Sarah A. Downey Profile picture
Sep 29, 2021 26 tweets 7 min read Read on X
I just finished re-reading Orwell's 1984, and if you haven't read it (or it's been a while), I can't recommend it enough. It has incredibly relevant and predictive elements that describe things we're starting to see in today's culture. Here are some examples (thread): 1/
Note that I’m not saying that the dystopian, totalitarian hellscape of 1984 is exactly what’s happening today. However, the last couple of years have seen some disturbing parallels emerge. 2/
The 1984 concept will have a 🥸 emoji to represent Big Brother

The current expression we’re seeing in society will have a 📅 emoji

🥸 Discouraging good relations between the sexes by only allowing unattracted people to marry; weaponizing sexual frustration into political rage
📅 Labeling stereotypically masculine behavior "toxic;" the all-time low rate of having sex, particularly in Millennials/Gen-Z 4/
🥸 Changing the meaning of common words/phrases instantly and punishing those who do not adapt
📅 The redefinition (literally) overnight of phrases like "sexual preference" (used to be fine; suddenly "bigoted" and rewritten in the dictionary)… 5/
🥸 Tactical language changes, continued
📅 Changing definitions of “racism” (to pretty much anything where there are disparate outcomes among races) and “white supremacy” (to…pretty much anything involving white people) @NewDiscourses… 6/
🥸 The ubiquitous presence of technology that delivers you content but mainly serves to spy on you (primarily the Telescreen but also cameras, mics, etc.)
📅 Amazon Echos, Google Homes, smart TVs, mobile apps that covertly monitor you (ahem, Facebook) 7/
🥸The attack on objective reality as a way to demoralize and control people; “2+2=5”
📅 People saying 2+2=4 is some sort of “racist math”… Statements that everyone knows are true (e.g., men and women are biologically different) have become “unsayable" 8/
🥸 Newspeak, the Party language in 1984, designed to eliminate critical thinking, free will, personal identity, self-expression, and descriptions of objective reality
📅 Political correctness, resulting in dehumanizing language like “bodies with vaginas” for “women” 9/
🥸 The Newspeak tactic of renaming words/phrases so that disagreement is hard (e.g., removing "bad" as a word & replacing w/ "ungood")
📅 Slogans like "black lives matter," where the broadness of the phrase makes it difficult to state any disagreement with its methods 10/
🥸 "Memory-holing," where the controlling government effectively erases a person, word, or event from history
📅 Government-led "disappearing" of uncooperative individuals (e.g., the CCP memory-holing actress Fan Bingbing)… 11/
🥸 The Party changing the status quo in real time, then acting like it's always been this way ("we've always been at war with Eurasia")
📅 E.g., Biden saying in 2020 that vaccines won't be mandatory (…), then making them mandatory for millions in 2021 12/
🥸 Another example of “we’ve always been at war with Eurasia" below:
📅 The sudden shift in summer 2020 from “if you’re out in big groups, you’re literally killing people” to “if you’re not out protesting in big groups, you’re a bad person”… 13/
🥸 Another example of “we’ve always been at war with Eurasia" below:
📅 E.g., the current administration expressing hesitance about *certain shots* under Trump, and now behaving as though such hesitancy is inconceivable 14/
🥸 Tiered society: the elitist Inner Party on top, then the Outer Party, then the Proles; the Inner Party have special privileges and exemptions from rules
📅 "Rules for thee but not for me;" e.g. @GavinNewsom's French Laundry dinner; only staff wearing masks at the Met Gala 15/
🥸Doublethink/speak (phrases that are obviously false but stated as true): “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY; IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”
📅E.g., CNN reporting on “mostly peaceful protests” in front of burning buildings…
“2 weeks to slow the spread” lasting 563 days 16/
🥸Doublethink, continued
📅 “My body, my choice” applying to abortion rights but not vaccine mandates; feminists who “support women’s sports” but see no problem with people who’ve lived 30+ years as biological males competing in said sports… 17/
🥸The Ministry of Truth, “which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education and the fine arts” & puts out propaganda
📅The too-close relationship between big tech, the media, and the government and their fight against “misinformation,” AKA whatever ideas they dislike 18/
🥸The Ministry of Truth, continued
📅The media/big tech declaring that story about Hunter Biden’s laptop wasn’t true when it was; the same declaring Russiagate was true when it wasn’t, at least in part… 19/
🥸The mandate that there’s only one “correct” political party and set of opinions (The Party's)
📅Many people’s repeated insistence that they’re “on the right side of history” and the increasing lack of tolerance for any diversity of opinion… 20/
🥸“Vaporization:” “Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten.”
📅Severe cancellations where one becomes an “unperson:” fired, socially isolated, etc. 21/
🥸Indoctrination of children so that they become spies who turn in their parents for “wrongthink”
📅The increasingly political stance of many teachers who take it upon themselves to transfer political beliefs to children rather than educate them neutrally/factually 22/
🥸The Thought Police who surveil the population looking for the slightest indication that a person doesn’t fully support The Party
📅 Scanning of social media, e.g., police showing up to people’s houses in Australia to question them about their posts… 23/
🥸Controlling speech to control (and prevent) thought
📅Social media platforms silencing people (like @NICKIMINAJ), applying “misinformation” warnings, blocking hashtags/link-sharing around convos they don’t want to exist 24/
🥸Using citizens to spy on each other and report “ungood behavior”
📅 E.g., the Texas 6-week abortion law encouraging citizens to report anyone in violation…
Encouraging citizens to turn in others who aren’t following lockdowns 25/
🥸Tribalism: The Party vs The Brotherhood
📅Tribalism: vaccinated vs unvaccinated, Left versus Right, Republicans versus Democrats, etc. How about we focus on something we can all agree on: avoiding a future like 1984? 26/26

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More from @SarahADowney

Apr 26, 2022
Free speech means you don't have the right to prevent others from being heard. But you can't force anyone to listen to you, either. This is called the Fallacy of Demanding to be Heard, and people get this wrong a lot. 🧵👇
E.g., Bob can go to a park and give a public speech about his ex wife Alice being awful. Kicking Bob out of the park is a free speech violation because it prevents him from being heard, generally. But Alice can walk through that park and avoid listening to Bob; that's her right🧵
This is why banning someone from a place or platform where they have the potential to reach many others is often a free speech violation, whereas avoiding, blocking, or muting *one* person is not. If a nutjob plunks down in front of you and tries lecturing you, you can leave. 🧵
Read 8 tweets
Apr 1, 2021
The @HBO documentary "Persona" (mostly on Myers-Briggs, AKA the #MBTI) was disappointing, woke, and poorly researched. Its main thesis appeared to be "using personality differences in hiring is amoral and always leads to bad outcomes." 1/9
Objective reality check: not everyone is equally good at -- or happy doing - -every job. And not every job appeals to every person. Personality variations are an easy, legal, and intuitively understandable way to explain these differences. 2/9
E.g., an introvert like me is far less likely to be thrilled about working in a busy sales floor with tons of personal interruptions. An extrovert who thrives on social interaction likely wouldn't be a great solo lab researcher. 3/9
Read 9 tweets
Jan 9, 2021
Tools to help you get more privacy/autonomy online: @signalapp for texting; Helm ( to run your own private server for email, files, etc.; @abine DeleteMe to remove your personal info from sites that sell it & Blur to generate masked emails/credit cards 1/
.@ProtonMail for email; Zcash from @ElectricCoinCo for private crypto; @foxyproxy for VPNs/proxy servers; @SubstackInc for publishing; @rumblevideo for video hosting and monetization; @OnLocals for community management 2/
.@LBRYcom for a decentralized digital marketplace; @torproject to browse the deep web; @dashlane for password management; @DuckDuckGo for private web searching 3/
Read 4 tweets
Nov 17, 2020
Many things described as "liberal" today mean the opposite of what was historically true and what many people expect, and this disconnect is likely contributing to some of heightened frustration we're seeing in political arguments in 2020.

Starting in roughly 2013, "liberal" veered sharply from its roots. You'll hear the word "illiberal" used to describe these contradictions, or "far/alt left," simply "not liberal", or "classic liberal" to differentiate that they're talking about basic enlightenment values.

What are classic liberal values?… They include civil rights, free speech, free markets, separation of church and state, capitalism, freedom of religion, limited government, and human rights. The US constitution was founded on liberal principles.

Read 25 tweets

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