President Barack Obama and outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have both tried to nudge their way into America’s Thanksgiving (or Thanksgivukkah) dinners, with talking points about Obamacare and gun control, respectively. Not only is introducing contentious political issues into a family holiday a recipe for unhappiness, but it also reflects the disturbing Orwellian ambitions of Obama’s big-government liberalism.
The idea that politics must be brought into every family discussion and every personal relationship has been a hallmark of Obama’s style since the 2008 campaign, when he told his supporters to confront their neighbors, to get “in their face.” During the debate over Obamacare in 2009-10, the White House did the same–and provided an email address, email@example.com, to which people could report “lies” among their friends.
One of those “lies” was that people could lose their insurance coverage due to the new law–a “lie” that has since proven true for millions of Americans. Clearly, Obama’s talking points have a short shelf life. Yet he remains undeterred, as are many of his followers, in imposing politics on intimacy. In 2009, supporters of Obamacare even encouraged each other to withhold sex from partners who did not support passage of the troubled law.
The great insight of George Orwell’s novel of totalitarianism, Nineteen Eighty-Four, was not that it exposed the brainwashing necessary for that system to function. That had been done already in Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, a chilling insight into the way that communism convinced its victims to confess to crimes they had not committed, to embrace and even look forward to their deaths as a form of love for the party’s ideals.
Orwell extended Koestler’s theme in Nineteen Eighty-Four with the invention of the propaganda language “Newspeak,” and the torture scenes in Room 101. Yet his unique contribution was to show that totalitarianism was not just focused on repressing the individual, but on interfering with the most intimate relationships between people. It is necessary, Orwell explained, to destroy such intimacy in order for Big Brother to rule.
That is the Orwellian world of nanny-state liberals like Obama and Bloomberg–the latter even using children’s placemats to sell his anti-gun ideology. It is worth remembering that Thanksgiving was founded as a celebration of freedom by those who had escaped government repression. They recognized that the bounty of the New World went hand-in-hand with faith and liberty–something our present would-be masters have forgotten.