Political correctness has taken many forms of late resulting in the destruction of symbols of our history, both good and bad.
Author George Orwell lived through the tragic era of Josef Stalin in Russia and Adolf Hitler in Germany, and he observed the steps that led to the destruction of those countries.
In 1949, Orwell wrote a novel, set in Russia under Stalin, entitled “1984.” The novel was meant as a warning to all future readers.
A startling quote from Part Two, Chapter 5 should cause us concern:
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture repainted, every statue and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day-by-day and minute-by-minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless Present in which the Party is always right.”
In the preface of the 1981 edition, Walter Cronkite said: “It has been said that ‘1984’ fails as a prophecy because it succeeded as a warning ... Orwell’s terrible vision has been averted.”
Maybe the warning didn’t arrive on time, but has finally arrived in 2017.
In the appendix of the same 1981 edition, Erich Fromm, a German psychologist and sociologist, said: “Orwell wants to warn us, so ‘1984’ teaches us, the danger with which all men are confronted today, the danger of a society of automatons who will have lost every trace of individuality, of love, of critical thought, and yet who will not be aware of it …”
The 2016 edition of Orwell’s “1984” is on the required reading list in many Texas schools today indicating the high caliber of his writing.
Books like Orwell’s are powerful warnings and it would be most unfortunate if the reader smugly interpreted “1984” as another description of Stalinism and does not see that it means the United States, too.