21st Century Newspeak…
By Jack Kinsella
In his famous book, ‘1984’ George Orwell introduced us to the words ‘doublethink’ and ‘newspeak’. A word Orwell DIDN’T use – but which combines the two – is ‘doublespeak’.
‘Doublespeak’ is saying one thing and meaning another, usually its opposite.
In Orwell’s ‘1984,’ when Big Brother and the Party say ‘peace’ they mean ‘war’, when they say ‘love’ they mean ‘hate’, and when they say ‘freedom’ they mean ‘slavery’.
Orwell’s thesis was that when words have no meaning, the events they were meant to describe lose their sense of reality.
For inspiration, Orwell drew on real-life examples; Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’ was a benign sounding euphemism for the destruction of an entire race of people. Communism’s ‘reeducation camps’ were euphemisms for political concentration camps.
Stalin himself once obliquely acknowledged the power of ‘doublespeak’, noting, “One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.”
Orwell’s ‘1984’ was a precautionary tale penned in 1949 as an undisguised satire of Stalinist authoritarianism and its methods, inventing his ‘newspeak’ concept from the principles of Marxist/Leninism.
In Big Brother’s world, ‘peace’ means ‘war’ — but ‘peace’ as a concept remains subliminally desireable. One ‘hates’ a person they ‘love’, subliminally linking love and hate until the emotions they evoke can be manipulated by Big Brother as necessary.
When ‘freedom’ means ‘slavery’ then the distinctions between the concepts become blurry enough for Orwell’s characters to long for the freedom of Big Brother’s ‘benevolent’ oversight.
The connotations of words naturally change over time. Words like ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’ used to be neutral terms. When they became insults, ‘retarded’ was introduced as a replacement. Then ‘retarded’ became an insult, and was replaced by ‘special’.
‘Crippled’ was replaced by ‘handicapped’ followed by ‘disabled’ which is falling into disfavor in favor of ‘challenged’ (which is already losing its neutrality).
The word ‘fundamentalist’ used to have a specific meaning. It meant one who practiced the fundamentals of one’s faith. In 21st century ‘newspeak’, the word ‘fundamentalist’ is synonymous with ‘religious fanatic’.
Using the ‘newspeak’ definition of the word, it becomes possible for the majority of Islam to be peaceful and non-violent, while those who practice the fundamentals of Islam are jihadist warriors.
Redefining the word makes those who practice the fundamentals of Islam ‘evil’, but the religion that inspires the evil is ‘good’ – as long as one doesn’t take its fundamentals too seriously. Or something.
The phrase ‘pro-choice’ used to mean one who favors the right to select from a range of alternative options. The phrase is now used to describe pro-abortion groups that went to the Supreme Court in order to keep anyone offering alternatives to abortion 100 feet from any abortion clinic.
The phrase ‘pro-life’ used to mean people who believed life was something only God could give, and only God had to right to take. In contemporary usage, it is used to describe guys who bomb abortion clinics, shoot abortionists, and march in demonstrations.
The meanings of the phrases have become so confused that the majority of Americans in any given poll aren’t certain if they are ‘pro-choice’ or ‘pro-life’ — it all depends on how the question is phrased.
Ask yourself how anybody can take a middle-of-the-road approach to the question of WHEN it is moral to dismember a baby in the womb? How can there BE a middle-of-the-road position to take? How can it really even be a QUESTION?
Is there any pro-choice human being out there who wasn’t once an unborn baby? How can they really believe there was a time when they were themselves in the womb but somehow still non-existent?
It is only possible when ‘fetus’ no longer means ‘baby’ and ‘choice’ no longer means ‘alternative options’.
Millions of people continue to turn out for demonstrations opposing any legislation that would ‘criminalize’ illegal aliens. Let’s start there.
The word ‘illegal’ means ‘in violation of the law’. Another word for ‘criminal’ is ‘law-breaker’.
How does one ‘criminalize’ something that is, by definition, already illegal? First off, the phrase ‘illegal alien’ has to go. How about replacing it with ‘undocumented worker’?
Being an ‘undocumented worker’ doesn’t sound like criminal behavior. Indeed, criminalizing someone for not having ‘their papers’ sounds like a step TOWARD Orwell’s Big Brother.
Suddenly, the idea of ‘criminalizing’ undocumented workers sounds not just unAmerican, but somehow, unconstitutional.
Opponents claim that criminalizing illegal aliens (if words meant what they said, that phrase would end any further debate) will ‘make criminals’ out of people who help them either sneak into country or to get work once they get here.
Since both are already criminal acts by definition, the argument that immigration reform will ‘make criminals’ out of them also falls flat, unless you substitute the euphemism ‘undocumented worker’ for ‘illegal alien’ in order to cloud the issue.
Before anybody emails me to remind me again that America is a nation of immigrants, I already know that. But America is also a nation of laws, and there are laws covering legal immigration. Legal immigrants are not ‘documented workers’. They are legal immigrants.
The phrase ‘undocumented worker’ is a euphemism for illegal alien from the Spanish south. It isn’t applied to illegal aliens from the Middle East. It isn’t even applied to illegal aliens from Canada or Europe.
Even the Border Patrol uses a euphemism to differentiate between illegal aliens in their arrest reports. Illegals are either ‘M’ or ‘OTM’ [‘Other Than Mexican’]
Change ‘illegal alien’ into ‘undocumented worker’ and the whole debate shifts from whether or not America has a right to control her borders into one in which the debate is about whether or not breaking existing laws is ‘illegal’. It is an example of 21st century newspeak at its finest.
The immigration reform proposal with the best chance of success has yet to make it to any bill presented so far. Any mention of a border fence is immediately rejected by those claiming it will turn America into a ‘prison’.
Another loaded word. Prisons keep people IN. Fences keep people OUT. Putting up a fence is a sovereign right. I have a fence around my property because it is MY property and I have a right to control who comes inside its borders.
My fence keeps people out, not in. It imprisons no one. The gate opens from the inside. It is the very definition of ‘ownership.’ But the power of propaganda has made this ridiculously simple solution unmentionable.
There are those who believe that they are too sophisticated to fall under the propagandists’ spell. That arrogance is what makes them so susceptible.
“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” (2nd Thessalonians 2:10-11)
If you doubt the power of 21st century newspeak, remember the immigration debate. It is all about ‘criminalizing’ ‘illegal’ behavior.
Or something. I have to check my dictionary again.
This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on August 10, 2006.