In 1984, George Orwell told a cautionary tale about a dystopian society led by the tyrannical figurehead “Big Brother.” Though the English author published his novel in 1949, there are some uneasy parallels with Donald Trump’s campaign, according to Libertarian vice presidential candidate Bill Weld.
“Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room,” Weld read from 1984. “In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the top of their voices.”
“The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate ... was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in,” he continued. “And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.”
In the book, members of the ruling party must gather each day for the “Two Minutes Hate” directed at the enemy. Seem familiar? Weld, running mate of Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson and a former Massachusetts governor, certainly thinks so.
“Sound like a Trump rally?” he asked. “Welcome to Donald Trump’s America, everybody.”
Trump has been criticized for stirring up anger and inciting violence at his rallies. At a rally in Phoenix on Saturday, a Trump supporter chanted “Jew S. A.” at reporters. Last month, a man outside a rally in Pennsylvania swatted a reporter’s microphone out of her hands. At a September rally in North Carolina, a man slapped multiple protesters.
“I think his whole campaign has been full of dog whistles and stirring up envy and resentment and, not too strong a word, hatred,” Weld said. “I think the most important thing for the country is that Donald Trump not be elected president.”
Weld isn’t the first to draw parallels between Orwell’s short novel and the present. Though the book is simple enough to appear on most high schoolers’ required reading lists, it’s frequently been used to critique contemporary politics and widespread surveillance.
In 2009, for the 60th anniversary of the book’s publication, English author Robert Harris told the Independent that he thinks 1984 is “the most influential book ever written, and so you could say the greatest book ever written.”
“It made political ideas exciting ― it highlighted the way human nature can impose itself on politics,” he said.
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