Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
George Orwell 1984
The memory hole pulls us forward hour by hour day by day. It so tempting to simply flush the unpleasant things that history has left us, things that make us uncomfortable. Even principled people fall victim to the temptation when they see the world changing around them, urging with some grand collective group think to “get on board” and join the “right side of history.” Standing up to such pressure is not easy and I admire people like of Ayn Rand for seeing the nobility of the individual and the beauty of rational truth. Big decisions should be made with quiet deliberation, sound judgement, and a regard for truth and perspective not mob pressures. I have little respect for otherwise intelligent people who swallow hard and go along to get along compromising their integrity and deliberately misrepresenting historical facts. It seems to be human nature to want to give up and give in. The totalitarian impulse in society is strong and I fear we may one day give in to it completely because we can no longer justify to ourselves why we should fight or even make an effort. When a people lose their integrity, the will to live free and be true to themselves, the end of liberty has arrived.
As Orwell reminds us at the end of his book:
He gazed at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark mustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.