Almost anywhere one looks today, it seems that Newspeak (the controlled language created by George Orwell in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four) is busting out all over. From politics, to culture, to society, to literary awards, and Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all, we just can't get away from it. Everyone's trying to pigeonhole everyone else, stick labels on them, throw mud at them, and so on - all while trying to avoid those seeking to do the same to them.
Last year Daniel Hannan wrote a very useful introduction to the field of Newspeak. Here's an excerpt.
Orwell got one thing uncannily right. In an appendix to his dystopian novel, he discussed how an idea could be made literally unthinkable if there were no words to express it. The illustration he gave was the word “free.” In Newspeak, “free” could be used only in the sense of “this field is free from weeds” or “this dog is free from lice.” The concept of political or intellectual freedom had disappeared, because no one could put it into words.
What an eerily prescient example to have chosen. In recent years this is more or less what has happened to the word “free.” In 1948, “freedom” still had its traditional meaning of a guarantee against coercion: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of worship. Since then, however, “freedom” has come to mean “entitlement,” as in “freedom to work,” “freedom from hunger,” “freedom from discrimination,” and so on. Thus, the notion that the state ought not to boss us around becomes harder to convey, and the politician who supports that notion is disadvantaged.
Any discussion of the relationship between government and citizen is perforce conducted in loaded terms. You can still make the case for greater liberty, but not without sounding rather mean. A glossary will give some indication of how loaded the linguistics are against conservatives.
. . .
DIVERSITY: People who look different but think the same way. Diversity applies to race, sex, disability, and sexual orientation. It emphatically does not apply to opinion. Indeed, when it comes to political views, it has taken on more or less the opposite of its Oldspeak meaning.
GREED: Wanting to keep your own money.
NEED: Wanting to be given someone else’s.
COMPASSION: A politician arranging the transfer.
. . .
In such a climate, it is difficult for a “right-wing” party which favors “tax cuts” and “profit” and the rest to make its case. People’s ears are not primed to appreciate the cadences of the conservative message. The very words we use condemn us as heartless blimps before we’ve started setting out our arguments.
Leftists grasped all this long ago. Gramsci, Derrida, and others deliberately set out to affect a semantic shift that would thwart their opponents. It happened to their languages, and now it is happening to ours. Until we can reclaim our vocabulary, we will always be playing with a handicap.
There's more at the link, including many more 'revised' Newspeak variations on common words.
Vox Day has gone further, writing a usefully short and very readable book titled 'SJW's Always Lie'. I highly recommend it as a primer on the current left-wing, progressive brouhaha we're experiencing in politics, literature and anywhere else they can dig in their claws. (It's free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers, and only $4.99 to buy in e-book form, so it won't break your budget.)
There is such a thing as language that's dishonest in itself. This election cycle is full of it. The more we're aware of it, the better we'll be able to vote as informed citizens.