It Was Mother

It Was Yet

It Was Yet
Wayras Olivier

Y ET AGAIN the inescapable definition of “preventative war” has been softened and reshaped. It’s unlikely that it will be remembered as having changed in 2018, but looking back now it’s rather obvious to see how solidly it did. On NBC last year, explaining to Chuck Todd the nature of conclusory allegations, Rudy Giuliani made it clear how one version of the truth can no longer be nurtured once it falls into a perjury trap—“truth isn’t truth,” he said. Immediately, and without due process, the statement itself went on trial via social media. And for uttering it, the portly attorney was indicted in the court of public opinion for being sociopathically narrow, and in this manner, unable to grasp values and the far-reaching disciplines necessary to practice law righteously.

They characterized Giuliani’s comment mercilessly as “newspeak” and “doublespeak,” which is only half correct as “truth isn’t truth” is a negation of terms, not a euphemism. As they continued (they being left-leaning news anchors, commentators, and political pundits) to go on and on and on about the charge of Giuliani being, in effect, inwardly ruined, they overlooked—or perhaps even worse, ignored—how their unidimensional reaction to Giuliani’s comment was the thing that was “Orwellian,” and not the comment itself.


Consider: destruction of a potentially hostile country’s armament to end a latent threat is the current definition of “preventative war.” (Ditto in 1940.) Now imagine that a news correspondent for the BBC named Eric Blair has a time machine. It’s the early 1940s and he wants to investigate whether or not a lockstep between terminology and definition remains consistent over time. Eric travels a hundred years into the past, to the early 1840s, where he rubs elbows with a stranger and asks them to define “preventative war.” The stranger’s knee-jerk response: It’s when a country’s leader speaks openly with a potentially hostile country’s leader about how their respective borders, currency, and natural resources are defended.

Eric returns to the 1940s. Currently, either citizens or “preventative war,” have lost their meaning, he thinks. The second of the forgone must have been first punctured by the ever-forward arrow of time. Deflated political wordsmiths were able to rise if they ballooned themselves out of sight whilst inflating “preventative war’s” definition out of mind, using nothing believable other than hot air.

Next, whilst Eric accrues interest and banks on the future exchange of coinages, a hundred years into the future he then travels. Consorting this time with a stranger who instantly recognizes Eric by his nom de guerre—George Orwell, who, the stranger insists, is oracular. The stranger laments that Orwell was right on the money. Citizens have been debased by their own words, he tells him, and less able to see the counterfeit logic that drives their exchange rate. Certain phrases, he continues, like “preventative war” have been taken out of circulation, and then reintroduced into society as regular currency. It now means: When a country attacks its citizens’ potential to think freely so that they never turn hostile against their country’s ability to disguise its authoritarianism.

Orwell returns to the 1940s in check. Deposited in his mind are the momentous riches for a politically bankrupt 1984, which other authors and filmmakers in time withdraw from to finance their own dystopian narratives. Of Brazil: arbitrary interrogation by authority figures and the near-compulsory expectation that laborers for the state ignore their existence as dreary and drudging. Of THX 1138: a camera-laden police state that invigilates its citizens around the clock to ensure that their lives are lived, one, on time and, two, on budget (similar to China’s hellish ‘social credit system’) which is designed to keep the peace whilst preventing—heaven forbid—war from ever breaking out.