Today I received an (unsolicited) electronic copy of Imprimis and read Larry P. Arnn’s article, “Orwell’s 1984 and Today.”
He discussed the panel he chaired on Constitution Day (September 17) of this year. The panel’s purpose, was apparently to “identify what has gone wrong in the teaching of American history and to lay forth a plan for recovering the truth.” The event also reminded Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, of an essay by Harry Jaffa called “On the Necessity of a Scholarship of the Politics of Freedom” (Arnn, 2020).
THAT necessity is why a local university has a course called Freedom in American Society. THAT necessity is why I founded Freedom Academy with Dorothy. Because as Arnn (2020) put it, “America is the most deliberate nation in history – it was built for reasons that are stated in the legal documents that form its founding. The reasons are given in abstract and universal terms, and without good scholarship they can be turned astray.”
And they HAVE been turned astray. And I am just trying to clean up my small corner of the world. There are bigger names out there doing a better job, like Larry Arnn and Hillsdale College. But I just feel like the more outlets available trying to restore truth, reason and honesty to not only the teaching of American history – but ALL history – along with providing a more comprehensive understanding of what freedom is – is essential to maintaining, nay RECLAIMING, the American spirit. It is a shame that the enemies of liberty turn freedom (and truth) into a political issue, a partisan issue, because this entire nation was intentionally designed to be a nation of freedom and liberty founded on principles of universal truth. Why can we not teach what this means for ALL Americans? Why can citizens all along the political spectrum not see that freedom is the one principle and ideal that unites all people? Why and how are the enemies of liberty winning the battle?
Arnn answers the question with one word: technology… and tells the story of 1984 by George Orwell, quoting heavily from the book. Mentioning the Thought Police, Arnn refers to China’s social score policy. Explaining the role of technology, Arnn describes the job of 1984’s main character, Winston Smith – his job is to rewrite history.
But the most disturbing part for me is the explanation of doublethink. Why is it troubling? Because its use has been in evidence for years – and the cognitive dissonance is deafening to those of us observing (and not embracing) the phenomenon.
doublethink—a way of thinking that defies the law of contradiction. In Aristotle, the law of contradiction is the basis of all reasoning, the means of making sense of the world. It is the law that says that X and Y cannot be true at the same time if they’re mutually exclusive. For instance, if A is taller than B and B is taller than C, C cannot be taller than A. The law of contradiction means things like that. (Arnn, 2020)
The year 2020 has demanded doublethink in many areas of social and political life. Those of us who hold to the truth, reason with logic, and refuse to reject the law of contradiction…because the position of truth and logic has been declared politically incorrect or publicly intolerant...those who refuse to believe they did not see what they are certain they saw...are the ones that the “majority” (and those in power and controlling the narrative) believe need to be “re-educated.”
When the opposite should be our goal: to reveal the doublethink – break the cognitive dissonance – and give Americans confidence to think on their own and embrace truth as truth without fear of reprisal.
My fear is not that Americans will not read Orwell’s 1984 – it is that they will read it and not comprehend the lesson therein because we are already too late. We now celebrate doublethink and demonize logic, truth, and freedom.
Ref: Arnn, L. P. (December 2020). Orwell's 1984 and today. Imprimis 49(12): https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/orwells-1984-today/