Gary Hofmeister: 1984 ... a bit late?


In George Orwell's classic "1984," double-think, thought crime and disinformation were the major themes. Regardless of the truth, citizens found it necessary to selectively remember and forget events to stay on the right side of the powers-that-be in the government. And of course, the agency responsible for it all was named the Ministry of Truth. What else?

One of the most remarkable things about this work of genius is that although it was written in 1947, Orwell had the prescience to see the seeds of such evil decades ahead of their becoming obvious. This has led me to suggest to friends that even if they had read it earlier, they should consider revisiting it every 2 to 3 years. They would be astounded at recent manifestations of his observations made 60 years ago.

Although Big Brother personified the oppressive government that demanded complete obedience, it isn't a long stretch to discern how we arrive there incrementally. The operative word may now be "spinning" to describe an absence of truth, but I'm still old fashioned enough to prefer the word "lying." That's what it is.

Several cases are perfect demonstrations, the most recent being Rush Limbaugh using the term "phony soldiers." Anyone who listens to the tape knows that he is speaking of people who were never in the military who claim to have been or were in short periods and then made up stories of their exploits. He was most certainly not speaking of genuine veterans who oppose the Iraq war. But facts never seem to get in the way of attempts to silence conservative voices. In Washington, it's considered axiomatic that if something is repeated three times; it becomes "common knowledge" and is accepted as fact. The number of liberals repeating this lie about Rush is multiples of that. They smell blood in the water and are frothing at the mouth at the thought of destroying our most effective thinker and communicator.

As I've written before, the same syndrome was in evidence in the Valerie Plame case, who was not a covert agent.

And though resigned Attorney General Gonzales did a miserable job in defending his actions in dismissing various U.S. Attorneys (which resulted in even strong conservatives such as Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma calling for his resignation), the fact is that Bill Clinton's attorney general, Janet Reno, fired all 93 U.S. attorneys, and there was hardly a whimper. The U.S. attorneys serve at the will of the President and nothing illegal was done. But the Demos screamed so loud and often that they finally got Gonzales' head and convinced a large majority of the country that a crime had been committed.

One has to give the devil his due in admitting that they've had some political success with their defamation. But at what price to the country? Is truth really dispensable in the service of political advantage?

Genuine disagreements on policy are part and parcel of our system and this surely includes major issues such as going to war. Reasoned debate is healthy. We can deal with those and allow the people to decide at the ballot box which side to take. But outright lies should give all sides pause. Nothing is more important than truth. If we abandon that, we might find that the only mistake Orwell made in 1947 was naming it 1984. We've already established his timing was wrong for that year or even 2007. But if we continue on this path, by the centennial of the book, it may have become a mirror of what used to be the good ole USA.

Gary Hofmeister is the owner and operator of Hofmeister Personal Jewelers in downtown Steamboat, a company he founded in 1973. He is a Director of the Conservative Leadership Council of Northwest Colorado and a former Republican nominee for Congress in the 10th District of Indiana. He made 18 trips to the former USSR to teach democratic-capitalism during the 1990's.


dimwitiguess 9 years, 6 months ago

Did you read what Orwell wrote about the miltary and its stockpiling weapons that need to be used up in wars to continue the war machine. How one day someone is our friend and the next our enemy or vice versa? That's in 1984. Sound familiar? We supported Iraq and Saddam. We supported the "Freedom fighters" in Afghanistan, etc. etc. What changed but our opinions and our spin?

You spun your opinion too. It is common practice for attorney generals at the beginning of a term to replace judges, Reno did the same. Gonzales did his in an untimely way and based on something else. I use that only as an example of your spin not in support of Reno.

The news systems also spin the news to support thier opinions which is scarier. That is the most frightening thing. We have no news source that we can trust. News reporters are becoming less reliable and trustworthy than the lawyers and politicians who run this country.

There is no noble cause in our country anymore. It is up to each of us to rely on our own thinking and to ignore the others who shout over each of us to bring us in line with their spin and, yes, as you said "lies."


Mark Helle 9 years, 6 months ago

Gary, You seem to suggest the "truth" is somehow the dominion of conservatives. perhaps it is a bit more complex than that? It appears to myself and other reasonably questioning citizens that flag waving networks full of pundits ascribing to a conservative view and getting exclusive interviews from "5 deferrment Cheney" might well be operating as "The Ministry of Truth" For instance, when did the "fair and balanced" media make the word "liberal" a perjorative term? I would suggest Karl Roves politics of polarization and the Bush administrations voracious appetitie for Executive Branch autonomy have done far more to cloud the discerning ability of the populace than "liberals" intent on spreading "lies" about a popular pundit. Do you really want to hold Rush Limbaugh as the paragon of "truth?" Granted, it is simply my opinion, but calling him "our most effective thinker and communicator" is likely not going to win over many objective seekers of the truth. As for Valerie Plame, many well informed professionals who operate under the penalty of perjury (Patrick Fitzgerald for one) have concluded she was a covert agent. Even if she wasn't, your point would be? That it is okay to ruin a pesons career because their husband writes an article about the "truth" of his findings in Niger? Does the fact that you spend a great deal of money adveritising in the Steamboat Pilot make your opinion of the truth repeatedly print worthy?

We are beings with relative minds. If there is an absolute truth i am not sure we grasp it much of the time. Mistaking our opinions for the truth is how we perpetuate a cycle of suffering and confusion. Whether we be Liberal, Conservative, Independant, Muslim, Jewish, or Christian.


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