We Have Always been at War with Eastasia

March 31, 2020

Paul Krugman in the New York Times (from email – link when available):

It’s hard to feel any sympathy for Trish Regan, the Fox News host who was fired after a rant in which she called the coronavirus “yet another attempt to impeach the president.” We may never know how many Fox viewers became gravely ill or died because they ignored social distancing in response to people like Regan, who told them that the pandemic was a politically motivated hoax. But the number was surely significant.

The twist in the Regan story, however, is that what she said wasn’t significantly different from what her whole network had been saying for weeks. Her career-killing mistake wasn’t saying something false and evil, it was her timing. She apparently missed the abrupt turn in the party line by a few hours.

For Regan’s rant came just after Fox and right-wing media in general suddenly changed their line from “the pandemic is a liberal hoax” to “everyone must unify behind our great leader in his heroic struggle against the Chinese virus.” And for some reason Regan didn’t get the memo.

Actually, Regan wasn’t the only person who didn’t get the memo. A number of people on the religious right are still sticking with the virus-as-hoax story, notably Jerry Falwell Jr., who defied public health experts by reopening Liberty University — and promptly created his own personal virus hot spot. But most leading figures on the right have swerved on command.

Needless to say, the mounting coronavirus death toll hasn’t produced any apologies from pundits who previously claimed that the virus was a hoax, let alone admissions that the terrible, horrible, no-good mainstream media were actually giving accurate information. Perhaps more surprisingly, as far as I know there haven’t been any howls of protest from Fox viewers, or Rush Limbaugh listeners, who are now being told something completely different from what they were hearing three weeks ago. Their trust in Fox, their disdain for The New York Times and The Washington Post, and, above all, their faith in Donald Trump are apparently unshaken.

The parallels with George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” are obvious. When Oceania suddenly shifts alliances, and its former ally Eastasia becomes an enemy, everyone knows what to believe: not only was the nation at war with Eastasia, it had always been at war with Eastasia. In Orwell’s vision, however, this mind-set was produced by a totalitarian state whose vigilant Thought Police stamp out any hint of independent thought. America isn’t a totalitarian state — not yet, anyway — yet there are tens of millions of American apparently willing to act and think as if the Thought Police were already up and running.

Orwell wrote a great essay a few years before “Nineteen Eighty-Four” titled “Looking Back on the Spanish War.” In it he wrote of his vision of a “nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, ‘It never happened’ — well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five — well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs.

Well, a lot of Americans evidently already live in that nightmare world. And that scares me more than Covid-19.


17 Responses to “We Have Always been at War with Eastasia”

  1. Douglas Cotton Says:

    The US $10,000 reward for the first to prove the “heat creep” process (as in my 2013 paper) does not happen and to produce a counter study to mine that showed water vapor cooling the surface has been extended to mid June 2020 as still nobody has qualified since 2013.

    You do not qualify if there’s no physics in your response: no refutation of even one of the seven ways to prove AGW wrong in my recent article “Cogent and irrefutable reasons why carbon dioxide cannot warm Earth” and you have never published a refutation of my 2013 paper, and nor has anyone else. All my six papers are now on Researchgate* and any attempted refutation will only be considered (and proven wrong) if published on Researchgate. I will not be wasting time arguing with individuals all over the internet. Instead I will ONLY respond to an attempted refutation of Loschmidt’s gravito-thermal effect (published in 1873) and my 2013 paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” that is published on Researchgate, LinkedIn and SSRN and explains my world-first discovery of the “heat creep” process observed in all planetary tropospheres and being a direct result of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Draw my attention to such an attempted refutation if you write one or find any such attempt by others. Science is determined by evidence that proves a false hypothesis to be wrong (as Einstein pointed out) not by authority, or by editors or by peer-review. * https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Douglas_Cotton/research

  2. doldrom Says:

    Well yes, but too partisan.

    Pelosi encouraged visiting Chinatown, the health commissioner in NYC encouraged everybody to go out and use the subway, and there are sufficient other luminaries who executed a faux pas on this score.

    • Bryson Brown Says:

      Yes indeed, there are other idiots out there when it comes to serious medical issues. But some are capable of learning, while Trump is in a league of his own. He and his acolytes turned on a dime, from ‘no worries’ to ‘get back to normal by Easter’ to ‘I’m the heroic leader who will fix this terrible problem (somehow or other)’ while continuing to spread nonsense: ‘good feelings’ about dangerous drugs that haven’t been tested, trumpeting his brilliant success despite the weeks he spent ignoring and denying, and now working to sell 100-250K deaths as a triumph. The US is now leading, alright– leading in cases and deaths, and set to maintain that lead for a long while. Even as the federal system was blinking red, Trump tried to keep the reported numbers down, and his idiot advisors (well selected for sycophancy and personal greed) continued and continue to flatter the mad king.

    • Tu Quoque fallacy

      You lose, thank you for playing

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Pelosi encouraged visiting Chinatown…

      While I personally loathe Pelosi, the context of her encouraging people to visit Chinatown in late February was a popular fear and bigotry that Chinese in America were significantly more likely to have the virus than other neighborhoods, so people avoided it more than they would have avoided, say, an Italian or Greek neighborhood.

      The joke I remember about the NYC health commissioners (by Seth Meyers?) was that people were still packing onto subways (January 26) at the time he announced it, and if anything, were far from panicking.

      While many non-Trumpists were underestimating the problem of the virus, none were saying it was a hoax or deliberately exaggerated for political reasons. Both the Fox/Breitbart/AlexJones axis and Trump’s evangelical fanbois echoed the line that the rest of the media’s warnings about the virus were fake news being used by Trump’s enemies to undermine him.

  3. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    The fact that a significant percentage of the population can be so easily manipulated really really scares the crap out of me.

    • indy222 Says:

      1000% correct, Paul Krugman, and thanks for posting this Peter.

      Brent – I’ve had to tell so many people who want to remind me that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in ’16, that that is no comfort at all. There is NO WAY that a psychopath and narcissistic chronic liar, and all around odious presence on the TV screen like Trump, should have won any more than 1-2% of the lunatic fringe. The fact that he’s riding at his highest popularity after what we’ve seen, absolutely astounds me, and all should take a 2nd, 3rd and 4th look at the true nature of Homo Sapiens that such should be possible. The human genome has made zero evolutionary progress since the Crusades, since the Salem Witch trials, since Adolf Hitler’s Germany. Science is actually only honored by the masses for one thing – producing more BLING, or flag-planting on other planets, to help fragile ego’s convince themselves they’re better than anyone else. Knowledge as spiritual celebration, is foreign to them.

      • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

        ‘to help fragile ego’s convince themselves they’re better than anyone else.’ In a nutshell!
        Requesting ideas, suggestions, what to do about it.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      I’ve been scared for the last 40 years—-ever since the “manipulation” began. Trump is just the latest chapter in a long story.

  4. Gingerbaker Says:

    “Well yes, but too partisan.

    Pelosi encouraged visiting Chinatown, the health commissioner in NYC encouraged everybody to go out and use the subway, and there are sufficient other luminaries who executed a faux pas on this score.”

    The old “They are all just as bad” ploy?

    Here is a brief little rundown on just how colossal and multi-faceted is the ****- up by the Orange Menace , the only guy in government who has the real responsibility to protect America from Covid:

  5. Gingerbaker Says:

    Sorry, here is the video:

  6. Gingerbaker Says:

    try again :

    of just google:

    “How Donald Trump’s Disgraceful Coronavirus Failures Resulted In Thousands of Unnecessary U.S. Deaths”

  7. neilrieck Says:

    IMHO, strong political opinions are associated with people who do not think. Now checkout this video from Hadfield

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Excellent rundown of the timeline of the fiasco. Some very revealing graphs in the last minute—if you don’t watch the whole thing, jump head and look at them.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      For the record, Hadfield is his meatspace name. His real name is potholer54.

      • neilrieck Says:

        Just my way of trying to convert the internet from nom-de-plumes to real names (IMHO this would make the internet a whole lot more civilized since people wouldn’t be hiding behind fake names. For the record, Peter Hadfield posts to youtube as potholer54 whist Phil Mason posts as thunderf00t)

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