Tuesday, August 31, 2010

@SarahPalinUSA: Closet Socialist!

Today’s pearls of wisdom from the Half-Term Governor Extraordinaire, on the occasion of Pres. Obama’s Oval Office Address announcing the end of combat operations in Iraq:

As always, I’m here to provide the Sarah-to-English translation for the uninitiated. Quoth Gov. McQuitter:

Obama’s speech tonight may make you dig out your old Orwell books so rewritten history can be deciphered, depending on who is given credit for the Iraq surge.

Now, I may be giving Sarah a bit too much credit here, but I believe she’s preemptively accusing Pres. Obama of rewriting history in tonight’s speech, and, therefore, literate Palinites (ahem!) will want to refer to their favorite George Orwell books – 1984, perhaps, or maybe Animal Farm or Homage to Catalonia (nah, that last one’s probably a bit too obscure for them) – so as to familiarize themselves with common Orwell themes. Like, for instance, doublethink:

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself -- that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.

Or newspeak:

Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever. To give a single example. The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as ‘This dog is free from lice’ or ‘This field is free from weeds’. It could not be used in its old sense of ‘politically free’ or ‘intellectually free’ since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless. Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that could be dispensed with was allowed to survive. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.

Okay, so, anyway, this, apparently, is what she’s suggesting Pres. Obama will do in tonight’s speech – if, that is, he fails to give proper credit for the “surge” in Iraq. Credit for the “surge,” presumably, is supposed to go to George W. Bush (you know, they guy who said Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and had operational links to al Qaeda – that George W. Bush). Never mind the fact that there is sharp disagreement over whether the “surge” itself – that is, the significant escalation of U.S. troops in Iraq beginning in early January 2007 – actually had a positive effect there; the real question is whether the Ex-Governor really wants to go around citing George Orwell in the first place.

Because Orwell was, or became later in life, the very thing that Sister Sarah so vehemently abhors: A socialist.

But you don’t have to take my word for it; Matt Yglesias has done the work for us:

[H]ere’s Orwell on socialism from “Why I Joined the Independent Labour Party”:

I have got to struggle against that, just as I have got to struggle against castor oil, rubber truncheons and concentration camps. And the only regime which, in the long run, will dare to permit freedom of speech is a Socialist regime. If Fascism triumphs I am finished as a writer — that is to say, finished in my only effective capacity. That of itself would be a sufficient reason for joining a Socialist party.

I have put the personal aspect first, but obviously it is not the only one.

It is not possible for any thinking person to live in such a society as our own without wanting to change it. For perhaps ten years past I have had some grasp of the real nature of capitalist society. I have seen British imperialism at work in Burma, and I have seen something of the effects of poverty and unemployment in Britain. In so far as I have struggle against the system, it has been mainly by writing books which I hoped would influence the reading public. I shall continue to do that, of course, but at a moment like the present writing books is not enough. The tempo of events is quickening; the dangers which once seemed a generation distant are staring us in the face. One has got to be actively a Socialist, not merely sympathetic to Socialism, or one plays into the hands of our always-active enemies.

In “Toward European Unity”, written after the war, he explained that “a Socialist United States of Europe seems to me the only worth-while political objective today.”

(Note that the emphasis is in the original post by Matt.)

Heh. Socialism is “the only worth-while political objective today.” So said George Orwell, Sarah Palin’s go-to guy on politics.

Sarah Palin, pallin’ around with socialists!

Well, anyways, thanks for the tip Gov. McQuitter!

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