1984 just turned 70 years old, but as Erec Smith points out, it isn’t being celebrated by academia as a great piece of literature, it’s being used as a guide.

He writes at the Washington Examiner:

Academics ignore the anniversary of 1984 because they know they’re living it out

Seventy years ago today, George Orwell published 1984, a now-famous novel about a dystopian future in which totalitarianism is a universal political truth and free thought is eliminated in the name of peace and solidarity. Modern academics, especially scholars in the humanities, have long sung the books’ praises, but the academy has been suspiciously quiet during the buildup to this most recent anniversary.

Why is the anniversary of 1984 being ignored? Perhaps because the same educators that once used the book to teach the dangers of totalitarianism and censorship have become the very Orwellian monsters they fought against.

Academia has increasingly begun to emulate Orwell’s thought police. Dissenting voices are not engaged, but shouted down. Colleges are pressured to fire professors for conveying views deemed less than liberal. In particular, the humanities have become a collective Big Brother in academia and, by extension, other leftist spaces.

At best, a dissenter from the status quo may get “Sarah Lawrenced.” In “Who Counts as a Person of Color,” Eboo Patel writes of a student of Sarah Lawrence College who self-censored because of the certain backlash from liberals that speaking out would instigate.

According to this student, being “Sarah Lawrenced” occurs “when the activists just ice you out without telling you why. They just stop talking to you — and then everyone else does too.” Synonyms abound for people who have been shunned in this way; “erased” and “canceled” are but a couple.