Hillary Clinton’s campaign memoirs, “What Happened,” has proven to be the gift that keeps on giving for people who write opinion pieces for a living. First, she blames just about everyone but herself for her defeat. Then she identified herself with the mad queen in “Game of Thrones,” Cersei Lannister. Now, according to the Daily Caller, she epically missed the point of a crucial scene in the George Orwell novel “1984.”

The meaning of the torture scene

At a critical moment in the book, its protagonist, Winston Smith, is being tortured by O’Brien. O’Brien holds up four fingers but tells Smith that he is actually holding five.

The torture continues until Smith is not only willing to say that O’Brien is holding up five fingers, but believes it regardless of his senses.

The lesson, according to Hillary Clinton, is, “The goal is to make you question logic and reason and to sow mistrust toward exactly the people we need to rely on: our leaders, the press, experts who seek to guide public policy based on evidence, ourselves.” She believes that is what Trump is doing by loudly making assertions that are not true, albeit without the benefit of electroshock torture.

The state as purveyor of reality

In fact, the lesson of “1984” that Orwell is trying to impart is that a state sufficiently powerful and ruthless will attempt to define reality to suit itself, in the manner that liberals like Hillary Clinton like to do.

Winston Smith worked for the Ministry of Truth, a government organ that was dedicated to defining and redefining truth to suit the needs of the state. At some times Oceana has been at war with East Asia and has always been at war with East Asia. On other occasions, sometimes changing on a dime, the state has been at war with Eurasia and has always been at war with that rival super state.

Past announcements of productivity goals are altered to suit the government, with inconvenient records of what actually happened going down the memory hole.

Orwell’s message was not that we should trust the government, the media, and even the experts. His message was that we should mistrust them, be skeptical of everything, and try to find out for ourselves.

If O’Brien is holding up four fingers, all the torture in the world will not make that number five unless he extends the last digit on his hand.

Orwell would have found Hillary Clinton, someone who naturally finds “1984” a guidebook and not a warning, quite appalling. To be fair he would have had little use for Donald Trump either, but only because as an Englishman he would not have thought well of loud mouthed colonials.