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Donald Trump, truth kryptonite, and ‘1984’

March 1, 2021

From elsewhere I have read a pro-Trump essay which made comparisons between some details in Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” and recent happenings in the USA that the essay portrayed as being anti-Trump. 

All my life, but more especially during the Trump era, I have contemplated the craziness of political conflicts and endless arguing.

During the Trump era, we have had particularly large expansions in disinformation, misinformation, QAnon, hate groups, radicalization, and recently The Big Lie (Biden stole the election). You can get internet links for that last item by internet search on “current events what is the big lie.”  

It is clear that the internet social networks - until recently - allowed all kinds of rumors, bad ideas, incorrect information, anti-vax propaganda, and generally divisive statements to whirl all over the internet. 

The bad rumor I have seen that really takes the cake is this: The government created the snow in Texas. Many links to many articles on this can be found by internet search on “Texas snow created by government.”

Some of these articles give a test that proves the snow is fake. It’s really absurd. Remember in the past when people accused of being witches were tested by drowning or burning at the stake? They all died. These witch trials ran from 1427 to 1782 according to one source. 

Trump said many things that were bad. Here is just one. At a March 19, 2020 press conference he said “I know the truth. The people out there in the world, they really don’t know the truth” (This can be verified from any of the transcript websites). Like many of the things Trump does or says, it sets him up as something like a god of reality, and only he can create or change it. Orwell’s novel “1984” utilized many brilliant but horrible ideas for its brutal and totalitarian dystopia. One of the things in that novel was the “Ministry of Truth.” It, also, was the only source of truth and there was only one truth. The other big part of the “1984” plot involved a totally brainwashed public who didn’t even know they were brainwashed.  But now that we (at least the Trump supporters) know that only Trump can speak the truth and everyone else “[doesn’t] know the truth,” we can have such things as the Jan. 6, 2021 event. And, The Big Lie continues to this day.

The most remarkable thing that came from Trump is - what I will call - Truth Kryptonite. In the Trump era, truth can be instantly invalidated by calling it “fake news.” 

You can show any amount of documentation or explanation and it can all be instantly blown away by calling it “fake news.” End of conversation.  It is like “the elephant in the room” phenomenon, a form of denialism. Truth is established after Trump decrees that it is good, and if and only if Trump says so. 

Regarding the Big Lie, statements from election and state officials (even Republican officials) and the recount data all said that Biden won. Moreover, it is significant that former AG William Barr - Trump’s own originally pro-Trump guy - said that taking election irregularities into account would not change the result.

And Barr later resigned and then criticised Trump’s misuse of his office. Trump and the Trump campaign launched a massive lawsuit attack (it failed spectacularly) on our elections.

Trump initiated the telephone conversation to Georgia Secretary of State Raffensberger to “find” more votes for Trump. The duties of both Mike Pence and Congress were interfered with Jan. 6. These were all brazen and repeated attempts to overthrow the election to install Trump as a historical tyrant, or king, or both. And polls show that a lot of people still believe The Big Lie is really the truth.

I would say that in 2021 what we have is “1984” mostly among the Trump supporters. Fortunately, the majority of the population - including significant numbers of Republicans - saw the Trump “con” and didn’t fall for it.  

Arthur E. Sowers
Harbeson
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