George Orwell was right

I remember reading George Orwell’s 1984 while in high school. The final discussion we had about the book focused on the question, “Could this happen in the United States?” The overwhelming opinion of my classmates, my teacher, and myself back in 1986 was a resounding “no.” There was no way the people would ever allow the government to exert so much control over their lives. There was absolutely no way that words would be banned or that we’d allow a minority to rewrite the history of the majority.

How wrong we were. I went to sleep in 2023 and I woke up in 1984.

lockdowns showed how readily Americans will give up their constitutional rights in the interest of public safety. Within days of an epidemic being declared, we gave up our right to assemble, travel, and worship freely. We let the government determine which businesses were essential and which ones needed to shut their doors and give up revenue for months at a time.

It’s no wonder radical elements of the government and the cultural Left have tried to push the bounds of what we’re willing to tolerate in a post-COVID world.

Efforts to pass gun control policies, for example, are now as frequent as they are extreme. In June of last year, the federal government passed its first gun legislation since 1994, the
Safer Communities Act
. The act includes $750 million to “help states implement and run crisis intervention programs, which can be used to manage red flag programs, as well as for other crisis intervention programs such as mental health, drug and veteran courts.” This law will do nothing to prevent mass shootings, but simply does away with due process, allowing authorities to take away the constitutional right to own a gun without a trial, a criminal complaint, or even an arrest.

The most egregious gun control policy is the new Illinois gun law that bans assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The law allows people who owned assault weapons or high-capacity magazines before the law was passed to keep them — but only if they register their weapons with the Illinois State Police. This law is unconstitutional and violates both the Second and Fifth Amendments. Fortunately, a judge in Illinois has issued a
temporary restraining order
, preventing the implementation of the law — but only for the plaintiffs of the case that were before the judge.

The woke mob and their bureaucratic allies are also coming for our
First Amendment
right to free speech. Thanks to Elon Musk, we now know that the federal government colluded with Twitter to suspend nearly 250,000 accounts, including accounts tied to journalists, some of whom questioned the origins of COVID, and others that followed “two or more” Chinese diplomatic accounts.

The Biden administration even tried to create its own Ministry of Truth — a “Disinformation Governance Board” intended to combat “misinformation.” Thankfully, the board was shut down before it was implemented due to negative press and the reaction of angry voters.

Undeterred, Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D) introduced a bill to combat white supremacy by criminalizing certain forms of hate speech. Per
News, “Jackson Lee introduced the Leading Against White Supremacy Act of 2023 to assign criminal punishment for certain forms of hate speech … the bill’s language is broad and could result in people facing criminal charges for sharing hateful content, including on social media.”

According to this bill, the government gets to define what hate speech is and then prosecute people for it. Though the law will never see a vote in Congress, the thought that it is getting meaningful support in the legacy media is telling.

The Left’s desire to erase and rewrite our history has been known for some time. From the farce of the “1619 Project” to the removal of Dr.
Ben Carson
’s name from a school in Detroit, the Left has proved that if history doesn’t fit their preferred narrative, it will be changed. We’ve removed statues of Christopher Columbus and Theodore Roosevelt but left statues of Stalin, Lenin, and Mao, three leaders who represent the values of the Marxist Left and are responsible for millions upon millions of deaths. Leftists tried to cancel Gone With the Wind and the classic Christmas song, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” but hailed the song “Wet A** P***y” as empowering and liberating.

This rewriting of history and canceling of popular culture is a page out of the Marxist-Leninist playbook, for as Orwell taught us in
, “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the future controls the past. Who controls the present controls the past.”

Orwell also predicted the burgeoning divide between the elites and everyday people. The recent meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, was a perfect example of how the Party, as Orwell called them, works. Our global elites flew more than 1,000 private jets to Davos to lecture the rest of us on our carbon footprint and the importance of going green. If they were at all bothered about this brazen display of hypocrisy they certainly didn’t show it.

The public is far too used to the “rules for thee and not for me” mentality of the ruling class. We all remember former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s infamous
during the COVID lockdown, Chicago
Mayor Lori Lightfoot
saying that the rules didn’t apply to her because she is on television, and California
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s
dinner at the French Laundry at a time when
in the ocean was considered an arrestable offense. The elites once hid their special treatment. Now they flaunt it and criticize the proletariat for even daring to question why the rules apply only to them.

But the public still has some fight left in it. Last month, for example, Ivan Provorov, an NHL player for the Philadelphia Flyers and a Russian Orthodox, chose to sit out a pre-game skate during which players wore LGBT pride jerseys, citing his religious beliefs. “I respect everybody, and I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion,” Provorov said.

The media went apocalyptic. One commentator even suggested that Provorov return to Russia to fight in the war against Ukraine.

But the Left’s condemnation had the opposite of its intended effect. Provorov’s NHL jersey has since
sold out
and is the bestselling NHL jersey at the moment.

The Left would love to turn Orwell’s 1984 into reality, but the public is thankfully resisting. We will not give up our guns. We will use gas appliances. We will say offensive things such as “Merry Christmas” and “God bless America.” Unlike Winston Smith in 1984, we will never say that 2+2=5, nor will we ever believe it.


Jim Nelles is a supply chain consultant based in Chicago, IL. He has served as a chief procurement officer, chief supply chain officer, and a chief operations officer for multiple companies.

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