Monday, March 23, 2009

Feeling Ungood About Doublethink? Here's Help

This post started as a simple definition, and grew.

Had a Bellyful of Newspeak and Bellyfeel?

If doublethink has you feeling ungood, or you can't get rid of the niggling suspicion that thoughtcrimes may not be as ungood as you've been told, you're not alone.

Here's a very short glossary of terms which you may find helpful, while trying to think coherently about what you read and hear on the news. The words are from George Orwell's novel, 1984.

A Brief Glossary of Newspeak - "Peace," "Love," "Truth," OR ELSE

a blind, enthusiastic acceptance of an idea
in reference to an opponent: the claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts
in reference to a Party member: a loyal willingness to say, believe, and know that black is white when Party discipline demands this
crimestop see thoughtcrime
to rid oneself of thoughts that interfere with the ideology of the Party (verb)
see goodthink, thoughtcrime
believing two contradictory ideas at the same time
to quack like a duck (verb)
to speak without thinking (verb)
acceptable to the Party
goodsex see sexcrime
any form of sex considered acceptable by the Party
sex for the exclusive purpose of providing new children for the Party
deliberately ambiguous and contradictory language use to mislead and manipulate the public
the tendency to enjoy being solitary - the Party considers this subversive
all forms of sex which are not goodsex
thoughts that are unorthodox, or outside official government platform
to commit thoughtcrime (verb)
not acceptable to the Party
a person who was killed by the state, with all references erased from books, photographs, articles and historical records
I would have used the Newspeak Dictionary as a source, but it seems to be offline. I sincerely hope that's temporary: and the result of a technical glitch. Links in the definition list are to entries in Wikipedia and Princeton's Wordnet.

And, two disclaimers, sort of:
  • This blog is not political, but some of what I believe and discuss inevitably overlaps American and global politics. I'm not going to avoid life-or-death issues because they're "political."
  • Despite what 'everybody knows,' the Catholic Church doesn't dictate goodsex.

Totalitarianism Isn't What it Used to Be

Society and politics have changed a bit since 1949, when George Orwell wrote 1984.
  • Today's America isn't concerned about the Soviet Union having The Bomb
    • Partly because there's no Soviet Union around these days
  • DVDs are replacing the CDs that supplanted vinyl albums
    • The 45 rpm record has gone from cutting-edge technology to museum piece
  • You're not likely to hear " 'A' You're Adorable" ("The Alphabet Song") on the radio, sung by Perry Como or anyone else.
  • You may know - and care - that Louis St. Laurent defeated George A. Drew in the 1949 Canadian Federal Election: but the odds are that you never heard of either of them
Totalitarianism has changed, too. Sort of. The idea is still the same:
absolutism, totalitarianism
the principle of complete and unrestricted power in government
dictatorship, absolutism, authoritarianism, Caesarism, despotism, monocracy, one-man rule, ... Stalinism, totalitarianism, tyranny "(a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.))"
Back in 1949, the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin had his fans: But his forward-looking approach to improving the worker's paradise for future generations has made his name part of a definition of totalitarianism.

Even those who still hold the ideals of Stalin in high regard see another 20th century leader as "totalitarian." In fact, Chancellor Adolph Hitler's efforts to reform Germany made the anglicized form of his party synonymous with brutal suppression and totalitarianism.
Everybody I Disagree with is NOT a Nazi
Chancellor Hitler's policies of national socialism are, as a rule, not an issue these days: so I'm not likely to call anyone a "Nazi," or describe totalitarian ideas or behavior as "fascist." Besides, those words, as epithets, have been used so often for so long that I'd want to avoid them on stylistic grounds.

That said, totalitarianism is alive and well: and living in America today.
American Academia: The Eighties are Over
I was on campus as a student in the eighties (and the seventies and sixties, for that matter), and remember the month when the official non-racist word or phrase for people whose ancestors walked across the Bering Strait 20,000 or so years ago changed at approximately weekly intervals. Officially. We were informed, in class, that last week's word or phrase was now racist, and what the new word or phrase was. The 'good old days' those weren't.

You may not remember that sort of thing, and it's possible that you haven't read about them. See crimestop and unperson, above.

Don't be Alarmed: But Do be Aware

I do not seriously think that America is under the control of some latter-day Stalin or Hitler. I do, however, think that any time when a society's guiding institutions are dominated by people with very similar assumptions there's a tendency towards totalitarianism.

I'll be writing about specific examples as this blog evolves.

More-or-less related posts:

No comments:

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More


Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.