Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Orwellian Redux

George Orwell seems to have been right. His dystopian novel, "1984," describes the degradation of Winston Smith, for daring to speak his mind, by the totalitarian state in which he lives. The latest move toward a "1984" scenario comes from New York's Governor, Eliot Spitzer and the State's Commission on Judicial Conduct. The Governor recently criticized Raoul Felder, the chairman of the Commission, for making off-color comments in a book he co-wrote with comedian Jackie Mason entitled "Schmucks." The Governor also opined that such comments might be subject to sanctions if they had been made by a Judge. Further, the other members of the Commission issued a vote of "no confidence" against Mr. Felder which could be a prelude to his removal from office

What, pray tell, does Mr. Felder's off-color, satirical or even "dangerous" statements as contained in his book have to do with his ability to perform his duties as chairman of the Commission? Nothing! This appears to be yet another circumstance of recent note where freedom of speech is compromised severely in favor of political correctness; it is censorship in a most insidious guise. It is part of the nightmare-like reality where an individual's finances and reputation are subject to ruination if his/her independent thought and commentary are not in keeping with societal "newspeak." Throughout the course of recent history, persons like Mr. Felder who ran afoul of the state's ideology were sent to re-education camps by the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Ho Chi Minh. That's essentially what happens to Winston Smith in "1984" where his "re-programming" eventually brings him to love and accept the embodiment of state totalitarianism known as "Big Brother."

Hopefully, Mr. Felder's stated vow to fight for freedom of speech and thought will not be futile. I, for one, would not like to see him wind up as an Orwellian-like protagonist.

1 comment:

Thomas Swartz said...

Bravo Randy! I completely agree. Thoughts of "1984" occurred to me when I heard the news from the Commission on Judicial Conduct. Who do these people think they are? I haven't read "1984" in many years. I am going to pick up a copy and read it again. Perhaps it should be required reading in law schools.