Newspeak as a Certain Indication of Evil

Quick recap of our current situation, from Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language” (from Wikipedia, ironically, a craven haven of Newspeak*):

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.

In 1984, Orwell spelled out Newspeak, where the process described above reaches completion:

Newspeak is the fictional language in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, written by George Orwell. It is a reduced language created by the totalitarianstate as a tool to limit free thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individualitypeace, etc. Any form of thought alternative to the party’s construct is classified as “thoughtcrime,” “crimethink,” or “doublethink.”

Newspeak is explained in chapters 4 and 5 of Nineteen Eighty-Four, and in an appendix to the book. The language follows, for the most part, the same grammatical rules as English, but has a much more limiting, and constantly shifting vocabulary. Any synonyms or antonyms, along with undesirable concepts are eradicated. The goal is for everyone to be speaking this language by the year 2050 (the story is set in the year 1984—hence the title). In the mean time, Oldspeak (current English) is still spoken among the working class citizens of Oceania, or the Proles.

As in so many other ways, “progress”, which when used politically means movement toward an undefinable but nonetheless conclusively presumed better future, has been made since Orwell wrote, so that we’ve gotten closer to the world described in 1984: certain thoughts have, due to the constraints of socially acceptable language, simply become unthinkable.

Unthinkable by whom, one might ask. Orwell notes that the Proles still use Oldspeak – it’s only the elites and those who aspire to elite status who use Newspeak consistently. In addition to its functions of  numbing the conscience and promulgating lies, Newspeak, acts as a shibboleth: the right kind of people just don’t say things that cannot be said in Newspeak. This leads to such horrors as “unorthodox abortion”  – murdering a newborn child with scissors – and “product of conception” – a baby.

But my mind goes dark if I contemplate the reality behind those particular examples of Newspeak, so let’s switch gears from the murderous and insane to the merely destructive and insane: gay marriage.

Why is the term ‘gay marriage’ Newspeak? Because it combines several misdirections and contradictions intended to stop a certain line of thinking and make a lie inevitable: the Oldspeak line of thinking under which no possible relationship between two men or two women could possibly be considered ‘marriage’.

Note that reacting negatively to the use of Newspeak is not to say that there are not arguments for the relationships intended to be described by the term ‘gay marriage’. As Orwell mentions in regard to Hiroshima, Soviet Russian purges and British Imperialism, gay marriage  can indeed be defended, “…but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties.”

Translating the Newspeak back into English, and explaining the motivation behind it:

Marriage is a right that cannot be denied to people because of their sexual orientation.

Marriage is an outmoded institution that keeps people from fully committing to the program of the modern state. Therefore, the state, following its own inexorable internal logic, will use any means handy to destroy it.  So far, no fault divorce and successful state-funded efforts to make contraception and abortion ubiquitous and free or nearly free (and Obamacare aims to fix even the small cost now incurred to remain childless) have *almost* completely destroyed marriage and family. Now, the state will use the ginned-up ‘rights’ of another client population to complete the process.

Opponents of gay marriage are homophobes and bigots.

The logical basis for arguments in favor of redefining marriage to include virtually any relationship anyone cares to want to call marriage is pretty shaky. Besides, calm, rational discussion doesn’t favor sudden, enforced, radical change – thoughtfulness often leads to slowing down. Far better to paint opponents as people of bad will, or, really, as non-persons (see Orwell again).  Aside: this is why opponents are more often than not portrayed in the press as crazies. That tens of millions of normal people who don’t wish harm on anybody also want the word ‘marriage’ to retain some meaning is a fact rarely acknowledged.

Homophobia must not be tolerated.

Laws must be established so that anyone who expresses any reservations about ‘gay marriage’ can be summarily silenced. All economic activities – say, renting a hall for a wedding reception or hiring a wedding photographer – must be restructured to reflect absolute equivalence between homosexual relationships and marriage.  The state must punish offenders promptly and severely.

One last, from Darwin Catholic:

President Obama announces that his thinking on gay marriage has evolved.

President Obama has finally decided it’s expedient to be honest about what he thinks about gay marriage.

* In the Wiki article on Newspeak, the example they use for modern politics is ‘voter revolt’. Because, it is pointed out, leftist don’t do Newspeak. Hi-freakin’-larious.

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Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

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