“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?… Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?… The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.” George Orwell, 1984
George Orwell’s prophetic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of my favorite books. I’ve read it multiple times and watched the various film versions. In the novel, Newspeak was the official language of Oceania.
Big Brother, the all-powerful state, invented this language, to limit and control what thoughts its citizens could express. Newspeak has no words to describe concepts that go against the party’s views. Therefore, even the ability to think revolutionary thoughts is eradicated. Thinking the wrong things was a punishable crime and there was a Thought Police to punish offenders. Maybe this thought control process began in Oceania with hate crimes and political correctness?
Winston Smith, the main character in Nineteen Eighty-Four worked for the Ministry of Truth that was in reality a ministry of lies. He rewrote history and made documents that didn’t conform to party thought disappear forever down the memory hole.
The same dynamic is taking place today through the media, colleges, and public schools. It is also evident in many national organizations. We have to be on guard continually to know what reality is and what truth is. When we hear lies repeated often enough, we tend to believe them. This is one reason why freedom requires eternal vigilance. We must even keep a close eye on the use or misuse of our language.
Nineteen Eighty-Four and Orwell’s other novel Animal Farm can teach us a lot about what is transpiring right here at home. We are being controlled! Big Brother is watching, even now while you read this article. You don’t really believe privacy exists anymore do you?
The primary point of this article is to explore how language control can be just as powerful a weapon as guns or bombs. Limiting or controlling our vocabulary (Political Correctness) limits thoughts and therefore limits certain actions or arguments deemed inappropriate by the state.
These types of societal restraints can even be enforced within businesses, homes, or in personal relationships. I dated a girl many years ago who actually had a list of things we were forbidden to discuss. By the time we ended the relationship we could only talk about the weather, sports, and Dances with Wolves. We had short dates and didn’t have much to argue about so this did save me a lot of money and emotional pain.
Orwell’s Thought Police do exist and do control our thinking to at least some degree. So many words in our vocabulary have been removed, modified, or totally changed in definition over the last few decades. As liberals, socialists, and Marxists have gained more and more influence in our society, our vocabulary has been limited and remanufactured to conform to their vision.
Things that were previously labeled good are now considered bad and visa versa (Isaiah 5:20). It is now common, especially in the press, to hear people labeled as radicals who believe in the Constitution, God, guns, capitalism, mother, and apple pie.
Before the Thought Police, I had always believed that the communists, environmentalists, feminists, and homosexuals were radical. I guess I was mistaken. I think we are experiencing the effects of something called logomachy (New Word Alert!).
Logomachy simply defined is linguistic dictatorship or the active control of language. Language can be used as a weapon as well as a means of communication. Logomachy can include changing the meaning of words, excluding words from common use, or inventing new words to suit a particular cause and shape opinion.
Here are two new words freshly coined this month, one created by Obama and the other by Romney. Obama introduced the term “Romneyhood” and Romney offered up “Obamaloni.” Each word carries a loaded message laced with propaganda to influence our thoughts. Romneyhood implies that Romney is stealing from the poor to give to the rich, like a reverse Robin Hood. Obamaloni is designed to communicate the idea that Obama is full of baloney.
Let me share some examples of language manipulation and control that I personally testify about:
One evening, I was listening to a call-in talk show on Atlanta’s WSB Radio hosted by an extreme liberal commentator. A caller wanted to comment on the homosexual issue. The host informed the caller that he would be able to make his comments only if met certain conditions. He must refrain from using words such as “homosexual,” “sodomite,” or any other word the host deemed derogatory concerning that lifestyle. He was only allowed to use the word “Gay” or he would be cut off the air.
Also, any use of the Bible on the topic would have to be modified to satisfy the host. It is impossible to convey certain thoughts without the use of certain words. This is a clear example of logomachy.
Another example occurred a couple of weeks ago during a doctor’s appointment. The doctor and I were talking about how medical care was changing. I shared with the doctor about something that happened thirty years ago when my cousin went to her doctor. She was concerned about her swollen ankles. The doctor’s response was, “This is very common with fat people.” My doctor said if he said that to a patient today he would be reported and be in deep trouble. The Thought Police say there is no such thing as fat people.
I can’t resist sharing this story. And, I’m not trying to be mean spirited at all. These are just the facts. I was flying back to Atlanta from Florida after a cruise. My wife was in the aisle seat. I was in the middle seat and in the window seat next to me was a lady that weighed at least three hundred pounds. Her body spilled over the armrest and into my space. She was so big that I had to endure the entire flight with my torso bent forty-five degrees to the right to keep from touching her. The bottom line is she is not fat and I had to go to the Chiropractor. I did complain to the Stewardess (sorry, I meant Flight Attendant. There are no sexes) but I couldn’t prove my case since there are no fat people.
Let’s look at some other modern examples of language control. Today, political correctness tells us that mothers don’t murder their babies. They just remove lifeless tissue from their bodies or they terminate a life that wasn’t viable. We say that these women are pro-choice.
I am a fundraiser for a pregnancy center in north Georgia. It has amused me that anyone who is pro-choice will not support my pregnancy center that is prolife. Isn’t allowing the baby to be born one of the choices inferred in the term pro-choice? Shouldn’t pro-choicers split their donations between Planned Parenthood and a pro-life organization? Just asking.
Pro-choice isn’t an honest word. It doesn’t really mean what it sounds like it should mean. Pro-choice usually means one choice: Abort. Many times these pro-choice women actually get upset when someone chooses to keep their baby.
In post 9/11 America there are no radical Islamists terrorists. They are simply freedom fighters struggling for another cause. The Tea Party people are the true terrorists. Pesky
Christians are another group increasingly used as a major scapegoat in our society. See how things get twisted and too many believe this manipulation.
It wasn’t that long ago that Hitler convinced the masses that Jews were sub-human animals. That one lie cost a lot of lives. Someday, you or I may be classified as sub-human. Who defines the term?
Be careful my friends. Don’t be a thought criminal. Think only good, approved thoughts. Big Brother is watching.
When we lose our ability to think we lose our minds. Let me close with one other short quote from Nineteen Eighty-Four that summarizes my points so well:
“Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death.”