Words Matter – Newspeak in the Modern Age

I have a good friend who I deployed with who was fond of reminding me (and everyone else that would listen) that ‘words matter.’  I took his admonition to heart and have since made a hobby of listening to how our language is evolving and is often manipulated to achieve one political agenda or another.  It’s amazing how a little language tweak can hide the complexities of an issue, get folks to ride an emotional wave in a new direction or even stand an argument on its head.  What’s particularly troubling is when language is purposefully manipulated to make the abridgement of freedoms more acceptable or reduce self reliance.

I’ve written previously about George Orwell’s admonitions against collectivism and specifically the premise behind what Orwell called ‘Newspeak’ in his classic book 1984.  Newspeak was a modification to the language so that ‘Big Brother’ could exert greater control and change the way people think.  By modifying the language, Big Brother hoped to eliminate ‘thoughtcrime’ and the drive for freedom.

While we are fortunate enough to live in a society that is still ruled more by law than by man, there is a potential tyranny to such language manipulation and even some language changes made under the cover of ‘political correctness.’  While these manipulations aren’t centralized (as in from Big Brother’s government) in their origin they still represent our own version of Newspeak.

One recent example of this phenomena was when Rep. John Conyers Jr. admonished the House Judiciary Committee:

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The Intellectual Prepper Paradigm

Andrew’s Note:  Today’s article is on the creating an Intellectual Prepper Paradigm and having the intellectual honesty to face your own blind spots so that you can think clearly and take care of yourself and your family.

At a dinner with my daughters a few years ago I posed a question to them to assess their knowledge of the world, their education and world outlook…I already knew how intelligent they are.  The question I asked them is:

Are all cultures equally valid? (more…)

President to Newspeak @ Blackwhite Stadium

In his book, 1984, George Orwell described a despotic society so controlling that it modified the English language to make ‘thoughtcrime’…unthinkable.  The language Orwell described as ‘Newspeak’ was based on English but pared down to the absolute minimum with all words used to describe politically incorrect ideas removed.

…two emails from the DNC host committee referring to the Charlotte venue where President Obama will speak as “Panthers Stadium.”

It’s the place where the Panthers play, but it’s actually called Bank of America stadium.

via Welcome to ‘Panthers Stadium’ (UPDATED) – POLITICO.com.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) seems to be engaging in a bit of ‘Newspeak’ of its own.  It seems that all the money Bank of America (BOA) spent to have the stadium named after the company wasn’t good enough for the DNC to call it by…its name.  Maybe if Bank of America didn’t fit into the ‘evil bankers’ dialog they wouldn’t have had their (named) stadium renamed by the DNC.  Yes, BOA has been at the center of mortgage transfer scandals…but this is just one example of the spin and massaging of the dialog that has become more and more commonplace recently.  For further examples just look at how many entitlements are now being described as ‘rights’ by Democratic politicians.

In case you think I’m unfairly targeting one party let me assure you that the Republicans massage the language as well…imagine how hard it would have been to pass the “Trade a Bunch of Your Freedoms in For a False Sense of Security Act” during the Bush presidency.  Doesn’t ‘The Patriot Act’ sound so much more appealing…if less accurate.

Blackwhite– The ability to accept whatever “truth” the party puts out, no matter how absurd it may be. Orwell described it as “…loyal willingness to say black is white when party discipline demands this. It also means the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know black is white, and forget that one has ever believed the contrary.”

Newspeak – The official language of Oceania. Newspeak is “politically correct” speech taken to its maximum extent. Newspeak is based on standard English, but all words describing “unorthodox” political ideas have been removed. In addition, there was an attempt to remove the overall number of words in general, to limit the range of ideas that could be expressed.

via Newspeak Dictionary

Andrew’s Note:  As of 9/15/2012 the Newspeak Dictionary Website has been down for a couple of weeks.  I’ll keep the link active for now in the hopes that it’s a temporary situation.

Also check out our Newspeak dictionary that focuses on the reality of Newspeak in the world today.  We call it Newspeak, A Modern Political Dictionary.  Do you have a Newspeak term you’d like us to highlight on Prepography?  If so, use Submit A Prep Tip.

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