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
personwho was killed by the state, with all references erased from books, photographs, articles and historical records
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 BeSociety 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
- 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.))"
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 NaziChancellor 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 OverI 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 AwareI 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:
- "The Pope, Angola, and the News: No Wonder 'Everybody Knows' What Those Catholics Are Like"
(March 22, 2009)
- ""Get f****d, Catholic Church" - It Comes With the Territory"
(March 18, 2009)
- "Good News from Africa: But Some People Won't Like It"
(March 17, 2009)
- "Sex, Condoms, AIDS, an 'Immoral' Pope, and What Everybody Knows"
(March 17, 2009)
- "The Catholic Church and Homosexuals: Harsh and Soft, Judgmental and Understanding"
(March 13, 2009)
- "CCSU Students Talk About Guns: Naturally, Their Professor Called the Police"
Another War-on-Terror Blog (March 4, 2009)
- "Murderous Muslims, Catholic Extermination Camps, and Common Sense"
Another War-on-Terror Blog (February 8, 2009)
- "Castro, Cuba, Guevara, Traditional Gatekeepers, and the Information Age"
Another War-on-Terror Blog (January 30, 2009)
- "William Felkner vs. College Conformity: Traditional Information Gatekeepers Face Another Challenge"
Another War-on-Terror Blog (December 16, 2008)
- "Conservative? Liberal? Democrat? Republican? No, I'm Catholic"
(November 3, 2008)
- "Maryland State Police to "Terrorist" Nuns: Oops, Our Bad"
Another War-on-Terror Blog (October 11, 2008)
- "Tolerance, Opinions, Newspeak, and Today's America "
Another War-on-Terror Blog (March 13, 2008)
- "Academia Listens to All Sides, and Brooklyn Bridge is For Sale"
Another War-on-Terror Blog (September 23, 2007)
- "Doublethink, Doctors, and Dumb Ideas"
Another War-on-Terror Blog (July 3, 2007)