Thought Police Update

Newspeak is the fictional language in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, written by George Orwell. It is a reduced language created by the totalitarian state as a tool to limit free thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, peace, etc. Any form of thought alternative to the party’s construct is classified as “thoughtcrime,” “crimethink,” or “doublethink.”

The aim of Newspeak is to remove all shades of meaning from language, leaving simple concepts (pleasure and pain, happiness and sadness, goodthink and crimethink) that reinforce the total dominance of the State.

The underlying theory of Newspeak is that if something can’t be said, then it can’t be thought.

And if it can’t be thought it can’t be said.

Enter the Politically Correct Media….

The AP Stylebook today is making some changes in how we describe people living in a country illegally.

Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains the thinking behind the decision:

The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.

Is this the best way to describe someone in a country without permission? We believe that it is for now. We also believe more evolution is likely down the road.

Will the new guidance make it harder for writers? Perhaps just a bit at first. But while labels may be more facile, they are not accurate.

Get in touch at stylebook@ap.org

“The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever.“For example, the word “free” still existed in Newspeak but could only be used in terms of something not being possessed as in, “the dog is free from lice” or, “this field is free from weeds.” It could not be used in terms of being able to do as one pleases, as in “free choice” or” free will” since these concepts no longer existed. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum. Any redundancies in the English language were removed.

CRIMETHINK

Crimethink is the Newspeak word for thoughtcrime (thoughts that are unorthodox or outside the official government platform), as well as the verb meaning “to commit thoughtcrime”. Goodthink, which is approved by the Party, is the opposite of crimethink. In the book, Winston Smith, the main character, writes in his diary, “ Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death. ” —Orwell, 1984

DUCKSPEAK

Duckspeak is a Newspeak term meaning literally to quack like a duck or to speak without thinking. Duckspeak can be good or “ungood” (bad) depending on who is speaking, and whether what they are saying aligns with the ideals of Big Brother. To speak rubbish and lies may be ungood, but to speak rubbish and lies for the good of The Party may be good. In the appendix to 1984, Orwell explains: “ Ultimately it was hoped to make articulate speech issue from the larynx without involving the higher brain centres at all. This aim was frankly admitted in the Newspeak word duckspeak […]. Like various words in the B vocabulary, duckspeak was ambivalent in meaning. Provided that the opinions which were quacked out were orthodox ones, it implied nothing but praise, and when the Times referred to one of the orators of the Party as a doubleplusgood duckspeaker it was paying a warm and valued compliment. ” —Orwell, 1984

The advantages of Newspeak are its means of preserving the secrets of the Party, preventing politically motivated actions, and promoting the use of politically correct terms. Its disadvantages include the Party using censorship and glamorization of themselves, compromised freedom of speech, and the prevention of the flow of ideas for the citizens, who are controlled by this reduction in their language.

Terrorism is “man-caused disasters.”

A woman may have a  “woman’s right to choose.” But do you?

Facecrime (an indication that a person is guilty of thoughtcrime based on their facial expression)

Equal (a statement such as “All men are equal.” would only mean “All men are of equal size.”) “Political Equality” doesn’t even exist as a concept in Newspeak.

The concepts of “political freedom” and “intellectual freedom” do not exist in Newspeak.

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength.

FEAR IS HOPE 🙂

The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts and educational books. Its purpose is to rewrite history to change the facts to fit Party doctrine for propaganda effect. For example, if Big Brother makes a prediction that turns out to be wrong, the employees of the Ministry of Truth go back and rewrite the prediction so that any prediction Big Brother previously made is accurate. This is the “how” of the Ministry of Truth’s existence. Within the novel Orwell elaborates that the deeper reason for its existence is to maintain the illusion that the Party is absolute. It cannot ever seem to change its mind (if, for instance, they perform one of their constant changes regarding enemies during war) or make a mistake (firing an official or making a grossly misjudged supply prediction), for that would imply weakness and to maintain power the Party must seem eternally right and strong.

blujay

The Blue Jay of Happiness has a very common contemporary example of newspeak: “Not necessarily unconstitutional”. Does it mean, “not illegal but certainly wrong?”

And if you just living her illegally by circumstances are you actually Illegal? 🙂

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Political Cartoons by Gary McCoy

 

 

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