OK, here are some books on the top of Amazon’s best-seller list as of earlier this week.
No. 1 is “1984” by George Orwell.
No. 8 is Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here.”
No. 23 is “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley.
No. 30 is “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury.
After a week or so of the Trump presidency, our “progressive” friends are busy buying up copies of these books to help them explain America’s apparent descent into fascism.
I hate to disappoint our friends in advance, but if they read carefully they will see themselves not as the victims in these books, but as the oppressors – at least in the three classics among them.
Lewis’ book is crude and forgettable, but the other three have endured because they speak of threats to the social order that are timeless and universal.
Progressives will not find a friend in Ray Bradbury. He started voting Republican in 1968 and stood with the tea party toward the end.
“I think our country is in need of a revolution,” Bradbury told the Los Angeles Times in 2010. “There is too much government today. We’ve got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people, and for the people.”
Politically, Aldous Huxley was all over the map. “Brave New World,” however, celebrates the rebellion of the individual against a society in which a scientific elite breeds humans in hatcheries.
If anyone champions a future of this sort, it is hardly Trump supporters. No, the left has a lock on the science-as-god, embryonic stem cell crowd.
Orwell is the most interesting of the three. Writing in the late 1940s, he saw in the left’s rejection of fixed ideals as a compensatory urge “to behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else.”
When dominant in the arts and letters, as they had been in Britain and America for at least a generation, progressives demanded conformity to their ever-shifting values.
“A modern literary intellectual,” Orwell wrote, “lives and writes in constant dread – not, indeed, of public opinion in the wider sense but of public opinion within his own group.”
Watching the hysterical conformity at the Golden Globes was eye-opening. The fact that Hillary Clinton got 95 percent-plus of the votes and money out of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Washington and New York shows how potentially powerful mass conformity can be.
These artistic groups, said Orwell, derived their leftward orientation from those intellectual forbears “who had no immediate prospect of attaining power.”
This powerlessness, in turn, encouraged them to be “utterly contemptuous of kings, governments, laws, prisons, police forces, armies, flags, frontiers, patriotism, religion, conventional morality, and, in fact, the whole existing scheme of things.” Sound familiar?
As Orwell acknowledged, intellectuals have always had a hard time selling this ideology to ordinary citizens in Britain or America. This has not stopped them from trying.
In his timeless 1946 essay, “Politics and the English Language,” Orwell reflected on their sales tricks. “Political language,” Orwell argued, was “designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
And so global warming becomes “climate change,” homosexual coupling becomes “marriage equality,” and abortion on demand becomes “reproductive rights.”
For a variety of good reasons, the left has had the hardest time selling America “reproductive rights.” Not even Barack Obama could do it.
“At what point,” Rick Warren asked Obama during the 2008 campaign, “does a baby get human rights, in your view?”
“Well,” Obama pontificated emptily, “I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.
“But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion,” Obama dodged heroically, “because this is something obviously the country wrestles with.
“One thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue.” Obama blathered on like this endlessly, running out the clock without ever answering the question.
“Prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning,” Orwell noted of the cultural left’s style, “and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen house.” He could have been speaking about Obama.
Those progressives who are looking for a best-seller to read, one that will enrage them and justify all their fears of fascism in the making, I would recommend they look at the No. 44 book on the Amazon list.
That book is Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer’s, “Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer.”
Yes, Virginia, it can happen here and has been happening for the last 44 years. If the reality of 55 million dead babies does not represent a “holocaust” to you, what does?
Media wishing to interview Jack Cashill, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.