Sunday, August 27, 2017

To Hear ..., To See ..., or Not?

(Echoes of George Orwell1)
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.

Everyone believes in the atrocities of the enemy and disbelieves in those of his own side, without ever bothering to examine the evidence.

This business of making people conscious of what is happening outside their own small circle is one of the major problems of our time,

The essential job is to get people to recognise war propaganda when they see it, especially when it is disguised as peace propaganda.

If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions.

Every war, when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defence against a homicidal maniac.

There is something wrong with a regime that requires a pyramid of corpses every few years.

[T]he existing social order is a swindle and its cherished beliefs mostly delusions.

I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened. I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines’.

Is the English press honest or dishonest? At normal times it is deeply dishonest. All the papers that matter live off their advertisements, and the advertisers exercise an indirect censorship over news.

I watched him with some interest, for it was the first time that I had seen a person whose profession was telling lies — unless one counts journalists.

Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.

Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.

[I]f public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.

Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-deception.

What now strikes us as remarkable about the new moneyed class of the nineteenth century is their complete irresponsibility; they see everything in terms of individual success, with hardly any consciousness that the community exists.

One's got to change the system, or one changes nothing.

Either we all live in a decent world, or nobody does.

Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to be paid for.
So, are we open to hearing and seeing the greater reality of our 21st Century world by examining the prescience of 20th Century George Orwell?
The Orwell Tapes [A Biography]:
  Part One at (Time 53:51)
  Part Two at (Time 53:59)
  Part Three at (Time 53:59)

YouTube version at (Time 2:41:34)
Then let us see if George Webb has anything Orwellian to open our 2017 eyes and ears—

Above quotes from
Some additional quotes from the same source:
» Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side.
» War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.
» It is difficult to see how Gandhi's methods could be applied in a country where opponents of the regime disappear in the middle of the night and are never heard of again. Without a free press and the right of assembly, it is impossible not merely to appeal to outside opinion, but to bring a mass movement into being, or even to make your intentions known to your adversary.
» Looking at the world as a whole, the drift for many decades has been not towards anarchy but towards the reimposition of slavery.
» In this country intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face, and that fact does not seem to me to have had the discussion it deserves.
» The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.
» As time goes on and the horrors pile up, the mind seems to secrete a sort of self-protecting ignorance which needs a harder and harder shock to pierce it, just as the body will become immunised to a drug and require bigger and bigger doses.
» The choice before human beings, is not, as a rule, between good and evil but between two evils.
» Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

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