At this moment, for example, in 1984 (if it was 1984), Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.
The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. ‘Reality control’, they called it: in Newspeak, ‘doublethink’.
First of all let me confess that I am a card carrying Republican. Granted, that is only because I vote in Florida, and to be able to vote in the Republican primary last year I had to switch my “I” to an “R.”
But long before I was affiliated with the Grand Old Party, I was a fiscal conservative. I care about the financial health of my country, and I object to reckless borrowing and deficit spending. So I raged against the Republican spendthrifts who wrecked our economy over the last eight years, and put us $5 trillion deeper in debt. But I was lonely. It seemed there just weren’t many of us anymore.
As the Bush administration mercifully drew to a close, the borrowing and spending orgy intensified. Mr. Bush and his evil sidekick Hank Paulson orchestrated a “stimulus” plan that was nothing more than mailing out 168 billion borrowed dollars, in $600 checks. At the time it was probably the single stupidest economic decision our country has ever made. George McGovern was no doubt chuckling, remembering how his ludicrous suggestion to mail out $100 checks in 1972 had been universally derided by folks with functioning brains.
But the Bush “stimulus” was only the beginning. After the moronic mass mailout of checks came the Bear Stearns bailout, the AIG bailout, the Fannie/Freddie bailout, the Detroit bailout, and the so-called TARP bailout. Meanwhile the Federal Reserve was gleefully exchanging taxpayer money for “toxic assets”being held by irresponsible financial institutions, loading its balance sheet with so-called mortgage-backed intruments that no right-thinking person on the planet would have. In fact, so much corporate welfare was being doled out in the closing months of the Bush adminstration that we almost forgot the fiscal horrors of the Pill Bill, No Child Left Behind, and the so-called “war” in Iraq. The few voices calling for fiscal restraint couldn’t be heard over the noise of all the pigs at the trough.
Then something truly amazing happened. All of a sudden Republicans, who had been cheerleading for megagovernment waste and borrowing for the last eight years, discovered that gambling was occuring in Rick’s American Cafe. And they were horrified. A veritable parade of indignant Republicans began to appear on the talk shows and the nightly news protesting government borrowing and spending. They began to quote Hayek and Von Mises.
What had happened? What miracle had struck them all simultaneously? Who was responsible for leading all these men, who had spent the last eight years driving our country into bankruptcy, to repentance?
It seems that having a donkey in the White House made all the elephants conservative again. As one pundit put it, “If it took the election of a Democrat president to make Republicans conservative again, then that is change I can believe in.”
Of course the Republican party’s incompetence over the last eight years means that there are now so few of them in Congress that they can’t actually accomplish anything. All their fiscal protesting is just impotent braying at the wind.
And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that many on the donkey team insisted during the last election cycle that fiscal conservatives should vote Democrat. After all, the Clinton administration ran budget surpluses while the Bush administration bankrupted us. A nice little bait and switch for anyone who fell for it. The way the Obama administration is going, we may be all soon wishing for the good old days of the Bush era.
But as for the newly discovered fiscal conservatism of the GOP, let those who us who have not succumbed to Reality Control and doublethink recall that only a few months ago Oceania was in alliance with Eurasia. We know that Oceania has NOT always been at war with Eurasia.