By Roger Kimball(AmericsnGreatness)
Remember the date: April 27, 2022
That’s when the mask came off the creaky Orwellian juggernaut that is the Biden Administration.
The senile rictus disappeared and something far more threatening took its place.
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell called the enforcement mechanism of his totalitarian propaganda regime the “Ministry of Truth.” Appearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee, the ironically named Department of Homeland Security was slightly more subtle.
Too many people have read Nineteen Eighty-Four. Calling a government-funded effort to suppress criticism of the regime the “Ministry of Truth” would cause people to worry and complain. Instead, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced the creation of the “Disinformation Governance Board.”
No, I am not making that up.
I sympathize with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who said he wondered whether this new assault on free expression was a “belated April Fools’ joke.”
Unfortunately, it’s not.
Granted, it is as preposterous as an April Fools’ Day prank. So is its director, Nina Jankowicz, a 33-year-old anti-Trump hack, who is described—God help us—as an “internationally recognized expert on disinformation.” You can judge how expert by looking up her truly embarrassing videos on the subject (among many other subjects).
So what will the Disinformation Governance Board actually do—besides, I mean, provide fodder for standup comics and incredulous commentators? In one sense, it is a little hard to say for sure since its actual duties and extent of its powers have yet to be spelled out.
But one doesn’t need fine print to know that this new police force will have essentially two jobs.
One job will be to suppress criticism. Former U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is right. This is exactly the sort of thing, she told Fox News, one expects to see in dictatorships, not in free countries. The board, she said, amounts to a “department of propaganda” promulgated by a government that is afraid of its own people. Did someone discover that the president’s son had a laptop full of compromising, and probably criminal, information?
Come down like a ton of bricks on anyone with the temerity to publicize that fact, especially if the discovery was made just before a presidential election.
Now that Elon Musk has tendered his $44 billion offer to buy Twitter, that company may not be quite so reliable an ally of the totalitarian agenda of the Democrats.
In 2020, Twitter froze the New York Post’s ability to share its content on the site and suppressed anyone who dared to comment on Hunter Biden’s laptop until the 2020 election was safely over. That might not happen now. People are wising up. Last year’s woke corporation might just be this year’s watchdog for genuine transparency.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson cut to the chase when he observed that neither Mayorkas nor the administration he serves wants freedom. What they want, Carlson said, is “power and to get power, they plan to control what you think.”
Ponder what Mayorkas told the House subcommittee last week:
We have so many different efforts underway to equip local communities, to identify individuals who very well could be descending into violence by reason of ideologies, of hate, false narratives, or other disinformation and misinformation propagated on social media and other platforms.
Translation: some people may disagree with us because of things they see or read or hear.
Therefore, we need to tamp down the sources of those competing ideas.
Which brings me to the second task of the Disinformation Governance Board.
Suppressing ideas the regime doesn’t like is only one part of the job. The other part is disseminating narratives pleasing to those in power. One hand is busy pulling out and poisoning what they regard as weeds. The other hand is nurturing the delicate shoots of the approved narrative.
And it’s that part of the story that makes the name of this new agency so brilliant. Not only will it be on the lookout for contrary ideas to stamp out—governing, as it were, “disinformation”—but it will also need to foster and disseminate competing disinformation.
Hillary Clinton and her myrmidons in the media, the FBI, and the intelligence services did a fine job with the Russia collusion hoax. But think how much more effective an official, government-sanctioned service will be. No more amateur-hour stuff, no more wiping servers “with a cloth,” no more lying lawyers, no more leaked fabrications. Now the people in charge will have the full coercive power of the state behind them.
Tucker Carlson said that the creation of this new chamber of the government’s department of anti-freedom drew “a line in the sand.” I hope he is right. The Biden Administration’s Orwellian assault on individual freedom is patent as daylight. It is critical that we stand up to and forthrightly reject this unconscionable assault on freedom.
Carlson quotes Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone, who responded with admirable forthrightness to a threatening letter from a government proxy. “Do you,” Blumenthal asked, “seriously expect us to grovel for approval from the same tentacle of the national security state and financial oligarchy that has rated CNN as a highly credible news source and whose board of advisors is a grotesque gallery of corporate propagandist spooks, documented liars, and war criminals who’ve never faced a scintilla of accountability for their actions?”
The answer, of course, is yes. That’s exactly what they expect.
We must do everything in our power to disappoint them.