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Fear of Trump has made “1984” a bestseller, again

In a rather terrifying, but also somewhat hopeful, development, George Orwell’s portentous warning about a totalitarian future, “1984,” is a best-seller again.

The book’s newfound success — it’s #1 on Amazon right now — is presumably thanks to Donald Trump.

And I say “hopeful” because, while the book is about a horrible totalitarian government, people are buying the book because they’re worried about Trump. And that’s a good thing, they should be.

I read 1984 back in high school, a few years right before 1984. It’s a cautionary tale of how a totalitarian controls and destroys its own people by controlling and destroying all facts.

One of the book’s most famous lines is: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

In the book, the government continually changes the truth by rewriting history books and destroying old documents that reflect what actually happened, but are now inconsistent with the governments new faulty version of the “truth.”

Just this weekend, in a move that made many think of the book, top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway referred to Trump’s and his aides’ obvious lies about the diminutive crowd size at the inaugural as “alternative facts.”

In the book, the government agency that deals with changing the past is called the Ministry of Truth. And books and documents that are destroyed are said to be sent down “the memory hole.”

The way in which Trump outright lies, and even contradicts himself, is straight out of 1984. In the book, the lies are intentional. In Trump’s case, as CNN’s Mark Preston noted, it’s still unclear if Trump is lying or delusional:

“He’s undermining his staff by forcing them to go out and repeat his lies. And if he’s not lying, let’s assume he’s not lying at all. He’s either delusional and he believes it, or to Dana’s point, the insecurities…”

Whether Trump is a liar, delusion, or both, clearly there’s been an effort by Republicans over the past twenty years to rewrite the truth about a number of topics, science in particular. But in order to do that, they need to not only play the refs — the arbiters of truth, aka the press — but eventually eliminate the refs entirely. That’s one of the reasons Fox News was created. If you don’t like the facts, create your own alternative fact network. At the same time, do everything you can to discredit the actual media. At some point, and we’ve reached that point, a good portion of your voters will no longer believe the media’s truth, and rather, will embrace your lie.

Trump, by intent or infirmity, is only the latest and most brutal manifestation of the Republican party’s longterm goal of governing by deception. And the scary thing is, it may be starting to work.

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