1984, QAnon, and the “Goldstein” Effect.

1984 is a book that was published in 1949 by George Orwell. It was written during a time of great strife, and is inspired by the totalitarian regimes that were Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. 1984 is considered a masterpiece and a classic of English literature. The book has been read by millions of people worldwide and is still cited to this day as the defacto warning of totalitarianism. 1984 and George Orwell’s essays sparked the term “Orwellian,” and even continues to be the reference when people speak of injustice and oppression of liberties. Nowadays, with the COVID-19 pandemic becoming center stage in everyone’s lives, the book has become the example when people see the injustice of forced quarantine, the closure of businesses, or wearing masks. The book is like a new bible of sorts, instilling anger and hatred at those that listen to the government, and those that listen are treated like the proles, or other party members that didn’t question anything big brother did. However, there is an important character that is forgotten when saying these things, and that is the protagonist Winston Smith.

(SPOILERS for 1984)

In Part 2 of 1984, Winston Smith starts an affair with the beautiful Julia, who seeks Winston out one day. While speaking with her after one of their love-making sessions, Winston talks about opposing Big Brother and wonders about the whereabouts of The Brotherhood and Emmanuel Goldstein, who is the leader of The Brotherhood and is the subject during the “Two-minute hate.” He mentions O’Brian, an Inner Party member who works for the Ministry of Love, and Winston confides in her his trust in O’Brian and that he may be a Brotherhood member. She isn’t convinced though as she is fine rebelling from the waist down and isn’t interested in a full-on rebellion. But Winston is adamant and wants to go and meet with O’Brian to ask him about it. She finally agrees and joins him on this quest. When they meet O’Brian, Winston learns that he is a Brotherhood member, and he procures a copy of a book written by Emmanuel Goldstein called The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, which explains the purpose of the party.

One night, after Winston and Julia make love in their new hideout above Mr. Charrington’s shop, he reads from that book and learns about the many contradictions of the party, and learns the truth of the government ministries, along with the “war” that never ends between the three warring countries, Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. The next morning, Winston and Julia are greeted by a voice from a hidden telescreen, a device that monitors the populace of Oceania, and is ambushed by the Thought Police, which maintains order in what people think and do. Winston is sent to the Ministry of Love, a place that uses torture and other evil means to force their Party members to conform to their beliefs, or to be killed if they see no reason to force conformity. O’Brian, who works at the Ministry of Love, deceived Winston and used the false association with the brotherhood to only place the strings on Winston’s back. The novel ends with Winston showing his utmost love for Big Brother.

The parallels between the actions of O’Brian towards Winston and his forced conformity, and propaganda that is thrust out onto the world by mainstream media, cults and other religious institutions is reason for concern, and something to note when a group uses fear and anger to guide you.

The quality of life for many people was halted, and limited to staying at home, ordering in food and drink, and binge-watching shows and movies on Netflix. A vacation that has extended to uncomfortable levels! Who would’ve thought chilling at home would be a nuisance!

Outcry and anger have fueled many people as they struggle to make ends meet, or are disheartened that the COVID-19 virus wasn’t as bad as the media said it would be. The only objections I have to the latter is the projections that the World Health Organization (WHO) and people like Theresa Tam and Anthony Faucci had showed many people dying to the Corona virus, which was largely prevented because of the implementation of social distancing and self-isolation. The point of a projection is it gives us something to work towards, or to make sure doesn’t happen. Expecting COVID-19 to be worse than the projections is like expecting Sauron from The Lord of The Rings to succeed when Gandalf foresaw him gaining the One Ring. The fellowship went on a journey to halt Sauron’s succession and only started because of the potential that he will enslave all of Middle-earth.

With growing support of a supposed “Baudrillard” philosophy of choosing to be woke (red pill) or asleep (blue pill), the voices that question the anger of lockdown are seemingly asleep, or are puppets to our federal governments, ensuring we stay put and do nothing. Though, I have to ask: who in their right mind would want to put a halt to businesses and our economy, when it negatively impacts our GDP? And with that, who would want to see our economy fall, and to see people suffer economically?

My point in these questions is nobody wants these things, so why do it? While the response to the COVID-19 pandemic can appear to be a knee-jerk reaction since it negatively impacted many businesses and the global economy, the fear and risk of death to our fellow humans was placed as the priority, or of greater value, at least it appears this way. It really is difficult as a leader when you must decide how to save your country from a threat like that. I can only speculate on what I would’ve done in that same situation, it is easy to say I would’ve done the right thing, but who knows.

Now that restrictions are being eased, and Albertans are nearing Stage 3 as of writing this, the lockdown can look like a negative when noticing that the death rates were “lower then projected”. And part of the scrutiny that the WHO is receiving comes in part from the conspiracy that has surrounded them since their insurrection.

The grand scheme is the WHO wants to control people with a vaccine, and then subsequently kill those people in an effort to reduce the global population, and ultimately control the world. This is being enacted by the WHO, Bill Gates, George Soros, Anthony Faucci, and other federal leaders that are considered “left” on the political spectrum. The theory that these people and groups are combining forces to create a state of control is interesting, and that dialogue instills people with thoughts of oppression, and being herded into an authoritarian state. I also found the dialogue of those people that believe this theory unsettling, by saying to go out and fight for their rights and liberties, or to “troll” on those that are “asleep.” But my objection here is the knowhow of this theory. I have seen posts that list all manner of studies and references to read with regards to George Soros and Bill Gates, but the majority of those sources are dead ends or no longer exist. The double-edged sword to that is it fuels the conspiracy since, according to those theorists, globalists are silencing those people.

Recently, a city council occurred in the state of Florida, and it was an opportunity for citizens to discuss mask usage in the public. The people that did show up to talk were, suffice to say, evangelicals that used the words of God to justify the horrible nature of wearing masks. One woman said, “I am saddened that we are unable to breathe the way God intended.” My goodness, I didn’t realize wearing a mask meant you can no longer breathe, or that the mask is in fact duct tape that is halting any oxygen from entering our lungs. She continued by saying we are breathing in carbon dioxide the whole time and that the masks are killing people. It is one thing to voice concern, and it is another to be willfully stupid.

Another woman was screaming at the council, calling them all agents of the Devil and are committing the Devils work, committing crimes against humanity, questioning the education of the doctors, and made threats that God will punish them, and the people will use a “Citizen’s Arrest,” an act that, is in large, a very stupid thing to do. Are these people coming forward with facts? Of course, God says so. She continued by speaking about a conspiracy regarding the six feet rule being military protocol, and the distancing is a method to train people for when the 5G towers scan you…she didn’t elaborate, but I think she is referring to being documented if you have COVID-19. Questions for why George Soros, Bill Gates, and Hilary Clinton aren’t arrested despite being pedophiles was a big concern for her. She finished by saying they were all insane, and that they should all be admitted to a psyche ward. Hello pot, meet kettle.

Are these people “woke?” Is it free and critical thinking when the thoughts they have were substantiated by other people? If the moral compass of those people is righteous good, and they didn’t need influence to push them to these situations, then why have a group of support to reinforce these values? If you know and are absolute in your convictions, then who needs to talk with anyone for that matter, or convince people? If righteous anger is justified and proper in execution, then who needs a justice system and law and order? And if we all work for ourselves, then why bother building a community? If the “woke” people are the true followers, then why try to wake anyone else up? Of course, all those questions are generalizations and imply that we live in a world of black and white, when we really live in shades of grey.

Due diligence is also a consideration for the halt on production and the safety of the citizens. And when I say due diligence, I mean the safety of the politicians and those in power currently. To reduce fear and panic (ironic considering how the news have stoked fear), while also insuring they are not looked down upon for not doing anything to protect their citizens, even fear of becoming like the United States in how they handled the pandemic.

George Floyd’s death sparked renewed vigor in a cause that has been going on for decades. I find it interesting that the discussion of autonomy and freewill is continuing with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests. Dialogue like:

 “If people worked from their plight, they wouldn’t be in the situation they are in.”

“We all have our hardship, so suck it up.”

“You can choose to not feel that way you know.”

 “Other people in the same situation have worked their way out of those situations, so quit playing the victim.”

What is more startling is the constant use of psychological manipulation to distort the realities of the person expressing them. Gaslighting for instance – which is when a person lies or belittles another person’s perceived reality to take away from what they are doing – takes any responsibility away from them and thrusts it onto the person that is questioning them.

Semantics of who is oppressing who is important it seems, and the banner that is flung on high matters too. BLM reminds many people of the terrorism of the Black Panthers, and the actions of Malcolm X, and look at BLM as an attack against white people and Caucasians. A hair-raising trigger like the looting that happened, and the destruction of property has led those that oppose the protesting to conclude that they deserve what happens, and that destruction isn’t a way to move forward. My American history is a bit rusty, but I always thought everything they have gained has been fought over with war and death. It is the American way to shout and fight for your voice to be heard.

Malcolm X spoke about the oppressors and who they were, and he felt the white man and the government were evil with their refusal to acknowledge a black person’s right to life in the States. The words he said were ones people did not like to hear, and the hatred continued, if not, increased with his words. When people deny a reality for one person, instead of acknowledging it, anger ensues, and people will fight to the bitter end for a righteous belief.

Those that oppose BLM also have theories of their own. I saw a post about George Floyd being a porno actor that was hired as a sacrifice to start a race war, and the cops that killed him are actors as well. A claim of Derek Chavan being an actor comes from a documentary show where he appeared in the credits as not an actor, but himself. ANTIFA acting as the looters and disrupting the peace by laying out bricks for the protestors at the time, along with George Soros himself funding ANTIFA, even though ANTIFA and BLM aren’t working together, nor are the same.

Going back to Malcolm X, what is interesting is the similarity with his words and those of the QAnon group and other cults. Hatred, divisive tactics, acknowledgment of rough and bad times, and action to do something about it. I don’t think there is one or the other, they are saying the same things (though you can argue one had an actual reason to fight). Whether those in the shadows are inciting black people into hating white people or vice-versa, or those in power are keeping black people and minorities oppressed so they can continue to exploit them for capitalistic gain, that is irrelevant because when one says the other, it is a call to hate, which keeps people’s ideals segregated.

The consideration of the police and their goodness is largely contradictory because police are a state sponsored institution. The book Animal Farm, also written by George Orwell, shows the police as dogs because they obey without question, and will do the vilest of things if need be, so long as the government says so. While you cannot argue that there is a goodness that comes from the protection of the police, and we would not be able to live the lives we want without them, the evidence doesn’t seem to indicate that the protection the police provides is equal. Killer Mike spoke about BLM on Real Talk with Bill Mahr, and during their talk, he voiced his support for the second amendment, and it came from the fact the police won’t protect him or his family. I truly never thought of that till he said that. The many stories told over decades of discrimination and accusations of criminal intent from Black people and POC suggest there may not be an equal level of protection in the United States, and in Canada.

However, the thing to consider is the brutality by the police isn’t exclusive to black people and POC. Considering that deaths by police in the United States is around 1000 a year, it is harrowing to know that some police officers have been getting away with murder for decades.

One important thing to consider is how difficult it is to be a cop. When I was a cook, I would get frustrated when a customer complained about a steak being rarer than they wanted, imagine the possibility of dealing with a potential killer or psychopath on the daily. The discussion of increased police training and more psyche evaluations with the hiring of police is an important one to have because it only helps and furthers our society. But abolishing the police? Let’s be real for a second; the freedom to do as we will is largely in part because we have people protecting us. With that said, it has become evident that this protection is cherry picked with the many stories that Caucasians and white people have been sharing, and the stories of POC and black people have been sharing too. But to abolish the police is asking for anarchy, and a wild west style of living.

Another thing that has turned some people off from the idea is the name, “Defund the Police.” What a repudiated, asinine name. How about “Hold the Police Accountable” or “Police, Play Fair” or “Retrain the Police.” Heck, how about “Cut it out Police.” Anything is better than “Defund the Police,” as the name is why there are many detractors to this cause. The fact that there are many people posting and explaining what “Defund the Police” actually means, should tell you how bonkers such a name is.

However, the argument I presented is cause and justification to oppose the name “Black Lives Matter,” and willfully misunderstanding a stance after being told what it means is problematic since it means there was no consideration for listening and understanding. And that argument is a large reason why “Defund the Police” isn’t an objectionable name to me anymore. Knowing what it means now has given me great perspective and is something to consider if you find yourself questioning the flags of these causes. That kind of thinking is in line with QAnon in how they jump to conclusions on your knowledge when asking a question.

QAnon is a group started by the infamous figure called “Q”, has been growing in popularity since 2017. QAnon represents liberty and freedom for Americans and tries to distort the views of the democratic left, and other left leaning institutions. It even admonishes any form of public media as “fake news,” and encourages any followers to be the news instead by posting pictures that contain theories and questions that oppose the mainstream media. The site that Q posts his information on contains fear mongering of reduced freedoms, along with affirmation that the info they are reading is for the good of the United States. QAnon contains similarities with a cult, religious institutions, or a totalitarian governments form of propaganda, like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. Reinforcement of ideals through propaganda, continued rhetoric of a perceived enemy that must be eradicated (George Soros), knowledge of truth and goodness that comes from the knowledge of these posts, hatred and reinforcing of said hate towards “fake news”, and the coup de grace: zero tolerance for outside knowledge or questioning (which makes dialogue and questions a dangerous assumption), propel their base of support to fight. Q even throws in the words of the Bible at times, which feeds into this religious fanaticism. The American truth and ideal seems to also carry these traits, and, ironically, they both stand for unity. But under what banner does that unity stem from?

Division is a common device used by people of the QAnon belief system and is a large part of their argument against mainstream media. The death of George Floyd on the 29th of May, sparked an outrage that trailed into protests, looting, and destruction of private and public property. While unfortunate in the damage to small businesses and people’s homes, the cause for the outrage was fueled by the deep seeded racial inequality that has plagued the United States.

However, the opposition towards the BLM movement has been hitting hard and fast, with decries of division and racism, since a declaration of racial difference is the actual racist thing to do, instead of recognizing that the only race we are is human. The flag that is waved by those shouting “All lives matter,” is the true beacon of hope and unity, at least in their eyes.

One of the most common forms of dialogue is the hatred of division, and actions leading to division. BLM has been a rallying cry for people around the world, with a lot of people of various backgrounds having joined in with this cry for inclusion and unity, along with the reform of the police and justice system. And considering the history of the United States, it is hard to deny the freedoms that they have were the result of slavery, murder, war, and hatred. Of course, that is a horrifying reality, so values such as freedom, liberty, virtues of the bible, and equality are given larger voices, with the latter making the rounds once every decade it seems.

When protesting and rioting started in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death went viral, the dialogue that was being pushed by right-wing media streams was the destruction of property and the looting of businesses. And the virtue being thrust onto their platform was stealing is wrong, and looting is wrong, and destruction of private property is wrong, and that escalated the fear of chaos from these protests. The reality is those things are indeed wrong, on a legal standpoint, religious standpoint, and on a moral compass too. However, like I expressed earlier, is everything black and white? When videos of a shop owner being assaulted, cops being assaulted and killed, peaceful protestors getting attacked by the police, some being killed even, it reminded me of the time I asked my grandma “Corazon”, about the civil war in El Salvador. I asked her who was right, and who did she want to win the war? She did not care who won, the deaths of civilians were being enacted by both the FMLN and the government, so they were both doing much harm. The thing with a clash of beliefs is there isn’t much room for discourse because both sides of the argument think they are righteous in their actions. I think the tragedy of the fighting is that they are both right on certain points. Can two rights make a more unified society, or are we doomed to repeat history and kill each other?

I would not be thinking of war or killing of those that don’t believe in your perspective a year ago, but with these conflicting beliefs and dialogues, and the refusal to understand the different perspectives, I am afraid, for once, that this will turn out ugly. The anxiety of the lockdown, and the ease of communal inclusivity has made it all the easier to, “stick with your tribe,” and dismiss anything that is different. Ironically enough, the technology that was supposed to unite us and bring us together has, in fact, separated us and divided us into these little pockets. And it also makes for convincing dialogue, and manipulation of beliefs, or heck, following a cult.

The agenda of QAnon is to divide the American people into civil unrest through fear, manipulation, and biblical indignation. The reason for this is because the people that are crying foul are the ones crying division and racism, and considering the content that Q provides on the daily regarding opposition of democratic or liberal policy, the narrative can only be conclusive on their divisive tactics. Or, if he is thinking like Big Brother, unifying tactics.

The facts and knowledge these same people hold are righteous and true, and no other form of data can change their minds. Why is that? I think the “Goldstein effect” is why.

Emmanuel Goldstein is the subject of the “Two-minute hate” in 1984, and is the leader to “The Brotherhood,” an opposing rebel group that fights against the party and Big Brother. Everyday at 11:00 am, the people gather around the main plaza which houses a telescreen, and watch Emmanuel Goldstein speak against Big Brother and the party, which is the fuel that ignites their hatred. The people shout and scream obscenities with all their rage. They throw bricks and sticks at the screen and let their anger boil over. Their anger consumes them for a brief time, and for a moment, lose their status as the high-functioning party members they are supposed to be. They are unified in their collected hatred for Goldstein without thinking that he might be dead, or that he may not exist at all.

The “Goldstein” effect, named after the character from 1984, is a figure that is real or is fabricated by the media or the government, and is used to unite the country in a common enemy. When Donald Trump took office in 2016, he declared that all the mainstream media outlets were “Fake news”, and created an Emmanuel Goldstein for his party and supporters, which fed into QAnon’s belief system. News outlets like CNN and MSNBC show Donald Trump at his worst, and only highlight his wrongdoings and misgivings, while rarely mentioning any good he has done for the USA. George Soros is a man that has been targeted by QAnon as a “Goldstein” to attack, and uses his status as a wealthy, old, white man to fuel this narrative, as global elites are their subjects of rage and jealousy since they hold a large percentage of the global wealth. Osama Bin Laden is another example of a Goldstein during the Bush and Obama administrations respectively, with the latter being the one to officiate the takedown and death of Bin Laden. Hilary Clinton was also attacked heavily by the American Republican party, and Justin Trudeau is also a Goldstein for the Conservatives as a number of right-wing conspiracy channels on YouTube feature things he has done to support communism and socialist idealogues, and globalization of corporations and shadow governments, which is ironic considering the value of wealth and autonomy that can be greatly achieved through capitalism.

Why is there a need to be represented by one party or the other? And why is there a great need to associate a value with a political party, or ideologue?

The two party system of the United States is exactly why there is civil discourse, and people like Donald Trump continue to create ideas of hatred and separation by implying the Democrats only care to ruin the lives of Americans, and news outlets like CNN only attack Donald Trump’s wrongdoings, creating a unified hatred to those that are typically left-leaning. Whether Donald Trump is telling the truth or not is irrelevant, because what is important is the unification and continued morale of the country he is responsible for. Think of a business: if your employer reminds you that certain people that work for them are only halting progress, and reminds you that they are making things harder for you, how would you respond? How exactly would we as people truly act in those situations? From my experience, employers and business owners (some) have used an outside force as reason to convince their employees of any change or wrongdoing in their company, rather then admit they may of made a error by not saving money for a rainy day and over spending, or hiring incompetent people, or anything that involves them. I find it irresponsible, and I know other employees would feel the same, and it is why the American President, Donald Trump, is irresponsible with his lack of ownership in anything that happens under his watch.  

Looting and killing is wrong, and nothing, to me, can justify its actions. You could of watched your mother get murdered, and you may feel a righteous anger fill your body as you want to go on a rampage of death to those that caused it, I would still say two wrongs don’t make a right, but alas, like I said previously, how will I know unless I find myself in that situation. With that aside, a leader must find out why his own people are doing these things, and find the difference between those that are doing so, and those that are asking for change. While a bad apple causes a batch to go bad, you can always distinguish it to save the others, which is something I think many people forget about. What I have seen with all this hatred and disgust for the BLM movement is the generalization of it, and the labeling of everyone that participates in the protests as thugs and criminals, especially when there has been a perceived notion of black people being criminals in the past up till now, especially on film and television over the years. What appears to be a lamenting of death and destruction, is an excuse to continue the rhetoric of black people deserving to be disenfranchised or deserving of the scorn that is rooted in the stereotypes that have been bestowed on them.

The distortion of news is shaping the belief systems behind the respective Liberal and Conservative ideologies. Take the protesting for example: Fox News went on a tangent of reporting destruction, looting, and killing of American citizens, while calling these people terrorists and plagues on their society. CNN and MSNBC have reported heavily on the deaths of black people by cops, and the disparity between black people and white people, which only continues the separation of those two groups of color, when integration is what we all want ultimately. Narratives that focus on the generalizing of destruction, or separation, or ill-willed values on the United States constitution are rampant, and feverish with much disdain towards those that the reports are implying are unworthy of trust. All these groups are doing is attacking one another and creating this divide, despite being two sides of the same coin.

Winston Smith’s end was a sad one, but it is also a warning about the information we receive, along with decries against a totalitarian state. While those QAnon believers think they are righteous and claim the mainstream are passing false information to make people subservient, QAnon could be doing the exact same thing. QAnon is O’Brian, and the people that believe in Q are Winston Smith, and are only becoming indoctrinated to sow division. This isn’t to suggest what those theories are saying are false, after all, the book Winston is reading is a truth of sorts, like a villain in a film reveling his scheme to the protagonist because they think they have won. A lot of the theories are ludicrous, but to think that billionaires aren’t trying to gain control in government is naïve at best. George Grant, a Canadian philosopher, has said that capitalism is what will lead Canada into a state that no longer exists, except through the guise of corporations running the show. And in some way, he is right. Lobbyists in Canadian parliament run the show at times, same with the American senate. If it weren’t for those lobbyists, obesity wouldn’t be as big a problem as it has become.

What I am saying is don’t trust anyone.

I am kidding, I think. In truth, we can only succeed if we trust our fellow humans. The thought process of QAnon and other theorists is the cohesion of those they oppose are that we cannot trust those around us and in positions of authority. But we need to be able to trust at some point. If we never trust what is going on, then what alternative do we have? Live out in the mountains, or by a lake, in a cabin sipping tea while smelling the dew from the rain that occurred over night? Actually, that sounds sweet, sign me up.

To live with distrust and hate that everyone is out to get you is, more or less, the attitude to have. Maybe I am naïve, but I will choose to trust those around me, just not blindly, and especially when anger, division and hatred are on the banner flung on high.

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