For most people, the George Orwell classic ‘1984’ is a book all about how Big Brother is watching you and the dangers of governmental overreach.
Sorry. Those people are wrong.
As your local literary nerd or barista can tell you, ‘1984’ is actually a book about controlling people’s thought through manipulation of language. While surveillance was a prominent plot device, it was the forced adoption and continual revision of Newspeak that was the book’s main terror.
This horror is now manifesting itself in the real world thanks to Donald Trump and his administration’s absurdly draconian mandate for the Centers For Disease Control regarding language in budgets and official documents.
CDC officials held a briefing this week for their policy advisors relaying the executive mandate, barring them from using the words “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based” in any official capacity. As if it couldn’t be any scarier, the staff was provided with “alternative phrases” to use in place of the newly minted yesterday words.
Yes, this is real life.
It’s painfully obvious what the troglodytes from the Trump Administration are trying to pull here. They wish to influence what science the public receives by effectively eliminating the ideology they don’t like. File this right next to the EPA report from October that had the words “climate change” completely removed from it, as well as the selective editing of the White House website… and you have yourself a case study in the genesis of INGSOC.
In the book, ‘1984’ the surveillance people always point to was minimal at best. In reality, only party members were under surveillance. Think back to when you read the book and you’ll remember that both the Outer and Inner Party made up less than 10% of the Oceana population. The other 90% was the proletariat, about whom INGSOC could not care less. The proles were allowed to go about their business freely without harassment. It was their language, however, that was under strict control — preventing revolution.
Newspeak was ever-evolving as Minitruth officials worked tirelessly to eliminate more and more words from the vocabulary. This was the way they controlled thought and stifled dissent. Remove the word “disagree” and replace it with “thoughtcrime” and you have yourself a pacified population. Welcome to Trump’s America.
The thing about Donald Trump is that he was elected because his supporters are too stupid to know any better. Even a B- in 10th grade Social Studies is enough to know that most of what Trump says is absolute baloney. Now he wants to control the truth by eliminating it from the language. What better way to cover up a lie than to remove its alternative?
Orwell warned us about this. He stated plainly in ‘1984’ that if you let the government control how you express things, that’s how dystopia happens. Trump only wants blind loyalty to his cause and will eliminate the possibility for truth to disprove him. Or, to put it in Newspeak… oldthink ref thoughtcrime. bellyfeel bblove.
And there you have it.