“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” – I read this Orwell’s masterpiece after I have left the land of victorious proletariat and was struck by how well it captured the essence of the Soviet order.
In fairness, life in the Soviet Union was not too difficult if one followed the rules:
- Accept the corruption. There are different rules for little people and for big people
- Outwardly, accept the political correctness. Of course our Soviet society is the most fair and inclusive. Be careful what you say, surveillance is ever present. Differing opinions deserve no respect, only condemnation. If someone disagrees that’s because they are bad people with ulterior motives
- Most of the problems are created by an officially sanctioned enemy that possesses almost mythical powers (it was, of course, the United States back then).
From what I read, life in the Nazi Germany also was OK for most people that followed the “rules” and didn’t belong to one of the officially persecuted groups. At least until Herr Hitler decided to get some “lebensraum” in the East, wars tend to turn out not how one plans. And Nazis had their all-powerful enemy in Jewish women and children.
Are we getting to be like the Soviet Union? We are not there yet but for someone who came from behind the Iron Curtain the trajectory is not encouraging:
- Some are more equal than others? Check. Top 0.1% have as much wealth as the rest of the country – do you think your view matters as much as that of Qatar’s sheik paying Bill Clinton $1MM for 5 min of his time (really, Bill?). And what do you think would have happened to a “little person” that was grossly negligent with the government’s confidential information? If you have any doubt that he or she would have paid a much higher price than just saying “I accepted responsibility”, I want to have whatever you are smoking. But we’ve gotten so cynical about corruption at the highest level, we just shrug it off as expected. Different rules for different folks.
- Political correctness, lack of tolerance for differing views, massive surveillance? Check. Do you really believe that the government respects your privacy? And if you prefer a different political candidate, you are a “deplorable” (Clinton), a welfare leach (Romney), racist (Obama) or sexist (Clinton). Tolerance and ability of self-critical evaluation were not common traits amongst Communist Party bosses. These traits seem to be missing in many US politicians now.
- Officially sanctioned enemy with mythical powers? Check. Anything we don’t like is Putin’s fault. Jullian Assange’s WikiLeaks have been exposing the corruption of ruling elites for a long time, but now we know that they’ve always been Putin’s agents hell-bent on destroying Hillary Clinton (the case that their disclosures has never been showed to be falsified is so-o-o irrelevant; really, why bother with facts?)
I can go on and on. The media that doesn’t even pretend to be objective. Disappearance of the middle class. Government agencies such as IRS targeting political opponents of the regime. Even previously respected FBI is being tainted. The national debt is totally out of control. Inequality is reaching critical levels.
But most of us know that something’s broken. That’s why we just saw two deeply flawed candidates – Sanders and Trump – take the establishment to the edge even with the deck of media and political and financial interests stacked against them.
No, we are not like the Soviet Union yet. But as Orwell showed us, a transformation from a democracy to oligarchy and to outright tyranny is gradual. We are in the oligarchy stage now. The trend is not our friend.
Each of us chooses what to do. I personally decided to vote Libertarian. This is not about 2016: I live in California and it’s going for Clinton by a huge margin. It’s about getting a party not called Democratic or Republican over the 5% limit to qualify for electoral funding in the future. We’ve had the same two parties for over 150 years. At this point I question whether either of them truly represents us “little people”. It’s time for change. The real one, not the “hope and change” we were sold in 2008. In the meantime, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the likely President Clinton won’t push us into war with Russia and China. I mean, I don’t see their soldiers on our borders while there are plenty of ours near theirs.