Was George Orwell a prophet?
I’ve been thinking a lot about my online activities since the news story broke about the big social media players deciding to restrict whatever they consider to be “hate speech.” This whole politically correct thing is on the verge of fulfilling George Orwell’s 1984 novel.
Granted, the movement is currently in Europe, but it’s not far from being a reality here in the US.
I am as unashamedly conservative as many of my friends are liberals in political things. We are grown up enough to agree that we disagree and still maintain a friendship, because even though we differ on something we feel passionately about, in other areas we are kindred spirits and genuinely LIKE each other. Naturally we each hope the other will “come around” to our side eventually. And we realize that at any time, these issues that we differ on may become dividing lines that dissolve our friendship.
There were many longtime friendships that dissolved in the face of fascism in Europe in the 1930. What seemed like a novel “new way” to think to some was recognized by others as a true danger. Only as the political ideology developed did many see how deadly it really was. For millions of people, that new way not only cost them friends, but lives as well. Today those same fascist ideals are repackaged and trotted out to the mindless masses as being “moderate” or “progressive” and like the 1930’s, people don’t reason from cause to effect long enough to see where the end result will be likely to take them. They aren’t THINKING, they are EMOTING, reacting with emotion instead of common sense.
Now, I recognize that fanaticism in ideology works both ways. There are some who are so conservative they would have us all go back to horse and buggy days without electricity or technology. Even a good ideology can be taken too far. Balance is the key in everything.
Recently there was a spate of Facebook postings that essentially said that nobody’s mind was ever changed by what someone posted on social media, that whatever people post that is negative about a political candidate or an issue really has no effect and we’d all be better off if everyone just kept their sentiments to themselves. Now THAT stuck in my craw.
Anyone who would be silly enough to believe that would probably fall for anything. The fact that companies spend billions of dollars a year to do various forms of advertising is a blatant contradiction to that premise. Advertisers know that it’s not one ad that changes someone’s mind, it’s seeing that same ad over and over and over again. It’s quantity. We all remember the brands we’ve seen in advertising above all the others. Advertising works because it plays to human nature. It gets our attention and drives its point home repeatedly until some sort of mild hypnosis kicks in and we begin to believe it. Everyone has heard of Coke and Pepsi, worldwide. But there are thousands of other cola drinks, all more or less like the two big names, that nobody recognizes. Are Coke and Pepsi intrinsically better than all the others? No. They just spent more time and money promoting their brand than the other companies.
Here’s why the selective restricting of speech is potentially deadly: people are influenced by what they see and hear most frequently. We are what we consume. Our mind adapts to what we take in. If we are only “allowed” to see and hear what a set group of the population has decreed is “right” that will influence a whole generation and it will take decades to undo that. Freedom of speech and thought is VITAL for us as people. When one group decides someone else’s speech is “hate” it’s a very dangerous pathway.
So I will not stop posting my conservative viewpoints and news stories wherever possible. I will do so regularly because it’s something I believe in. And because over time, you just never know when that message will finally break through and change an attitude.