By Nathan Barton
Anyone else seeing what seems to me to be a trend?
In the novel 1984, Big Brother (government) had a daily ritual in which everyone was expected (nay, required) to demonstrate two minutes of intense hatred against the Enemy of the State (Emmanuel Goldstein) and the current external enemy (Eastasia or Eurasia). This was supposed to unify the proletariat and the regime, provide emotional release, and promote continued voluntary worship and obedience to the state.
The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp
It seems that we have a similar “tradition” which has developed in the Fifty States. Maybe in the world. It is not a national, unified sort of thing, but rather, organized and divided into political parties, cultural identity, and the daily news.
Because we are a much more hectic and busy society than that depicted in 1984, why don’t we call this the “One-Minute Hate” to be a bit different. (After all, 1984 was 45 years ago!) What are the subjects? As I said, it depends, but here are some regular candidates for what is now a rotating assignment as the object of the day:
- Russia (“Eurasia”) is always a good repeat celebrity object of hate. (Always messing with our elections, selling gas to Europeans, stealing land, etc.)
- China (“Eastasia”) is also regularly in the rota. (As I write this today, the trade war is heating up again, with yuan devaluation and tariffs on food sales and more.)
- Iran (“Southasia”?) is clearly a popular subject to vent rage and spite. (Building nukes, stealing tankers, and so forth.)
- The vast European “left-wing” conspiracy running the EU and UK and (I think) the Duchy of Grand Fenwick get selected now and then, too.
What about internal enemies? Here both the right and the left have loads of bugbears to rant and rave against:
- The Donald, of course, is number one. He is racist, sexist, homophobic, hatemongering, and more.
- Planned Parenthood certainly is regularly in the lineup. Welfare-queen baby-killers.
- The NRA of course is worth huge amounts of spittle and vitriol, making members of Congress wealthy beyond all dreams of avarice so that they let people go kill more and more with assault guns.
- Hillary Clinton also gets a high rating. Corrupt, vindictive, mob boss, and more all in one.
No doubt there are many other individuals or organizations “worthy” of becoming the face of our daily hate. But we ‘Mericans are fond of groups and lumping people together. So here are some of the candidates for that:
- The “Theocrats” usually equated to the GOP right wing, but sometimes to people like me: libertarians who believe in God. As long as you don’t include Islamists like Louie Farrakhan, even if they believe in Theocracy.
- The “Homophobes” (again, often linked to the GOP right wing) are a fav group: defined as anyone who does not encourage and promote homosexuality and berate themselves for not being such themselves. They are closely related to the “Transphobes” who have the odd idea that biology might trump mental conditions.
- The “Transgenders” themselves are of course yet another group to consider.
Again, there must be many.
So why do I bring these things up? Because our growing habit of “One-Minute Hate” broadcast in the news, at political events, on talk-shows, and via Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and media in general serves the same purpose as Big Brother’s Two-Minute Hate” did.
It distracts us and confuses us, and causes us to fear one another – usually with the idea that the fear will push us into ever more dependence on government and our betters. It causes us to vent our anger, and all of our emotions, making it easier for others to control all our reactions. It makes it easier to hate, harder to really think, and primed at any time to go off the deep end.
It is completely insane, just as Orwell portrayed it. And it is a key part of American politics and daily life today. Emotions that are not just allowed to run wild, but are encouraged to do so. And therefore push people to do horrible things. Like run berserk.
And which, then, make it easier to lose liberty.