In the Ministry of Truth, where Winston Smith works, his job is to manipulate information constantly so that everything that is disseminated unfailingly supports the Party’s view of events—a view that changes by the minute, not just by the day. Truth, in this frame of reference, becomes meaningless: there are no facts, just an endless supply of changes. Winston longs for some solid ground under his feet. Although he knows that mathematical and physical certainties cannot really be altered, his entire occupational responsibility makes him claim the opposite.
Winston is not saying that two and two do not make four. He wants the freedom to be able to oppose the Party’s total control of information. In part, he means that he wishes he could quit his job and not be complicit in supporting the unceasing distortion of information. Winston learns the hard way that there are facts: the main fact is that the Party will never allow anyone the opportunity to challenge its control. The most important word in his statement thus becomes the “if,” because the freedom to state a fact is not available to the people. People do not even have the intellectual freedom to state mathematical truths.