The Ministry of Truth in 2017

[quoted from Wikipedia]
1984 is a dystopian novel published in 1949 by English author George Orwell. The novel is set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation.

The principle theme of the story suggests:

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

I was required to read this book in high school. At the time, omnipresent government surveillance seemed like an improbable futuristic nightmare. Now I see surveillance cameras on most buildings, and above every single traffic light. Television sets now have cameras and microphones that can watch and listen to everything that happens in your home, even when the set is turned off. Public manipulation is running rampant in our society under the pretext of advertising. I purchased something with my credit card, and an hour later my Google search showed advertising for those products in the margins of the window. Many gas stations now have pumps with small televisions that nag you to buy while you're fueling your car. And watching the news for a few consecutive days should convince you that the world is in a perpetual war. Don't look now, but 1984 is already here.

In the book, The Ministry of Truth is responsible for editing historical records to exactly match the lies currently being told by the government. Newspaper reports show that Oceania used to be at war with Eurasia, when the country is now at war with Eastasia. To prevent anyone from recognizing the shift, "reporters" search for and edit old newspaper accounts to indicate that Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Literally changing the historical record. Of course, changing the historical record does not change what actually happened. There are some Dallas residents who are blissfully unaware of this. Several days ago I watched a television news report that showed workers removing a statue of Robert E. Lee that has been displayed in Dallas for eighty years. Removing the statue will not erase the fact that slavery existed. The anger and hostility that drives this obsession to eliminate any evidence of the "Civil War" is based on the implication that all blacks were slaves, and all whites were slave owners. This is demonstrably false. Not only that, but none of the blacks alive today were ever slaves, and none of the whites living today were ever slave owners. We also tend to overlook the fact that most (if not all) of the slaves captured in Africa were captured by blacks, and that many black freemen during this period also owned slaves.

Can we at least agree on one thing? ALL SLAVERY IS EVIL!

When I teach my class on the Constitution, I often surprise people by pointing out that the document is not perfect. (Go figure!) I specifically emphasize the clause that counts slaves as "three fifths of a person" for the purpose of calculating southern participation in Congress. When people get upset by this fact, they are reacting as if blacks lost two fifths of their personhood. Nonsense! That clause RAISES their status by sixty percent! I'm not saying this is acceptable at all, I'm simply pointing out that the number is moving in the right direction. Many of the founding fathers were struggling to end slavery. That fact should be highly commended. Instead, they are demonized for not being 100% successful right out of the gate.

Now there is talk about removing statues of Thomas Jefferson! In a protest rally at the University of Virginia - an institution founded and funded by Thomas Jefferson - a statue of our greatest president was covered in a black tarp, and signs that said RACIST and RAPIST were attached. Are you freakin' kidding me?! This is conclusive evidence that the people who think they are so righteous in their condemnation don't know shit about their American history! Jefferson was the principle author of "The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America" (the actual title). In his draft version of that document he states:
We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independant, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness.

He is also the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights which states:
SECTION I. That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

He also said:
"Slavery is an abomination and must be loudly proclaimed as such, but I own that I nor any other man has any immediate solution to the problem."

However, Jefferson's actions speak even louder than his words. Jefferson's father-in-law fathered a child with one of his slaves. A young girl named Sally Hemmings. Sally was mulatto, and stunningly beautiful by all accounts. Hence, her nickname was "Dashing Sally". In an effort to hide his infidelity, Sally and her mother were given to Jefferson when he married Martha Wayles Skelton. When Jefferson's wife died, Jefferson blamed himself, believing that his extended participation in politics was the root cause. Jefferson was given the task of replacing Benjamin Franklin as our ambassador in France. This is where Jefferson was when the Constitution was written and adopted. Many erroneously believe that Jefferson was instrumental in writing the Constitution, but even those who claim to be passionate patriots have a limited understanding of history. Eventually Jefferson sent for his youngest daughter to join him in France. Sally Hemmings was assigned the task of supervising the young girl during the trip. Once Sally set foot in France, she was technically a free woman. She could have disappeared and begun a new life for herself in a society that openly accepted people of any color. Instead, she agreed to return to Monticello with Jefferson, and to live as his partner and official woman of the house. They had six children together, four of whom survived to maturity. Do these sound like the actions of a man who enthusiastically supported slavery? Thomas Jefferson should be the poster child for positive race relations. He may not have been the first person in an inter-racial marriage, but he is probably the most famous. And this at a time when society was openly hostile to such relationships. To label Jefferson a rapist is an insult of extreme proportions. That label is far more appropriate for Bill Cosby... or am I a racist for even suggesting it?

I do not hate people because they are black. I don't hate anybody because of the color of their skin. I do openly disdain people because of they are ignorant and/or violent. I feel the same way about the KKK as I do about the members and supporters of ISIS. There are stupid and evil people in every race and subset of the population, and I hold all of them in equal contempt. There are also intelligent and honorable people in every race and subset of the population, and I hold all of them in equal esteem. It takes time and effort to judge each person individually, but that's what each of us must do if we truly believe that "all men (and women) are created equal".

Human trafficking is a world-wide problem. Women and children are being kidnapped and forced into labor, often to be used for prostitution. This is slavery, pure and simple. A brief look at Wikipedia reveals:
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), forced labor alone (one component of human trafficking) generates an estimated $150 billion in profits per annum as of 2014.[9] In 2012, the I.L.O. estimated that 21 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery. Of these, 14.2 million (68%) were exploited for labor, 4.5 million (22%) were sexually exploited, and 2.2 million (10%) were exploited in state-imposed forced labor

Instead of focusing on crimes of the past, shouldn't we coordinate our efforts on crimes being committed today?

well-thought-out and insightful


What a well-thought-out and insightful (not inciteful) article. Thank you for eloquently putting into words the nagging feeling I get that something is wrong with people's thought processes, whenever the subject of race and/or slavery comes up lately. As always, I appreciate the bits of history I get when you speak or write. Love always.

slavery and human trafficing

 In all of the studies...whether in agriculture, health, society, faith, economics, politics....proper understanding and full revelation of facts is crucial if we are to ever arrive at solutions to problems.
CONNECTING FACTS....or connecting the dots, is an absolute must....for some, it's much easier to react to a single erroneous comment about history, as it gets applied to emotion out of control.

Great Article

As always, I've learned (or cleared up) some history.  In particular about Sally Hemming.  Thanks again!

Thank you for writing this

Thank you, Michael, for writing this. Your writing is always profound. I shall forward it on to people.  Perhaps it will help some re-define their perspectives. 

I don't particularly believe that all are created equal. Some have better-equipped minds; some have better-equipped bodies; some are born with a lot more money. All of that makes a difference.  I do believe that all should have the same rights under the law. 

Keep writing!  You are greatly appreciated. 

Corporate prison slave labor

Slavery is rampant in the corporate prison system. Corporations are getting slave labor from people who are convicted of possessing marijuana.
Marijuana should be legalized.

Well said

Again Michael, I think you nailed it. History is being rewritten, sometimes only hours after it happens. [9/11 for instance].  to quote your buddy Orwell.... "Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past." If you want ot know what's really going on in the world, shut your television off and go outside and look around.

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