George Orwell, born Eric Blair, was a journalist and an author of novels and essays. He is known for his insights about the political implications of the use of language.
In the essay “Politics and the English Language”, he decries the effects of cliche, bureaucratic euphemism, and academic jargon on literary styles, and ultimately on thought itself.
Orwell’s novel 1984 is written in this spirit and is where the hero, Winston Smith, works for the Ministry of Truth and is charged with the task of removing from history any contradictory evidence so that the government is always right and correct. Winston uses newspeak to help him accomplish this task.
Newspeak is a variant of English in which vocabulary is strictly limited by government fiat. The goal is to make it increasingly difficult to express ideas that contradict the official line – with the final aim of making it impossible even to conceive such ideas.
We can see evidence of newspeak in our current government and media if we look hard enough and remember the past with our own minds. Some examples of recent newspeak include:
Islamofascists – used recently to describe al-Qaeda and their supporters like the Taliban. Truthfully, their ideology is better described as being Radical Islamic Fundamentalist Theocracy because fascism requires business and government to collaborate willingly together while Theocracy means the government forces business to act as they deem necessary.
Foreign Oil – used to make us think that only imported sources of oil are bad (or ungood in Orwell’s newspeak), and our own oil sources are good. Distracts from the fact that oil is not a clean energy source at all and should be abandoned outright.
Global Warming – used to stifle debate on climate change and whether humans are having a significant impact on climate change.
Terrorist Surveillance Program – used in place of domestic spying because who in their doublethink mind would argue about spying on terrorists. Supposedly this one came from Newsmax and was adopted by the White House.
Corrections Facilities – instead of jails and prisons, like anyone that went to prison was ever “corrected.”
Collateral Damage – reference to civilian deaths and destruction of property. De-humanizes the enemy so we can better enjoy our 2-minutes hate on the TV.
Homeland Security – we have to wonder what ever happened to Civil Defense. “An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation. We must take steps to insure our domestic security and protect our homeland.” Was this Bush, Cheney, or Chertoff? No, it was Adolf Hitler.
Free Press – used in reference to the corporate media, nothing could be further from the truth. The corporate media is profit driven, which makes it subject to business and government influence for money and access to officials. There is nothing free about it, and most corporate media is controlled by only 6 companies.
Deregulation – used to make us think government regulation of industry is wasteful and not necessary. The markets and energy companies have now proven that regulation was in fact necessary as our current woes indicate.
Enhanced Interrogation Techniques – what the Bush Administration called torture, but the International Committee of the Red Cross didn’t fall for it either.
Rogue States – used to justify attacking nations that act in their own interest rather than ours.
So be a good prole and stay enslaved to the system by heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer, and above all gambling.
And remember, we were always at war with Eurasia, and East Asia is our friend.