This is a pretty lousy time if you like live music, movies, plays, or most other kinds of public entertainment. But here at Tales for Our Time the lights stay on - and, in the absence of alternatives, there's never been a better time to prowl around our back catalogue.
Meantime, welcome to Part Twenty-One of our latest audio adventure: George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Tonight's episode features another excerpt from Emmanuel Goldstein's political tract, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, which is very useful in our own age of oligarchical collectivism:
It is precisely in the Inner Party that war hysteria and hatred of the enemy are strongest. In his capacity as an administrator, it is often necessary for a member of the Inner Party to know that this or that item of war news is untruthful, and he may often be aware that the entire war is spurious and is either not happening or is being waged for purposes quite other than the declared ones: but such knowledge is easily neutralized by the technique of DOUBLETHINK. Meanwhile no Inner Party member wavers for an instant in his mystical belief that the war is real, and that it is bound to end victoriously, with Oceania the undisputed master of the entire world.
There is a lot of truth in that. Most proponents knew the "Russia investigation" was a fraud, yet Doublethink persuaded them that it was their patriotic duty to see it through to victory. Likewise, the "hysteria and hatred" intensify the higher up the party you go. The next passage is relevant too:
In Oceania at the present day, Science, in the old sense, has almost ceased to exist. In Newspeak there is no word for 'Science'. The empirical method of thought, on which all the scientific achievements of the past were founded, is opposed to the most fundamental principles of Ingsoc. And even technological progress only happens when its products can in some way be used for the diminution of human liberty. In all the useful arts the world is either standing still or going backwards. The fields are cultivated with horse-ploughs while books are written by machinery. But in matters of vital importance--meaning, in effect, war and police espionage--the empirical approach is still encouraged, or at least tolerated. The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought.
Our fields are not (yet) "cultivated with horse-ploughs" but one notes that the same philosophical approach has been embraced: Technology can put Big Woke Brother in the telephone of every being on the planet, but no such advances are ever contemplated for, say, seasonal fruit-picking which must for now and all time depend on mass illegal-immigrant labor requiring ever more open borders.
During yesterday's Clubland Q&A, Susi Thomas, a Steyn Club member from Washington, commented:
I love your nightly reading of 1984....but then each morning I get up and see such similar stories actually happening in the news in the Epoch Times pages, Sky News in Australia, and the few other reliable sources in existence, and it's awfully depressing.
Could be worse, Susi. In Canada, certain mailmen are refusing to deliver The Epoch Times.
We'll be right back here tomorrow with Part Twenty-Two of Nineteen Eighty-Four. If you're minded to join Susi in The Mark Steyn Club, you're more than welcome. You can find more information here. And, if you have a chum you think might enjoy Tales for Our Time (so far, we've covered Conan Doyle, H G Wells, P G Wodehouse, Dickens, Conrad, Kipling, Kafka, Gogol, Baroness Orczy, Victor Hugo, Louisa May Alcott, O Henry, John Buchan, Scott Fitzgerald and more), we have a special Gift Membership.