Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Newspeak is everywhere

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.



Old NFO said...

Between that and PC, we're already doomed...

Rolf said...

if you only read one book all year, read SJWs Always Lie. The intro about how you will be isolated is scarily accurate. And it jibes well, and explained to me clearly, how life was in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" when the bluecaps came to haul you away and silence you. You are in mental darkness, and told nothing, and the "friends" on your side will be asking you how you could be so mean / inconsiderate / sexist / racists / etc. Do NOT EVER concede anything you say can be anything other than reasonable. Do not concede that a soundbite you spoke could be sexist, because you didn't say the soundbite, you said THE WHOLE SENTENCE / PARAGRAPH, and the soundbite is totally different with context.

Read SJWs Always Lie, then Archipelago, then SJWAL again, and you will be creeped out. Trust me on this one... You might lose, but it makes the world for the next would-be victim, and harder for the SJW.

Stan_qaz said...

If you see a friend under attack by SJWs send them a copy of this. If you find yourself under attack and you haven't read the book grab a copy and read it before you do or say anything.

Seriously, if you respond to their attack in a rational manner you are falling into their trap and will deeply regret what you have just done to yourself.

Anonymous said...



Mad Jack said...

I read SJWs Always Lie some months ago. Unless your source of income (or wealth) is completely isolated from society, this is the one book you absolutely should read, and read several times. The author not only successfully defends the title, but also tells you, step by step, what to do when the SJWs attack you.

The idea of an SJW attack on you, personally, is a little like being damaged by marine life. If you don't want to get stung by a jellyfish, stay well away from the ocean. But if you want to enjoy the beach, be aware that the clock is ticking and that you will be stung by a jellyfish (or some other marine life that resents your presence), and it'll hurt. Being an adult, you can deal with it.

JohninMd.(HELP?!??) said...

"We'll be able to vote as informed citizens." Peter, you HAVE seen who got nominated, right? ��

HeroHog said...

Downloaded to my Kindle Fire, iPhone and Laptop!