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Wednesday, September 24, 2014
George Orwell’s Predictions Come True
George Orwell wrote two books almost 70 years ago in which he predicted the future of society with remarkable prescience: “Animal Farm” and “1984”. 
Many of his observations can easily be applied to the political situation in America today.  Consider the following quotes from “Animal Farm,” which was
written in 1945:
 
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
 
"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." 
NOTE: This has become increasingly difficult in America today because of the failure of our media to meet its responsibility of “speaking truth to power”
rather than submitting to it.
 
"Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act." 
NOTE the growing trend in today’s America to label people as un-American when they disagree over policy.
           
"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity." 
NOTE: We need only to listen to the representations of our politicians today to recognize the truth of this observation.
 
"Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it." (Including the current
generation of Americans).
 
"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."   When the animals take over the farm, they think it is the start of a better life. Their
dream is of a world where all animals are equal and all property is shared. But soon the pigs take control and one of them, Napoleon, becomes the leader
of all the animals. One by one the principles of the revolution are abandoned, until the animals have even less freedom than before. 
NOTE how this applies to the situation in America today.
 
"The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it." 
NOTE: Iraq and Afghanistan are current examples of this observation. 
 
"Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." 
NOTE how this applies to the political class in America today, who increasingly talk with the appearance of authority yet say nothing of any significance
or meaning.
 
"Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.”
 
"Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish
the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."  NOTE the naked pursuit of
power by politicians at all levels in America today.
 
"War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make
the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent."  Consider the waste of resources that is taking place in America today.
 
Following are some of the many cogent observations that George Orwell made in his second book, “1984”:
 
"Big Brother is watching you." 
NOTE the massive intrusion of government in our lives today.  This is perhaps best exemplified by the federal income tax code (now estimated to require
over 72,000 pages to document) and the power of the IRS to define and enforce tax regulations and collect taxes.
 
"The best books . . . are those that tell you what you know already." 
 
"Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious."
 
"But the proles (the people), if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength, would have no need to conspire.  They needed only to
rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies.  If they chose they could blow the Party to pieces tomorrow morning.  Surely sooner or later it
must occur to them to do it?  And yet -----!"  NOTE the fierce, largely spontaneous resistance that has recently developed to the massive deficit spending
and expansion of government in the lives of Americans. 
 
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever."  NOTE: As the size and reach of government continues to grow
beyond all expectations, the power of the United States’ government has become increasingly oppressive.  As Lord Acton (1834-1902) famously said,
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
 
George Orwell’s observations about the future of society were made 67 years ago, and they are proving to be remarkably accurate in today’s America.
It’s more than a little scary to contemplate.  My fear is that if the American people do not take their government back from their politicians, our nation’s
future will look increasingly like Orwell’s “1984.”
 
NOTE:
You can read “1984” at: http://msxnet.org/orwell/print/1984.pdf
 
 
 
© 2012-2014 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Posted at 22:12 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



Monday, September 8, 2014
9/11: A Perspective, Thirteen Years Later
Contemplating the thirteenth anniversary of the 9/11 Islamofascist attack on America, I continue to wonder why our nation is so divided about the War on Terror?
 
I was in high school during WWII, and I don’t remember any major disagreements between Americans about the war, whether we should be fighting it at all, or if we brought the Pearl Harbor attack on ourselves, or whether we should take the fight to the Japanese. It was abundantly clear that to allow them to hit us again on our own turf was unthinkable.   
 
FDR famously memorialized December 7, 1941 as “a date which will live in infamy”.   There was no hesitation about what our response should be, nor do I remember any equivocation during the conduct of the war, which did not end until after we dropped A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.   Everyone understood that we were in a fight for our very existence. A fight we did not start and for which we were not prepared, but surely one we had to finish, or we would have ceased to exist as a nation. It was a simple proposition: They win, we lose, live or die. That’s the nature of wars. You can’t fight wars in a half-hearted or politically correct way.   For all the talk about the Geneva Convention, they are not regulated by some sort of Marquis of Queensbury rules, and everyone understood that.
 
So, what’s different now, some 73 years later?  
 
For starters, our politics: We continue to be divided over whether the War on Terror is a real war or some sort of regional conflict or if, in fact, it’s a war at all, as opposed to criminal activity that more properly falls within the purview of the justice system.
 
A clear understanding of who the enemy is: In past wars, everyone knew who the enemy was. That was still true during the “Cold War” with the Soviet Union and communism in general. But today, not everyone seems to fully appreciate or agree that we are fighting an enemy that transcends national boundaries and whose motivation is based on their religious beliefs, that their ultimate goal is to convert or subjugate entire world to their religion or kill all those who refuse. Islamic Fundamentalists are waging war on a wide variety of fronts, Boko Haram, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, The Taliban, Islamic Jihad, is a partial list.
 
Letting the military run the war: During WWII, we let our military make the essential decisions about how the war should be fought. MacArthur was given a free hand to wage the fight in the Pacific. And, it was pretty much the same for Eisenhower in Europe. We lost Vietnam because our political leaders interfered with the conduct of the war, with disastrous consequences. 
 
Acceptance of the nature of war: Recognizing that war is brutal, that no quarter is given and that it cannot be conducted in a politically correct way. During WWII, Americans did not question the necessity of fighting with no holds barred. The objective in past wars has always been to bring the enemy to their knees, striking against centers of production and destroying their ability to produce weapons. That invariably caused civilian casualties. As terrible as that may have been, it was generally accepted as necessary. London and many Russian cities were almost totally destroyed by the Germans, and many German cities were almost bombed out of existence by the allies. Loss of life on both sides, both military and civilian, was massive, totaling in the millions.
 
Agreement on the meaning of the term, “giving aid and comfort to the enemy:” Supporting our enemies during times of war has always been considered treasonous. We went astray during the Vietnam War, as exemplified by the Chicago Seven and the likes of Jane Fonda. But, during WWII there was no doubt what the term meant. Today, there don’t seem to be any limitations on the behavior of American citizens or media, including releasing classified information to the public.
 
Wars are messy: For all the strategic and tactical planning that goes on during wars, the fact is that both sides are constantly maneuvering to gain the advantage, and their moves are always changing. Dwight Eisenhower, the Commander of Allied Forces in Europe said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
 
Recognizing that wars often last for many years: Many Americans are showing signs of fatigue in the process of what promises to be a fight that could last for a generation. The Brits didn’t pull their troops out of Northern Ireland for almost 40 years of fighting with Irish terrorists. Many Americans appear to have the mistaken impression that wars are waged in the time span of a T.V. show or a movie, while the reality is that they may last for decades.
 
America has not been placed on a “war-time” footing: In general, we don’t seem to be deprived of anything because we are at war. For many Americans, there has been little or no direct consequence affecting their personal lifestyles, careers, education or other aspect of their lives: no significant shortages, no rationing, no military draft. Indirectly, of course, everyone has been affected by massive government spending to finance the effort. And, although our individual freedoms have been curtailed somewhat by the Patriot Act, it doesn’t appear to be unreasonably limiting them. There are those, of course, such as the ACLU, who argue otherwise, but I don’t believe it’s possible for us to protect ourselves adequately without also limiting our rights to some degree. Unlimited freedoms are simply not possible in wartime.
 
As we approached the sixth Anniversary of 9/11, Cal Thomas wrote in Townhall.com, “‘Why didn’t we see 9/11 coming’ was a question frequently asked in the aftermath of that terrorist attack. And the answer should be, because we forgot the attacks preceding that one, or brushed them off as inconsequential aberrations so we could get back to watching the stock market go up and obsess about Bill Clinton’s pants coming down. By not remembering those earlier attacks, the reasons behind them and the intentions of the terrorists and those who trained and incited them, we put ourselves in further jeopardy…Not to remember 9/11, is to forget what brought it about. That can lead to a lowering of our guard and a false sense of security…”.
 
That’s what concerns me most as I contemplate another anniversary of 9/11, that the attack has not become a battle cry, like “Remember the Alamo,” exhorting Americans to never forget that we are at war, that we must not only remain vigilant but that we must respond directly to the threat of Islamofacists everywhere, at home and abroad, or we risk becoming just another footnote to history.

© 2013-2014 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
 
Posted at 21:57 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



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