Taken together the two great dystopian novelists of the mid-20th century might have dreamed up Donald Trump.
In a diary he kept in 1942 the novelist and essayist George Orwell recorded the disgust he felt for his contemporaries and the political discourse of his day – which was pervaded by intellectual dishonesty and callous partisanship:
We are all drowning in filth. When I talk to anyone or read the writings of anyone who has any axe to grind I feel that intellectual honesty and balanced judgement have simply disappeared from the face of the earth. … Everyone is dishonest and everyone is utterly heartless towards people who are outside the immediate range of his own interests. What is most striking of all is the way sympathy can be turned on and off like a tap according to political expediency.
For anyone who has just lived through the 2016 election these words may feel like they could have been written today.
More than 70 years after Orwell recorded this entry in his diary, intellectual dishonesty and partisan hackery seem to be just as pervasive in contemporary America as in mid-20th century Europe.
Consequently, it can be difficult at times to know what to believe or who to trust.