I re-read Orwell’s “1984” in June 2019, having read it first 40 years ago. Something striking that I’d forgotten was quite how central and overwhelming the dystopian regime’s use of visceral hatred was. Hatred can be manufactured when and where needed, and functions in a handy, all-purpose way, like duct-tape or bicarbonate of soda. The targets of hate can easily be expanded by association, as pins can be magnetised.
Within the first paragraphs, the novel’s hero Winston Smith recalls a recent night at the cinema where the audience had roared in mirth at footage of helicopters shooting the enemy (men, women, children) floundering in the sea. Within the first few pages, we see the office Two Minutes Hate, which has even the most mild-mannered and unassuming colleagues panting and gurgling with fury and hurling things at a screen projection of the state’s arch-enemy, who may not even exist.
Hate campaigns are labour-saving for the opinion-shaping professionals. Once a person or thing is demonised, every subsequent news “story” about him or her or it will break as desired in the public’s imagination. Reportage never subsequently needs to analyse any charge, nor make any provable, or even particularly clear or coherent, allegation; it is enough to raise a smell, to call something “troubling” or “concerning”.
The US impeachment ball got rolling with a perfectly normal telephone conversation bogusly branded “inappropriate.” Experts in persuasion know that if people are given hints from which they themselves must formulate a conclusion, then that conclusion will be nigh on unshiftable.
Any obstacle to the US and UK Establishment’s favoured Narratives is now disabled with the charge of being racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, Russian, nazi, or simply “dangerous”. The traditional media’s total connivance has transformed the court of public opinion into a kangaroo court. And, as in kangaroo courts everywhere, the accusations are so outlandish and unfounded that the disbelieving will be neutralised by dumb incredulity, while the company men and fools scramble to assimilate the latest “2+2=5” into their worldview.
An alarming pivotal shift in the use of hate campaigns is seeing them this year deployed not only against fallible mortals, but also against the deathless principles that undergird a democratic society. The reliable Establishment mouthpieces of the Washington Post, the New York Times , and The Atlantic have each carried stories this year to demonise the very notion of free speech, arguing that free speech is a dangerous vector for spreading hate speech …
The rise of the hate campaign as the central tool of the Establishment signals an existential victory of deceit over truth-telling. It signals the death of “acting in good faith” which is a sine qua non for the gentle adversarialism that is democratic self-governance.
In short, it makes democracy impossible. …
The civil war is not only upon us, it may actually be over. Spoiler alert: the bad guys won and no shot was fired in defense of the principles of liberty and self-government.
The background here is the mortal struggle between woke and western civilization. Hate is a tool of the woke.