Saturday, January 11, 2003

Newspeak Watch

Conservatives in the past five years have become masters of Newspeak, the Orwellian twisting of language that not only propagandizes but actually distorts reality. As a character in 1984 puts it: "You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right…But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes; only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party."

Put another way: "Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it."

Indeed, the basic agenda of the Bush regime is now neatly summed up by the three core truisms of Newspeak:

"War is peace."

"Ignorance is strength."

"Freedom is slavery."

In recent weeks, we've been getting the newest permutations of Newspeak from conservatives:

"Opposing class warfare is class warfare."

"Attacking racial prejudice is race baiting."

We'll be on the outlook for more Newspeakisms as they arrive. Expect this to be a regular feature of this blog.

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