I woke up creaky today. Coming off of two days on The Mountain — one work, one play — this morning I moved slower than usual, longer than usual. When I was younger, my day-after aches were muscular. Now the pain settles in my joints.
Snow’s coming tomorrow to northern Arkansas. Forecasts are all over the place — some say an inch or less, others predict as much as six or eight inches of the white stuff.
The looming wintry weather coincided with our need to resupply, so today we drove down to Hudson’s Supermarket and executed a fairly substantial grocery run. This marked the first time we’d shopped here on the eve of a winter storm, and while Hudson’s was busy this afternoon (possibly because it’s a Friday), the shelves weren’t empty. People were relaxed and friendly, just like always.
The locals don’t seem to be clenching over the prospect of accumulating snow. I’d expect that attitude in South Dakota, but to see it in Harrison, Arkansas makes me smile.
We love it here.
“Being in a minority, even a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949)
Last week Facebook notified Deb that her account would be restricted for at least 90 days. She’s not been suspended, banned or canceled, but anything she shares will, according to the message she received, appear “lower in the News Feed.”
This de facto muting of speech is part of a scheme unveiled by the platform in May of last year:
“Whether it’s false or misleading content about [WuFlu] and vaccines, climate change, elections, or other topics, we’re making sure fewer people see misinformation on our apps… We will reduce the distribution of all posts in News Feed from an individual’s Facebook account if they repeatedly share content that has been rated by one of our fact-checking partners.”
The headline for that announcement was “Taking Action Against People Who Repeatedly Share Misinformation.” I can testify that none of what Deb posted was “misinformation” or false — it simply differed from The Holy Narrative.
This sort of censorship is everywhere in our dystopian America, of course, quite literally Orwellian. As Ingsoc had its Thinkpol in Nineteen Eighty-Four, today the Left has its complicit media, social and otherwise.
“We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”
A year ago I devoted a brief “Flashback” post to Orwell — Nineteen Eighty-Four, disturbing as it is, serves as an explainer for today’s society. Like Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand, 1957), it belongs on every Liberty-loving Patriot’s bookshelf.
I’ve also written at length about how I employ social media. I know that these platforms are in the business of message control, not free speech, dutifully aligned with leftist principles. Even so, they offer me tools and (so far) unsurpassed visibility to convey pro-Liberty, pro-America messages.
It’s like stealing an assailant’s weapon and using it against him.
Those of us who would exploit that vulnerability are hunted, however, as Orwell described:
“Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed — would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper — the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.”
Less than a week after the current regime assumed power, Facebook deleted my account without warning or explanation, erasing from public view my 12 years of Thoughtcrime. I waited awhile, six weeks or so, before creating a new profile and picking up right where I left off.
This go-’round I’m wiser but not consciously cautious. Posting links to these blog posts acts as a buffer of sorts. But since it’s impossible to predict exactly what triggers Zuckerbots, I don’t waste time worrying about it.
Thinkpol will get me again, sooner or later.
Now here’s a tip: We can’t change anything. What is, is. Our energy is best directed toward creating a future, not countering an irrevocable present or fretting about a maddening past. Orwell again:
“We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone. But how far away that future may be, there is no knowing. It might be a thousand years. At present nothing is possible except to extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act collectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from individual to individual, generation after generation. In the face of the Thought Police there is no other way.”
That’s as close as Orwell comes to giving advice, and it’s damned wise counsel. I’ve said as much here on the blog. Take care of yourself and your family. Gather like minds. Build communities where values coalesce. Create independent, parallel culture. Teach your children. Pass it on.
Our personal radius of influence is more limited than we imagine, but that doesn’t mean we live without effect. Individuals act. Individuals communicate. Individuals teach and individuals learn.
Screw the collective — for better or worse, individuals will build the future we won’t see.
After that sobering bit, I’d really like to leave you with humor. Thing is, the butt of this (self-inflicted) joke is but a heartbeat from the presidency. In a sympathetic interview yesterday, Chuckles the Hooker responded to a softball question with this:
“It is time for us to do what we have been doing. And that time is every day. Every day it is time for us to agree that there are things and tools that are available to us to slow this thing down.”
As I heard a pundit observe this morning, she always sounds like she’s giving a book report on a book she hasn’t read. The best reaction I’ve seen to her “word salad,” however, was this:
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.