Ministry of Truth: Now, under private managment
In George Orwell’s novel 1984, Winston Smith finds himself working in the government-run Ministry of Truth. Mission: Stamp out all speakers, publications, and even Art forms not in full accord with the pronouncements of Big Brother. Burn books, topple statues, and rewrite history so history shows Big Brother has always been correct and never wrong.
But like all inept government bureaucracies it took a while for the Ministry of Truth to discover Winston’s forbidden love affair with Julia. Eventually betrayed, Winston and Julia were sent to the Ministry of Love where they were brutally tortured until they denounced each other.
Fast forward to today’s America and just imagine a 21st Century Ministry of Truth operated with the efficiency of some of our Big Tech corporations such as Google, Apple, and Amazon. Wait. No need to imagine. Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter are running a private-enterprise Ministry of Truth committed to the suppression of conservative thought and speech.
By so doing, these American corporate entities are standing on the shoulders of some of history’s worst depots. Hitler’s Dr. Joseph Goebbels founded the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, one of Orwell’s models for the Ministry of Truth.
Recall, after Comrade Leon Trotsky led the Bolshevik Army to victory over its opponents, Josef Stalin denounced Trotsky and drove Trotsky into exile. During Chairman Mao’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) millions of Chinese were thrown into reeducation camps and forced to denounce each other or die. Currently, Red Chinese President Xi is waging genocide on the Uighur people of East Turkistan.
Today’s Big Tech silencers of free speech are not, however, the first to do so. In 1980, The Washington Post and Newsweek fired their long-time opinion columnist, Arnaud de Borchgrave, for writing The Spike, a novel exposing how major news organs "spike" opposing views.
Arnaud de Borchgrave went on to found The Washington Times and Newsmax. Today, Newsmax.com, NewsmaxTV, and The Epoch Times are leaders in the struggle for all points of view to be expressed. Parler.com was a free speech forum until Amazon jettisoned parler.com’s Internet platform.
Big Tech is operating beyond the reach of any legal restraint. Section 203 of the Communications Decency Act of 1966 allows Big Tech to trample the free speech rights of Americans without fear of legal consequences. With the Democrats in control of the White House, Congress and, apparently, the Supreme Court, Big Tech will continue to run rampant over free speech until an opposition party can gain control over the Congress and the White House, if ever.
One cannot help but be reminded of the lament by German Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984): "First they came for the Communists. And I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Socialists. And I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists. And I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews. And I did not speak out because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me. And there was no one left to speak out for me."
Suggested reading: The Spike by Arnaud deBorchgave and Robert Moss (1980). Animal Farm by George Orwell, (1945). Nineteen Eight-Four: A Novel, by George Orwell, (1949).
©2021. William Hamilton.