In it, there's a perverse exchange between the victim (Winston) and his tormentor (O'Brien), where O'Brien is being a good progressive socialist, and trying to force Winston into accepting non-reality as reality. Torturing Winston until he admits that 2+2=5, even though he knows it's not true. He must not only say it, but truly believe it.
Of course this goes back far earlier, Orwell wrote of it in referring to the Democratic National Socialists (Nazi's) doing the same thing, well before his book. And the concept goes back hundreds and thousands of years before that.
❝ Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as "the truth" exists. ... The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, "It never happened" – well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five – well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs. ❞
The torture dialog goes like this:
- O’Brien - You know perfectly well what is the matter with you, Winston. You’ve known it for years, though you’ve fought against the knowledge. Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. It needs an act of self-destruction... an effort of the will. How many genders are there, Winston?
- Winston - Two.
- O’Brien - And if the Democrat Party says there are not two, but five, or an infinite number of genders, then how many?
- Winston - Two.
- O’Brien - No. That’s no use. You’re lying. How many genders, please?
- Winston - Two. What else could I say?
- O’Brien - Five, or anything you like.
- Winston - Stop the pain.
- O’Brien - How can I help it?
- Winston - How can I help what I see in front of my eyes? Male and Female makes two.
- O’Brien - Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five, sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. Neither the past, nor the present, nor the future... He, She, Ze and Hir... Reality is in the human mind... not in the individual mind... which makes mistakes and soon perishes... but in the mind of the Party... which is collective and immortal.
- Winston - No.
- O’Brien - How many genders, Winston?
- Winston - Four. Four, I suppose there are four.
- Winston - I tried to see five. I wish I could.
- Winston - Which do you wish? To persuade me that you can see five genders, or really to see them?
- O’Brien - Really to see them.
- O’Brien - Again. How many, Winston?
- Winston - I don’t know.
- O’Brien - Better.
In this version of the telling, we substituted gender for just numbers, and the topic still works. But that's the absurdity of the left's gender re-itentification. Nevermind that biologically and chemically there are two: XX (female) and XY (male). (Technically, 3 with a deformity of XXY, but let's stay in the normal).
It's not good enough for the left that THEY accept all the other gender variants. They must force everyone else to accept their delusion as well. Ideas so good, they must be forced. And that's my problem. I can accept a little ambiguity, or play along... right up to the point where you become a bully in the name of "social justice", then I push back. Ask nicely, and fine. Demand, and you can go to hell before you're going to make me play along. You have to give the respect that you're demanding.
This article goes into the history of where the left "jumped the shark", and turned from good people trying to help trans folks be accepted, into asshat bullies trying to force everyone else into their one true view of the world, and accept that 2+2=5.
- This was borrowed from Christopher Buckley, and his take on Orwell’s 2+2=5 :