  1. Definitely not something you’d want to watch with the family on Christmas Eve with a cup of hot cocoa.

      2. I hope it goes to DVD.

    2. Saw the trailer recently for the forthcoming movie adaption. Seemed a bit heavy-handed. And there’s no indication Emma Watson gets naked in it so I’ll probably pass.

    3. I had such high hopes for this novel and was extremely disappointed.

  18. when they get deep into this dystopian tale?into the Newspeaking, sex-fearing, history-rewriting meat of it?they might realize that it describes their authoritarianism better than Trump’s. I can picture their faces now: “Guys? is this novel about us?”

    When this uncomfortable observation is pointed out to them they more probably will retort, “I know you are, but what am I?” and flounce off down to whatever social signalling event is currently in progress.

    1. “When this uncomfortable observation is pointed out to them they more probably will retort, “I know you are, but what am I?” and flounce off down to whatever social signalling event is currently in progress.”

      Immediately made me think of this video where a hillary supporter calls a black female infowars interviewer a race traitor and uncle Tom.

  19. I hope they heed to this rebuke, and change.

    Hope in one hand…

    1. Well, the Reagan administration basically was 1984.


  20. I hate people who hate other people.

    Fortunately for me, I’ve made my peace with myself and accepted the left’s contention that people are nothing more than the amalgamation of their attributes – gay people think a certain way, women think a certain way, black people think a certain way and it’s just an immutable part of their nature, you can’t actually choose to think a certain way, it’s just the way you were made. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m a redneck asshole, a racist and a misogynist, an evil bastard who takes delight in opposing and destroying everything that’s good and true and pure and noble about humanity – and it’s not my fault, it’s just an immutable part of my nature. Tthere’s no need for me to feel any guilt or shame over my thoughts and feelings and actions, for if I were to think otherwise, I would be denying my nature and letting myself fall victim to a false consciousness about what I am.

    WHEW! That’s a load off my mind! You guys really should think on this, accept that the left is right and you’re not responsible for your own thoughts and actions, embrace your nature!

    1. There are four lights!

    2. the left is right

      and the right is left

    3. I usually argue, “well, if I’m a straight white male, why shouldn’t I support straight white male supremacy?” Indeed, if come the day a leftist convinces me that I actually have privilege due to such accidental characteristics (as opposed to the more probably privilege of having good parents and making sound life choices), they will simultaneously convince me that I should do to protect it. If white males are this horrible to others, why would I expect black lesbians will be any better to us when they’re in charge? They’re rhetoric certainly suggest a great deal of revanchism in fact.

      Any Tutsi who supported abolishing Tutsi dominance so that the Hutu majority could have more power certainly came to regret the sentiment if he lived long enough. Leftists seem to regard white males like Germans at the end of World War II. I know what the Russians, Czechs, Poles, and to some extent the Western allies did to the Germans in the 40s and 50s. I don’t want to see that happen to me.

      Equality is a sustainable compromise between all the various clans. But if the other clans reject equality in favor of ‘reverse’ bigotry and identity-based collectivism, then people like me being in charge seems like the next best thing.

  21. So the real threat isn’t the actual mentally ill authoritarian occupying the white house, it’s 9 or 10 cherry-picked anecdotal college students who get a little overzealous with their pronouns.

    You people are morons. You will always be morons.

    1. Christ, Tony. One Reason post that isn’t bashing Trump’s idiocy and you’re all up in arms. You can find the salve for your butthurt by simply scrolling down a post or two.

      1. This is the dumbest thing posted here in some time and you know it.

      2. Tony is a moron and will always be a moron, and based on what little he’s displayed of any characteristic that could charitably be referred to as “intellectual” “consistency,” he’s mostly chapped at the bad-mouthing of authoritarianism. After all this is a guy who actually believes that, sans laws against neglect, parents would not take care of their children.

        He’s a moron.

        1. What is the counterpoint you’re trying to imply? Just think about it, if you can. We don’t need laws because people are good enough to each other to maintain a decent society without them?

          1. All i’m implying is that you’re an authoritarian asshole. Which is pretty well established by, oh, your entire posting history.

    2. Ever notice how Tony’s modus operandi is to ignore the actual arguments presented and scream “YOU’RE STUPID, STUPID STUPID!”

      It’s almost like he’s intellectual insecure or something.

      1. *Intellectually insecure, well I’m certainly helping my argument, thanks phone.

      2. You people are stupid, and it disappoints me, as you’re also the smartest right-wingers around. I don’t like talking to people who agree with me on everything. It’s just that right-wingers have decided to stop caring about facts and evidence at some point, and so are all fucking morons now.

        1. Your every theory of governance has been consigned to the dustbin of history, yet you presume to lecture others on evidence and intelligence.

          Good lord, Tony, you make it so easy to root for Trump.

          1. I don’t think you’re helping your argument, even with this crowd. Rooting for Trump isn’t an option for anyone with half a brain or half a sense of basic decency.

            1. When it comes down to no-shit fascists on the left and the shitgibbon on the right, it’s more a question of propping up the loser to prolong the bloodbath.

              1. A policy of universal healthcare isn’t fascism, it’s catching up to the rest of the free world.

                1. Universal healthcare isn’t freedom. You have to violate an individual’s rights in order to pay for it. Thanks for not calling it ‘free’ at least. Also, catching up to ‘x’ is not an argument.

                2. So, we should do it because Europe did it? Great argument Tony.

                  Big problem: catching up to Denmark means privatizing airport; catching up to Switzerland means abolishing our minimum wage and deregulating a great deal of our economy; catching up to Norway means drilling more oil, particularly offshore drilling. Catching up to most of Europe means repealling Glass-Steagall (which we already did) and Dodd-Frank, as well as lowering out corporate income tax; and catching up to Singapore and Hong Kong means lowering are tax rates and the regulatory state to an extent that you would call right wing Randian lunacy.

                  So, should we do all of that, while we’re busy ‘catching up with the free world?’

                  Maybe, if you payed attention to economic performance of late, it is Europe which is trying to catch up with us.

            2. It is for reason.com libertarians. A dream come true for them.

        2. You should never talk in absolutes, Tony. Never. Absolutely no exceptions.

          1. Only Sith deal in them. Wait…

        3. We’re not all right-wingers, Tony, you invincibly ignorant shitgibbon.

            1. Good comeback. A little light on facts and evidence, though.

            2. Please tell me you are going to make a list. Don’t be lazy and just put all of us on it.

              1. I demand rankings. I know John is going to top any list by anyone, but dammit I want my status in the top 5 secured!

                1. Notice that Tony seems to have picked up some of John’s mind-reading ability. Further proof that, for every partisan hack on this board, there’s an equal and opposite partisan hack.

                  1. John didn’t get the name “Red Tony” for nothing. But while John has on more than one occasion made a thoughtful post (just don’t respond to him too much, even agreeing with him can set off his ability to read minds), Tony has never once contributed anything of value.

                    1. John is the parallel of Tony, DD/Mike is the parallel of Palin’s Buttplug, but who’s the parallel of AddictionMyth/dajjal?

                    2. who’s the parallel of AddictionMyth/dajjal?

                      Who the fuck cares?

                    3. Agile. Not for the aggression or malice but because I can’t work out what any of them are on about.

                    4. Hihn.

            3. What could be more reactionary and fascist than wanting a smaller, less intrusive government and greater individual liberty.

              You know who else wanted those things?

          1. Look. If you’re not a left-winger, then you are a right-winger. What else could you be?

            1. You got me there!

              Note that Tony is too intellectually bankrupt to afford even that dumbass false duality.

              1. #6, the burden of proof is on you. Tony makes assertions, and if you can’t refute them then they must be true. Prove you’re not a right-winger, and do it to his satisfaction. You can’t do it. Therefore you are a right-winger.


            2. Well you’re a fucking idiot.

          2. I’m stealing “invincibly ignorant shitgibbon”.

          3. “invincibly ignorant shitgibbon.”

            I resemble that remark.

          4. Just most of you. Prefer to called libertarians, that’s all

        4. “STUPID STUPID STUPID, you’re dumb, I’m smart, why can’t you be smart like me?”

          If you tear down people you disagree with enough you validate yourself. Textbook projection of insecurity.

          1. Homer Tony is so smart!

            1. And you are a dumbass. But why repeat facts?

      3. Of course he is. Progs usually are – why else do you think they append the adjective “smart” to all of their preferred policies? Smart diplomacy, smart power, smart growth, etc etc etc.

    3. Ignore the rioters, all of whom are lefties, baying for blood like the commie prats they are.

      You are a disingenuous cunt and you always will be.

    4. Aaand here comes Tony to prove everyone’s point about the left’s lack of self-awareness!

    5. THE real threat? Please. Who’s the moron?

    6. 1984 is about socialism. If Orwell was still alive, he would tell you so himself. The party is “Ingsoc”, IE, English Socialism. Saying “well Big Brother wasn’t really a socialist because he’s the bad guy” is begging the question.

      Orwell was writing from a point of view as a socialist deeply concerned with the transgressions he was seeing from his fellow socialists (English socialists tended to be very much in full support of Stalin). He didn’t view these as necessarily part and parcel with socialism (hence why he was still a socialist), but he by no means was of a sort to hand wave away the misdeeds of his fellow political travelers. Orwell was a man of the left, criticizing the left.

      I could actually be a “libertarian socialist” myself, but like being at a concert with 30,000 people in a 16,000 capacity venue, there doesn’t appear to be anywhere for me to stand. So I gotta pick one of them, and, as it currently exists, the former is far preferable to the latter.

      1. It’s a sausage fest here though.

    7. The perceived need to be protected from those college students (and administrations, and rioters, and digital lynch mobs, and federal bureaucracies) was part of what gave us Trump. They’re an infection and he is the dangerously high fever. Even if Trump is a problem, they’re the problem.

    8. “the actual mentally ill authoritarian occupying the white house”

      As opposed the exactly equally as mentally ill authoritarian who lost the election to him.

    9. That mentally ill authoritarian (I should say ‘which one’ but never mind that) is liable to do less damage than his supposedly brilliant, humanitarian predecessor, because the courts won’t rubber stamp every retarded thing he does like they did for Obama.

      But that’s what you want. A ‘smart’ authoritarian, like Barry. Oh, he was probably smarter than Donald, but that doesn’t help his case. I prefer stupid authoritarians to smart ones. They’re more likely to trip over themselves on the way to achieve their goals.

      Smart people want their tyrants to be dumb and ineffectual, as Trump has proven to be so far. Only idiots want their tyrants to be smart and efficient.

    10. Template for all Tony comments:

      “So the real threat is (insert disingenuous, metonymic minimization of leftist stupidity), not X?”

      Because, in Tony’s mind, there is One Threat, and it is always the Right Wing, and if you criticize or speak ill of anything other than the One Threat, you may as well be donating ammunition to Hitler.

      Why, as long as Donald Trump is in office, no sane person would ever waste the breath or ink to criticize Marxism, or radical feminism, or anything else, because there’s only room for one concern.

      And of course, when a leftist authoritarian is in power, it goes without saying that the One Threat isn’t that leftist authoritarians or the people he’s bombing or the livelihoods he’s ruining, no, that’s trivial; then the One Threat we’re all supposed to be worried about is some bureaucrat in Kentucky refusing to issue a piece of paper saying the government agrees that you’re married to gay people.

    11. Yup, modus operandi of the libertarians. Pick on some unnamed college kids, and ignore Drumpf. The college kids have loooooong moved from their cry-ins. Their jeerleaders are still circle-jerking to that memory.

  22. Former leftist

    It’s shocking when you first wake up to it. I was brain washed in college due to not wanting to hurt muh feelz

    1. It requires a willingness to admit that you were wrong and re-analyze your assumptions and values, which makes it extremely hard when you’ve wrapped as much of your identity as you can in your politics.

      1. See Tony above for a cautionary example.

        1. I’m a bloody ex-communist and even I’m like “whoa, dude, settle down.”

          1. You’re just another right-winger. Tony says so.

      2. That’s a really pervasive problem I’ve noticed. I’m technically a millennial, and far too many of my peers premise their identity on being a socialist or a progressive or what-have-you. At that point, any critique of their political views, no matter how well-intended, is basically an insult to them personally.

        How can one even have a dialogue in that kind of environment? Quite frustrating.

        1. Try having good ideas.

          1. Cogent argument, well thought-out.

            1. Unlike yours. No thought, and surrender.

          2. Wow, I never even considered having good ideas. That’s an option? I mean, this is a real revelation for me. Here I sit, living my life thinking bad ideas were the only thing available, or at best mediocre ideas if I was lucky.

            You’ve really shown me the light, Tony.

            1. Good to a prog = what they feel is right

        2. It’s nuts. I wanted to wish a happy birthday to a friend on FB and I couldn’t find the dedicated birthday post buried under all the BS HuffPo and DU talking points and memes, so I left. That is the sign of someone I’d probably rather not hang out with anymore, anyway.

        3. Millennial leftists get emotional and hysterical about politics because it has been ingrained in them that not being for the “right causes” makes you evil and immoral. Because they cannot win a debate simply by saying that they are wrong and showing evidence, they instead attack their opponent’s character, which is actually effective because people vote with their feels rather than their brain. Ben Shapiro gives a very good explanation about this phenomenon.

          1. They vote based on feelz because they’re not putting up their money on the line.

      3. when you’ve wrapped as much of your identity as you can in your politics

        See also most people’s FB feed

      4. It’s easy to lash out as a leftist. It requires almost no critical thinking. Just constant outrage, no reason why you’re outraged but being outraged is enough.

      5. I was ever a leftist but I’m a habitual elitist, so I liked the idea of the leftist intelligentsia before I went to college. It was such a blow to find out how indolent most leftist academics are. I waited eagerly for a good critique of the market economy and all anyone ever did was dismiss writers like Friedman or Hayek out of hand. Most academics, like Tony, are already convinced of their rightness to a certainty. They never read Friedman, they don’t have the slightest idea what his arguments were. Hell, they never even read Keynes; they just perused the dumbed down version of him in Krugman’s blog. They would never think of reading Sowell’s well-researched book on affirmative action. They never seriously consider the idea that they were wrong about anything. Most academics (in the social sciences, that is) never read anything by people who disagree with them.

        The leftist intelligentsia is a Potemkin Village. When it comes to public policy, they’re on average no brighter than a ‘commoner.’

        Speaking of self-awareness, I’m reading ‘The Best and the Brightest’ by David Halberstam. It’s a great case study in how over confident policy elitists in the Kennedy admin. started the Vietnam War because they refused to consider that their grand designs for America’s geopolitical role were horribly misguided. Ironically, I bet many leftists very much like the book, ignoring that its indictment of grand technocratic designs applies every bit as much to economic or healthcare policy.

    2. Impossible! I’ve been told repeatedly, on this here website, that leftists are all irredeemable morons incapable of rational thought and it’s completely pointless trying to convince them to change their views.

      1. Maybe John was accidentally describing himself?

    3. Now you’re brainwashed because you do not want to hurt yourself thinking

  23. You people are morons. You will always be morons.

    And yet…

    1. Man, Tony – king of projection that he is – did not leave himself much wiggle room there.

    2. Imagine Chuck Liddell getting knocked out by a retard.
      That’s the analogy of Tony getting his ass handed to him every time he converses with all the morons here.

  24. More Orwellian/Alinsky tactics: But…but…THE CHILDREN!

    If you want to show DeVos that public schools are good for children, it’s the best possible response for grown adults to block her from seeing the students. Clearly, it’s all about the children, not the adults in the unions or special interests.

    1. Reddit’s Not The Onion sub had an excellent post the other day, something like: “parents threaten to home-school their children in protest over DeVos appointment”.

      1. Progs are the new preppers!

  25. The thing about the left is that they view the rich and the corporations as the oppressors, while government is the savior.

    Corporations oppress us by forcing us to work for them and buy their products. We don’t have a choice in the matter. We are their slaves. By providing us with goods, services and jobs, they rob us of everything. We become poorer as a result. After all, profit is theft, and working is theft. They profit when we buy stuff, and they profit when we work for them. That makes them rich, and for them to become rich someone else, us, must become poor. So the corporations are the oppressors.

    Government on the other hand is us. It’s We The People. Government does The Will Of The People. Government is how The People band together and take what we deserve from the corporations that rob us by providing goods, services and jobs.

    So 1984 is a corporate dystopia. It must be. Because corporations have all the power. Obviously in 1984 the government has no power, because if it did it would save the people from the corporations.

    1. I remember Jodie Foster piping up about how wealth is evil and the root of all social strife. Ok, then redistribute your 100 million net worth.

      1. No, no, other people’s wealth is evil and the root of all social strife! Her wealth is good wealth because she is the right kind of person with the right political feels!

    2. The power of corporations must be limited by government because large groups of people can’t be trusted.

      1. No, no, no!

        It’s motivations that matter.

        Corporations are motivated by greed. So they can’t be trusted.

        Government is motivated by The Will Of The People. So it is above reproach. Well, unless the other team is in power. But otherwise it is above reproach.

        But corporations with their power to offer us goods, services and jobs are the worst of all evils. I mean, they employ us and sell us stuff! How terrible is that?!?! They must be stopped!

      2. “because large groups of people can’t be trusted.”
        You mean like those in Congress?

      3. Many corporations have less power than one controlling government. Corporations never put anyone in jail, or executed them.

  26. We don’t need laws because people are good enough to each other to maintain a decent society without them?


  27. One Orwellianism that I really can’t stand is the redefinition of the meaning of a subsidy. Leftists believe that if I am relieved from having to pay a tax, that actually I have taken away something from the government/society/them. If the government didn’t confiscate all of my income, well, the government actually gave me all that money. In the minds of the Left, not giving equals taking; not taking equals giving. If I built that, I didn’t build that.

    1. If I built that, I didn’t build that.

      One of my favorite is people who’ve never so much as been near hot asphalt telling you that you owe them something because the government paid contractors to build roads.

      1. If you’ve ever benefited in the slightest from something the state has done, then the state has the total power to take all of your income and to tell you how to live your life.

        1. “Hey neighbor! I (shoddily) repaved you’re driveway for you for free without asking you! You’re welcome! By the way I’m moving in and I’m taking your bedroom; also I’m gonna be using your car because, ya know, you owe me. Also, go ahead and give me your bank account info, because you owe me. And if you don’t, I’ll lock in you in a closet until you do. You’re welcome.”

    2. It’s more complicated than that. If you’re given a tax break for something that you were going to do anyway, even if it were taxed at the full rate, that is equivalent to a subsidy. If you’re given a tax break that your competitors are not given, that is also effectively a subsidy.

  28. It’s clear to see that you know little about America. Your analogies are cute, but a little tangential and way off the mark. The better title for your article is “Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four Can Also Describe A Few Aspects of Authoritarian Left, But Not As Well As It Does Trump”. It also applies equally to about 1200 other countries and groups, making your point meaningless blogscat.

  29. My proggie coworker is now a big fan of gun ownership. Funny, he called me a lunatic for wanting to get a CCW. I work in the hood in Atlanta.

    1. I googled CCW to find out what that is and just got a bunch of pics of car wheels.

  30. I’m with you in every part of the criticism of the left’s bullshit (except the ridiculous suggestion that some of them might be self-aware enough to see themselves in The Party). But, you’ve got to be kidding yourself if you genuinely think that this is somehow particular to the left. It is particular to Authoritarians. And they are bipartisan.

    “Trump will be authoritarian, that’s for sure. But his is likely to be a clumsy authoritarianism, oafish rather than Orwellian.” It may or may not be clumsy; that is to be seen. But, it wasn’t that clumsy in the past. Bush’s authoritarianism led to lots of the discussion (echoed here at Reason) about signing statements, executive orders, DHS, Patriot Act, NSA, perpetual war, etc., etc., etc… The “War on Drugs” started with Nixon and it’s been popular with pretty much every president and congress.

    Partisans will always see the Authoritarians on the other side of the aisle and have blinders to their own.

    1. Agreed.

  31. Also note the rewriting of history:
    Claims that slavery was uniquely American (and perhaps ONLY american).
    Trying to erase Columbus, Jefferson et al from history because they weren’t sufficiently “woke”.
    Pretending that Castro was a hero instead of a tyrant.

  32. Yes it “do”.

    Is there anything at all that is not the fault of the left? So many articles on reason lately describing the actions of Trump (or some other bad actor), and in the same breath pointing out how it is all the fault of “the left”.

    Trump, Trump’s Supporters, and reason all agree that Trump deserves no blame for his actions at all. He will seek to blame the left when some action of his goes south, just as reason has been doing all along. The prior administration, and the one before that, were also the left’s fault. It is all the left’s fault.

    It has become a reason bi-directional equivalence. Bad = The Left. Use it on the next reason magazine cover. Nothing else really needs to be written.

    1. You must be reading a different magazine.

    2. I notice that you obviously didn’t read the article I did (which clearly is critical of Trump). Nor did you make any attempt to refute its basic argument, which was pointing out the Orwellian nature of modern liberalsm. IngSoc, after all, was English Socialism.

    3. Interesting, because that’s pretty much the opposite of reality. They’ve been quite critical of Trump, and do publish some articles on ‘the left’ but even those tend to include a good deal of sniping at Trump, as though there’s a rule that you can’t criticize someone else without criticizing him first.

      I don’t mind it as much as others; Trump is president, and it makes sense to it the person in power harder, but it’s definitely there.

  33. People pointed out that “alternative facts” sounds creepily like something the Party in Orwell’s story would say.

    No, it doesn’t. The Party claimed that what it said was fact and had always been, despite these “facts” changing conveniently from time to time, and any belief otherwise was crimethink. It’s a far better match for the Left’s constant changing of the meaning of words, rewriting history, etc.

  34. I noticed the Orwellian nature of modern liberalism over a decade ago, and it’s only become more obvious since. In essence, liberals want to create a world that mixes the Huxley and Orwell dystopias.

  35. Doesn’t matter if it’s left or right, authoritarianism is what 1984 is about. Someone in control of all information and what you do with your life. No use in nitpicking at it, the point of the book is about what happens when you give up all your rights and trust a government for you information and how you live. Leftists just tell you it’s for your own good, right wingnuts tell you it’s what God/Dear Leader/whoever says. Just recognize that Trump is a much more clear and present danger than Obama ever was. He’ll take away a few regulations while he stockpiles the plutocracy and military around him. Hold no illusions about him.

  36. When Libertarians and Republicans rail against “political correctness” it always sounds like they are just looking for an excuse to be rude. The measures colleges take to try to slow the rate of campus rape really aren’t particularly Orwellian.

    1. The term “politically correct” implies strongly that there is one and only one answer to every political problem. This was indeed exactly how it was first coined in America by Angela Davis who asked, How can there be any serious debate when there can only be one politically correct answer to every political problem? (I’m paraphrasing).

      The Maoist nature of this statement ought to be crystal clear. Mao and his little red book is a dime-store imitation of Confucious, who preached self-reliance.

      The idea of “political correctness” is a communist term of art. It is a call for a one party state.

    2. So what is the rate of campus rape, in terms of rapes per [unit of time, you pick]?

    3. Yeah, fuck due process! Guilty until proven innocent!

  37. All perfectly true. You forgot Goldstein and the two minutes of hate. Obviously, that’s Trump himself.

  38. They act like Kellyanne Conway invented alternative facts. Who started using “phony scandals” and “fake news?” See? History conveniently changes for the left.

  39. We’ll see what Trump does with the numerous wars we’re in, but I always thought that Obama’s wars were Orwellian in nature. Quietly in the background, ever ongoing, made palatable by the media for the left.

  40. I have a prediction, the left is full of dumb asses, so full of themselves, psychopathic, narcissistic, little shits and that they won’t realize “1984” is really about them.

  41. I have a number of issues with this author’s argument, specifically as it relates to sexual violence and personal freedom. The author essentially claims that the desire to prevent and hold accountable individuals who commit acts of sexual violence

    (These radical wallflowers demonize drunk sex, bossily insisting all sexual interactions must be “sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual and honest.”)

    represents an authoritarianism more Orwellian and nefarious than the admittedly “creepily oversexed, pussy-grabbing clumsiness of Trump.” Sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, and creative ideals aside – how is insisted consent in sexual interaction more Orwellian than asserted privilege? How is voiced displeasure of unwanted sexual advances more nefarious than pussy-grabbing? How is informed sex antithetical to the principle of personal freedom?

    1. 1. Other people’s sex lives are none of your goddamn business.
      2. Women who are raped or otherwise assaulted can and should go to the police.
      3. Men accused of sex crimes deserve due process under the law, not a tribunal of radical left-wing administrators and professors.
      4. Fuck off and die in a fire, slaver.

      1. And you can die anyway you can find, Drumpf-sucker.

  42. 1. Other people’s sex lives are none of your goddamn business.
    2. Women who are raped or otherwise assaulted can and should go to the police.
    3. Men accused of sex crimes deserve due process under the law, not a tribunal of radical left-wing administrators and professors.
    4. Fuck off and die in a fire, slaver.

    1. Oops, this was supposed to be a reply to jmarshall above. Ah well.

  43. I would caution against considering that college campus stupidity as mainstream left wing (which my wife and I both are, but point out that people who go too far left on those campuses end up coming out the right side, like an old Atari game).

  44. Nothing assured me more about the ignorance of the common left wing democrat than this one single issue. All of the people quoting the book and using it in some kind of anti-Trump argue only really demonstrated they’d never read the book.

    1. “All of the people” shows you have not met any of them.

  45. Drumpf represents reason.com libertarians better than he does Republicans.

  46. These radical wallflowers demonize drunk sex, bossily insisting all sexual interactions must be “sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual and honest.”

    Does FMLYHM count?

  47. “Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four Describes the Authoritarian Left Better Than It Does Trump”

    The Left has no authority. It can demand the removal of statues of revered figures at our most prestigious institutes of higher learning, but that’s about as far as it goes. They command no armies, no police forces. There’s no need to be afraid of the left. This is modern day America, please try to remember.

  48. Orwell fans will tell you that 1894 is a fictionalized rewrite of Homage to Catalonia. The sudden shift in who “we” have always been at war against is a parody of the looter intelligentzia reaction to the Hitler-Stalin “nonaggression” pact. The day it was signed Hitler and the NSDAP went from demons to fellow socialists in the eyes of all but Eric Arthur Blair and Winston Smith. So yeah, because then as now there are nothing but looter parties. Some of the looter parties kill for Jesus rather than just altruism and the Motherland. But national socialism and international socialism were all that existed in Europe in 1948. Yesterday I found a genuine libertarian party in Spain, and last week verified one in South Africa. Both the Christian fascists and bureaucratic communists think in a one-dementional line from Stalin to Hitler, and struggle to evade the growth of genuine non-aggression parties that reject both brainwashing and bodily slavery.

  49. “Some of the looter parties kill for Jesus rather than just altruism and the Motherland. ”

    You never heard of killing for king and empire? Britain was neither international nor national socialist. It was a ruled by a aristocratic elite, backed up by a monarch, head of state to a vast empire. Orwell always opposed this.

  50. OT: Suppose that I was thinking of getting a bachelor’s degree in finance or possibly mathematics and that doing classes online was the only option due to my location and time constraints… Is there an online college whose degrees are actually worth a damn? What’s the most respectable one?

  51. The pissery over Conway and “alternative facts” is ridiculous.

    A: “It rained yesterday.”

    B: “I ate a bagel.”

    B gave alternative facts to A about yesterday.

  52. The secret film was recorded around a month ago by a reporter working for Greenpeace and pretending to represent a new anti-wind farm group.
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    Asked by The Guardian if he’s move was co-ordinated with Mr Delingpole, John Hayes told the paper “James Delingole was never a candidate in this byelection.

  53. A – freaking – men. I don’t think much of Trump but I am far more frightened by the left in America today than I am Donnie. The mainstream left is hateful, mean and supports authoritarian regulation. They are elitist fools that still really can’t understand why they keep losing.

  54. Few people will be perceptive enough to realize this. Better only one that none, though.

  55. “Alternative facts is a George Orwell phrase,” said Washington Post reporter Karen Tumulty. MSNBC correspondent Joy Reid tweeted the following lines from the novel: “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” Within hours ???? ?????? ????? ????? ???? Nineteen Eighty-Four was a bestseller again, people buying it as a map to the liberty-challenging Trump era.

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