What Orwell foretold


Allan Gregg considers the Harper government’s approach to evidence, reasoning and language in policy and our current political culture.

The thing that is disconcerting and unsettling about all this is not just the substance of these Bills, but why a government would want to disguise that substance. Maybe dismantling the Wheat Board; or pre-emptively squashing collective bargaining; or sending more potheads to jail is a good thing. But before we make those decisions, let’s look at all the facts; have a fulsome and rational debate; and make a reasoned decision of what is in the best interests of all the parties involved. For voters to determine whether these are measures they support or oppose requires that they know what is at stake and what the government is actually doing. Moreover, for the rule of law to work, the public must have respect for the law. By obfuscating the true purpose of laws under the gobbledy-gook of double speak, governments are admitting that their intentions probably lack both support and respect. Again, the lesson here is Orwellian … in the same way that reason requires consciousness, tyranny demands ignorance.

As evidence of the Harper government’s success in controlling the conversation, consider that it seems to have convinced Allan that the census that was eliminated two years ago asked about toilet ownership. It didn’t. The last census to ask about toilet ownership was the 1961 census.


What Orwell foretold

  1. Discontent with government has been a contributing factor to the rise of Fascism in the past. Wherever this leads we chose the ride.

  2. Thanks for bringing this piece forward. However, considering the sweep and gist of the article, your contribution is toilet ownership?

  3. I think this paragraph is the biggest take away for me:
    “But for whatever role television may have played in amusing ourselves to death in the past, we now live in a digital world where there is “evidence” for every and any view one might want to embrace. If I believe the world is flat, the internet now puts me in touch with legions of fellow flat earthers and reams of pseudo science to support that belief. As importantly, if I am so inclined, I never have to be exposed to any contrary views and can find total refuge in my community of flat earthers. The Internet therefore, offers me the opportunity to have a completely closed mind and at one in the same time, fill it full of nonsense disguised as fact. In a brand new way therefore, the internet democratizes not just individual opinion but legitimizes collective ignorance and spreads a bizzaro world of alternative reason. When this occurs, prejudice and bias is reinforced and the authority of real science and evidence is undermined or even more likely, never presented. “

    • I think this is a good explanation for the existence of the embarrassing article it was written in.

      • I like how your comment cements the premise of the original article. Nicely done Ryan.

        The truth will set you free.

      • Ryan, embarrassing in what way? Embarrasing to your cabal of liars?

  4. Unfortunate that Gregg didn’t take a moment to think about how his comparison of Hitler’s Germany and Harper’s Canada in his essay wouldn’t help his argument that he only follows evidence and science. Governments keeping people ignorant just didn’t start a few years ago when Harper was elected, it’s only technocrats who think Libs are paragons of truth and enlightenment and everyone else is a knave, crook or anti science.

    And if Gregg is pondering satire, Orwell used many of his experiences at BBC in 1984 (Ministry of Truth) and it was warning against State broadcasters – Gregg works for Canada’s State broadcaster and he claims Harper naming Bill C-5 “The Continuing Air Service for Passengers Act” is similar to Hitler’s arbeit macht frei. Orwell was warning us about asshats like Gregg.

    Why do so many witless Libs and other left wing people work in Canada’s msm? Can’t they find proper jobs. What does it mean for our governance that many journos agree with Gregg’s analysis that Nazi Germany is just like Harper’s Canada. If we are going to compare parts of Canada to Hitler’s Germany the more apt comparison would be ethnic nationalists in Quebec.

    • “Why do so many witless Libs and other left wing people work in Canada’s msm?”

      Probably as a counter-balance to the many right-wing half-wits who also seem to have day jobs there.

      BTW, if by “Canada’s State Broadcaster”, you are referring to the CBC, Gregg might be surprised to know that, by appearing regularly on it, he “works for [it]”.

    • “Ok, so now the facts were beginning to tell a different story. This was
      no random act of downsizing, but a deliberate attempt to obliterate
      certain activities that were previously viewed as a legitimate part of
      government decision-making – namely, using research, science and
      evidence as the basis to make policy decisions. It also amounted to an
      attempt to eliminate anyone who might use science, facts and evidence to
      challenge government policies”

      “Governments keeping people ignorant just didn’t start a few years ago
      when Harper was elected, it’s only technocrats who think Libs are
      paragons of truth and enlightenment and everyone else is a knave, crook
      or anti science”
      This is essentially what he’s accusing this govt of. But you claim it has been going on long before Harper. You’re missing his point altogether – no big surprise there. Gregg was by the way a career PCer.No doubt just another liberal technocrat in your book.

  5. “I also think it’s time to gather the facts….and fight back”

    Amen to that.

    The liberal consensus in this country[ in N. America for that matter] has broken down for whatever reason. The barbarians aren’t at the gate anymore, moaning about taxes and the insidious power of the state and its elites – they are the state; they’re up on the ramparts, blowing raspberries at whoever dares criticize them, contradict them or demand process be respected, They’ve run their colours up the mast. It’s long past time to meet the challenge.