By Thomas Mitchell
A New York Times story (accessible for subscribers only) on the cover of the Sun insert in the Saturday morning paper quoted a book writer as saying that “Trump sought to ‘remake reality through language’ during a tumultuous tenure. As she writes in her book, the former president ‘changed some of the deepest expectations about presidential language, not just when it comes to style, but also the relationship between words and reality.’
“Now officials in Biden’s administration are using Trump’s own tactics to adjust reality again, this time by erasing the words his
predecessor used and by explicitly returning to ones that had been banished.”
Erasing words? Changing the meaning of words in order to change reality? Oh come on. Will somebody come out and say it out loud?
OK, the Times writer did get around to it well down in the tale. “It’s kind of Orwellian — that’s what it is, really,” the NYT quoted Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, as saying. “The war against the word ‘alien’ is a continuation of this effort to destigmatize illegal immigration that started in the mid-1970s. This is in a sense the culmination of that
Orwell, who learned the propaganda trade during World War II while working for the BBC, was a prophet. The current wordsmanship is nothing new.
As I noted in 2009: George Orwell recognized this phenomenon and invented in “1984” the word newspeak to describe it. Newspeak was Big Brother’s way of trying to prevent “thoughtcrime” — which is why we have laws against certain hate crimes. Never mind that the act itself is a crime but it is doubly so if you have a motive that offends the sensitive ones.
And offending someone, anyone, is now the ultimate offense.
Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano doesn’t want to offend people who might want to blow us up by calling them by some offensive term like terrorist. Now she has now decided to call them the creators of man-caused disasters, like flying loaded passenger airliners into high-rise buildings.
Our one-worlder president doesn’t believe in fighting a global war against man-caused disasters. His Defense Department (They don’t call it the War Department anymore) sent out a memo saying: “this administration prefers to avoid using the term ‘Long War’ or ‘Global War on Terror’ [GWOT.] Please use ‘Overseas Contingency Operation.’”
That sounds so much better. I am relieved that the war on terror is over over there and here and everywhere.
“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?” Orwell wrote in “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” “In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”
Welcome to 1984, again.
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Thomas Mitchell is a former newspaper editor who now writes conservative/libertarian columns for weekly papers in Nevada. You may email Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at http://4thst8.wordpress.com/.
By Thomas Mitchell