In his dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, that was supposed to be the fictional account of the nation of Oceania, George Orwell refers to the four ministries set up by government to control the masses.
Ironically, he noted that these ministries were the polar opposite of what they were intended to represent.
In the book, they are described as:
The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.
As mentioned, the Ministry of Truth was the exact opposite of what it was named. In reality, its primary purpose was to decide what truth was and then to rewrite history and facts if they did not align with the party’s current determination of truth.
Facts were changed as needed. This included promoting statements that 2+2=5, if necessary. Orwell writes:
In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy.
On the outside walls of Ministry of Truth’s nearly 1,000-foot tall, stark, dystopian concrete building, that was based on the Senate House at the University of London, were emblazoned the words:
- WAR IS PEACE
- FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
- IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
And inside the building was a “memory hole,” some suspect a massive incinerator, where all books that did not agree with the Oceana’s opinion of truth that day were destroyed.
The novel goes on to suggest that the Ministry of Truth primarily worked with the news media, education and entertainment to ensure that the right truth was dispensed to the public.
So, it was a bit of a shock, when a writer for the New York Times, Kevin Roose, recently recommended that the Biden implement what he called a “reality czar” writing:
“Several experts I spoke with recommended that the Biden administration put together a cross-agency taskforce to tackle disinformation and domestic extremism, which would be led by something like a ‘reality czar’.”
In his article, Roose acknowledged his suggestion was a bit dystopian, but then referenced John Donovan, who works as a research director for Shorenstein Center on Media at Harvard University, who recommended the setting up of a ‘truth commission.’
Several were quick to point out this suggestion’s eerie connection to Orwell’s book and the obvious problem — should the government be the arbiter of truth?
The Nazi party in Germany was infamous for its book burning ceremonies in the 1930s that focussed on Jewish and religious books as well as political books that did not agree with the Nazi’s ideology. Ironically, it was initiated by university students – the German Student Union (the Deutsche Studentenschaft).
The same thing recently happened in Communist China in 2019, when according to the Washington Post, a library in Northern China burned books that did not fit the political agenda of the country’s despot for life, Xi Jinping. This of course included religious books and those with democratic ideals.
It was in response to an edict by China’s Education of Ministry calling on libraries to cull books. When the library posted a video of its book burning ceremony, it noted the attendance of “education and culture bureau officials.”
And it is not just despots who like this idea. In Canada, a member of Canada’s military proposed setting up of an official propaganda office for the federal government. Though it was never implemented, the fact that someone would even suggest it, should concern everyone.
The Ottawa Citizen explains what it was all about and even cited an outrageous example of how it was used:
The Canadian Forces wants to establish a new organization that will use propaganda and other techniques to try to influence the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of Canadians, according to documents obtained by this newspaper.
The plan comes on the heels of the Canadian Forces spending more than $1 million to train public affairs officers on behaviour modification techniques of the same sort used by the parent firm of Cambridge Analytica, as well as a controversial and bizarre propaganda training mission in which the military forged letters from the Nova Scotia government to warn the public that wolves were wandering in the province.
And we also have a recent example of it in America. There was that famous video from the Portland riots, when left wing extremists brought Bibles to the riot and burned them.
Some could argue the burning of Bibles is Freedom of Speech and that is legitimate. But what happens when those ideas about the Bible become law.
In the Bible, we see a disturbing attack on truth at Jesus’ crucifixion. The priests had accused Christ of leading a rebellion against the Romans.
When Pilate asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews, Jesus replied that this was what He was being accused of:
“You say that I am a king,” Jesus answered. “For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.” (John 18: 38)
Pilate responded with the infamous statement “what is truth” (vs 38).
He knew Jesus was innocent of the charges, but he also knew where this was heading and recognized that without restraints those with authority and influence ultimately determine what is true.
It is disturbing that major news outlets, such as the New York Times, are now trying to legitimize such outrageous ideas, where the ruling oligarchy will become the determiner of truth.
READ: How the Biden Administration Can Help Solve Our Reality Crisis AND China’s library officials are burning books that diverge from Communist Party ideology AND Canadian military wants to establish new organization to use propaganda, other techniques to influence Canadians