Wednesday, January 25, 2012


In George Orwell’s 1949 satire Nineteen Eighty-Four, he describes an imposed language reform (Newspeak) meant to control both thought and expression in the citizenry. The big question in 2012 is: How long is it going to take Newt Gingrich supporters to reject the authoritarian, right-wing, hubristic “Ministry of Truth” version they so thoughtlessly leap to their feet to applaud?1

If Newt wins, here is a prediction: Within four years or less, America will know she was suckered by Newtspeak — a depressing, 21st Century, déjà vu remake of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
The purpose of [Newtspeak] was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of [Newt], but to make all other modes of thought [and inquiry scorned or] impossible. It was intended that when [Newtspeak] had been adopted once and for all and [Moralspeak] forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging from the principles [and ideas] of [Newt] — should be literally unthinkable [and unspeakable]. …

[Newtspeak] was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words [and questions] down to a minimum [that he was willing to answer]. …

Countless … words such as honor, justice, morality, … democracy, science, [accountability, integrity] … meant almost the exact opposite of what they appeared to mean. Some words, on the other hand, displayed a frank and contemptuous understanding of the real nature of [American] society. … Other words, again, were ambivalent, having the connotation ‘good’ when applied to [Newt & company] and ‘bad’ when applied to [his] enemies.

(From pp. 241-247, Appendix “The Principles of Newspeak” Nineteen Eight-Four by George Orwell, Penguin Modern Classics.)
1. Newt’s competitors seem to have their own Orwellian “Ministries of Truth” but there is something about Newt and hubris (e.g. “despicable” media questions vis-à-vis despicable candidate behavior) that are predictive of unpleasant times ahead if America doesn’t get a better moral compass. What makes us think that Newt will honor a (renewed/revised?) "Contract with America" when he has been unable in several instances to honor far more personal contracts?
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