We Are The Proles
The farther we slide down into the mishmash of tyranny and idiocracy that is modern day America, the more I appreciate George Orwell’s 1984. Orwell’s proles represented some 85% of the population of Oceania, which roughly approximates the 80% or so of Americans today who must lose if those at the top are to keep winning. That’s how a casino-style economy works.
“If there is hope,” Winston Smith, the protagonist of 1984, wrote, “it lies in the proles.” Orwell keenly predicted what has become ironclad reality in our modern world, when he described these masses as engaging in “petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer, and, above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds.” The only thing he didn’t foresee was reality television shows and social media.
Orwell’s proles are identical to those we self-proclaimed “awake” types like to dismiss as “asleep” sheeple. Orwell again perfectly defined the majority of today’s Americans when he wrote, “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” As I’ve said, while more people are gradually waking up to the tyranny and corruption all around them, the ones who are asleep are digging their feet in and prescribing themselves figurative tranquilizers.
Orwell recognized that the proles had the numbers, and the power, to easily stop Big Brother and his party of followers. Obviously, the 80% of those who are unemployed, underemployed, and living paycheck to paycheck have that potential in America today. But we can’t even organize a simple boycott on buying gas, for instance, on a single given day. That would send a powerful message, and put no one in danger, and yet it’s incredibly difficult to get people to come together for anything. This is why all riots and demonstrations are so suspect to many of us.
Americans today probably have the worst “representation” politically of any alleged free nation in the history of the world. This was demonstrated clearly in 2008, when well over 90% of the population in every poll was against the banker bailout, yet our only two “choices” for president, and the congressional leaders in both “opposing” parties heartily supported it. With their 90% plus re-election rate, you’d think our political leaders were world-class, and yet the same public that keeps allegedly returning them to office tells pollsters they have a less than 10% approval rating.
Even before 1984 was published, Harry Truman and other American leaders rationalized the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by claiming they were saving lives. Years later, Ronald Reagan’s administration named one of its deadly new missiles “the peace keeper.” Orwell’s Newspeak and Doublethink are an established part of American culture now. Affirmative Action stops discrimination by discriminating. The children of illegal immigrants are “dreamers.” The wealthy are “job creators.” The list is endless.
Orwell’s “memory hole” is a part of our lexicon. So are his “thought police,” which are all but a literal reality at this point. How far is the American concept of “hate crime” from “thought crime?” How far are the telescreens which monitored every movement in Oceania from the surveillance cameras we find everywhere now in America? Well, except at the Pentagon on 9/11, or Sandy Hook, or most any other recent high profile shooting.
The word proles is short for proletariat. It’s illuminating to consider that communists, while ostensibly siding with the everyday prole, directed their ire at the petty bourgeoisie, representing the middle class. There appears to be no such derisive term in the Marxist vocabulary to describe the very wealthy. This is almost certainly why both the communists and socialists hated Huey Long. They didn’t want to take the wealth from where it exists; within the ranks of the One Percent. Instead, they wanted to squeeze out the once vibrant American middle class.
George Orwell, like Huey Long, would be mortified at today’s “left.” He lampooned the behavior that fuels the social justice warriors. Huey Long would not have understood the importance of tearing down confederate statues or firing people for offending someone of a particular group or persuasion. Orwell would shake his head at America’s perpetual wars, and how much they mirror his fictional state of Oceania’s foreign policy.
The tyranny we are saddled with, like the tyranny in Oceania, is not typical totalitarianism. Today’s American culture has shifted dramatically to the left, resulting in thirty seven different genders and “racist” brown paper bags. But these same Americans are cool with capital punishment, even though Project Innocence and other groups have shown just how often the wrongfully accused are convicted.
And the social justice warriors are perfectly okay with America’s “bipartisan” foreign policy, which results in all-war, all the time. Very few protest the size of the gargantuan military industrial complex, complete with still top-secret intelligence agency budgets. While no one on the left or right seems concerned with truly helping poor American citizens, the pussy hats are ready to turn violent over the “dreamers” and the rights of illegal immigrants.
Today’s America is a mess; a monstrous bureaucracy that consumes taxes at a socialist nanny state-rate, without any corresponding benefits for the masses that finance it. While CEOs gobble up bonuses and perks at record levels each year, our infrastructure is on life support, with roads, bridges and power grids that have not been updated or upgraded in decades. Not only do we have Third World-style wealth distribution, we have Third World-style infrastructure.
While our Medical Industrial Complex has resulted in the most bloated, expensive healthcare system the world has ever known, America has Third World-level life expectancy and infant mortality rates. Our diets, spurred on by GMO products which our leaders refuse to even have labeled on the products that use them, have produced an America that is becoming increasingly obese. The average American woman now weighs over 166 pounds, which is what an average man weighed in the 1960s. The average male is about thirty pounds heavier now than he was fifty years ago, weighing in at close to 200 pounds. The average woman now wears a size 16, and the average man’s waist is about 40 inches.
Most people now, especially the young, are totally immersed in their smart phones and the cyber world in general. With this detachment from reality, and the very visible physical byproduct of bad diets, too many prescriptions and lack of exercise, it’s obvious that it will be very hard to ever wake this group of proles up. Even if they could ever realize that they are being controlled and screwed over, the state of their conditioning would probably make any revolt impossible. Even Orwell didn’t predict such a massive average weight gain for his proles.
I often speak about how, as recently as the 1970s, the average American had much greater personal liberty. We have lost so much of our freedom in the decades since then, that it’s hard to even make younger Americans comprehend it. But like the masses in Orwell’s 1984, the majority today just simply shrug it off.
By the late 1970s, I was already protesting, and using the talking point that 1984 was already here, ahead of schedule. In my fiery, youthful fervor, I couldn’t possibly have imagined just how far we would sink in less than forty years. While Trump is a plausible Goldstein, we don’t need a literal Big Brother.
A slightly different 1984 is here. We are the proles.