Who Is Emanuel Goldstein?

George Orwell

Many readers may recall that in George Orwell’s most famous novel, 1984, one “Emanuel Goldstein” is said to be the greatest enemy of the totalitarian Party that rules England along with one-third of the rest of the world. This character is an obvious parallel to the Russian revolutionary and founder of the Red Army, Leon Trotsky, who lost a power struggle with Josef Stalin and was exiled from the Soviet Union and later murdered on the dictator’s orders. Goldstein is likewise supposed to be a revolutionary who ran afoul of the Party’s revolution and its leader, Big Brother, and therefore stands condemned as a heretic. He has escaped the authorities, however, and gone on to write a book analyzing the Party that circulates in samizdat. Readers never actually meet Goldstein, whose very existence is dubious, but we get samples of “The Book,” a brilliant parody of Marxist analysis.

The founders of this website are neither penitent former officials of the American dictatorship, nor are we Marxists, real or pseudo. We would be perversely honored to be made the objects of the regime’s Twitter version of the Two Minutes Hate in 1984, but that is neither here nor there; and while we are not going to great lengths to conceal our identities, neither are we especially eager to attract the attentions of the freelance defenders of the dictator known as “trolls.” Nor of course do we mean to suggest the current American reality is anything like the world’s most famous dystopian novel. For one thing, Americans all voluntarily carry their “telescreens” around in their pockets and become quite upset if separated from them for any reason. Kidding aside, we obviously don’t live in Orwell’s dystopia or this website could not exist. The form of the dictatorship now taking shape is more of a “hybrid regime” along the lines of Hungary’s so-called “illiberal democracy,” a longtime object of admiration for the American dictator, in which a certain amount of individual liberty and even formal political opposition is tolerated.

The purpose of this website is to offer free-ranging and open-minded analysis of the onset of dictatorship in the country formerly regarded as foremost in the Free World. We will try to be as sober-minded and dispassionate as possible in a time when everyone’s grip on sanity is shaky at best. We owe allegiance to no one and nothing except Liberty, and we pledge to try to follow honest reflection fearlessly, no matter where it may lead and in stern opposition to what Orwell called “the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.”

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