OPINION – There are still a few years before the conversion from Basic English to Newspeak is fully implemented in Oceania.
It began, of course, in 1984 and is to be fully implemented by the year 2050.
The transition has been boosted by The Inner Party, the elite, political class bent on deflecting, propagandizing and herding the masses with thug-like fervor, leaving the nuance, depth and beauty of Basic English only to the Proles, those steadfast souls who struggle to maintain their individualism and integrity, and a connection to a vivid, beautiful language of color and poetry that once decorated our culture. There was a clarity, little ambiguity, in Basic English. It could be flowery, it could be terse, depending on the person who was stringing the words together and what they were trying to convey.
The elements of Newspeak are crude, evasive “unwords” designed by Minitrue, the Oceania Ministry of Truth, to serve the totalitarian Ingsoc – Newspeak for English socialism, the brand of political ideology subscribed to by The Inner Party under leader, Big Brother, who is not a singular individual, but the composite of populist political leadership that has been digging roots since about 1980. It fomented not only in Oceania, but other places where we watched the not-so-subtle demonization of words like “liberal” and “progressive” by Grandpa Big Brother, from whom all that is “right” flows, initiate Newspeak.
For Newspeak to work, certain new words must be created to place the language into a style favorable to The Inner Party and Big Brother.
For Newspeak to work, certain old words must be eliminated.
It leaves us with a trumped-up language designed solely to exalt Big Brother and condemn anybody deemed guilty of “thoughtcrime,” you know, those folks who would dare challenge the mangled reasoning or many layers of lies uttered to repress the Proles.
This is not Oceania, of course, but the commonality between Oceania and the United States at this juncture is all too real.
Especially in the way Big Brother makes big league – or bigly – alterations in the way we convey thoughts, images and facts.
It is not terribly “unsurprising,” as they would say in Oceania, that Big Brother has banned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using seven words or phrases in budget documents: vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based and science-based. This is an “unsurprise” because nearly a year ago, the words “climate change” were erased from the language of The Inner Party.
We won’t go into comparisons here to the George Carlin comedy routine about the seven dirty words you once were forbidden from using on television or radio – most of which are still banned from commercial broadcast. It would be a cliché at best and a grab at low-hanging fruit to do so.
But, I shudder at the thought of the CDC discussing programs and projects that were not evidence-based or science-based. Diversity? Well, our population is quite diverse, with each segment having its own unique health issues, from sickle cell to HIV/AIDS. Certain people are more vulnerable to certain diseases, transgender is an apt description of a group of human beings and I don’t know of a word that is an adequate substitute for fetus.
And, what entitlement has to do with the CDC is totally beyond my comprehension other than it is a word the far right has tried desperately to demonize when they wrap such things as Social Security, which is something we put our own money into and is something we are, without question, entitled to receive, into it.
It’s all part of the spoon-fed propaganda we are encumbered with that has frightening similarities to pre-World War II Germany.
From the frantic speeches to the weekly posters distributed throughout Germany of that era, the propaganda was always a simple, jingoist slogan of small words assembled into short phrases to be parroted by the faithful. It was simple words for simple minds to process with little thought; words that sound good in combination, that strike at a nationalistic goal that has already been achieved; words designed to vehemently destroy all remnants of opposition; words strung together to build a culture of fear and anger because, well, she should be locked up for crimes unproven and traces of him should be eradicated because he “wasn’t one of us.”
Even the most subtle words are powerful things that can evoke dynamic images, inspire the angry, buoy those adrift in a sea of ignorance and support an unwarranted, undeserved and unhealthy arrogance.
George Orwell’s book, “1984,” was an amazingly prescient piece of literature, especially when combined with the practicality of world history focusing on pre-war Germany.
One would think we have had enough warnings.
Yes, one would think.
But, it takes a literate mind to ponder, to contemplate, to consider what humanity has accomplished, where it has failed, how it has failed in service to the planet and its inhabitants, whether on a scientific, political or cultural level.
And, those literate minds are dangerous to The Inner Party and Big Brother, who don’t like to be challenged by such needless things as facts, which is why the CDC now has its own version of George Carlin’s seven dirty words.
The historic revisionism of our times, the totalitarianism or our times, the chillingly Orwellian foreshadowing of our times makes “1984,” perhaps, the most important read in modern history as each element from the book unfolds in our reality.
How long until “2 + 2 = 5?”
How long before the hysterics of “FAKE NEWS!” force legitimate reportage down the “memory hole?”
How long will it take the din of cognitive dissonance to permanently cloud fair, rational thought and debate?
And how long before fair, rational thought and debate become “thoughtcrimes,” punishable by sentencing to “Room 101” where the “worst thing in the world” awaits?
Orwell was a brilliant writer, a soothsayer, a great student of the human condition.
His warnings, alas, have gone mostly unheeded, from “Animal Farm” to “1984.”
And his words, from a post-World War II perspective, still ring true, particularly when he said:
In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.
A lot of schizophrenia.
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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