I remember standing before my congregation on the first Sunday of 1984 and telling them that my New Year’s resolution was not to invoke Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.This despite the fact that I consider Orwell one of the finest craftsmen in the English language. Twenty seven years have passed, that is long enough to hold silent.
It is generally acknowledged that if a lie is repeated for long enough then it eventually becomes accepted as true. What we forget, and Orwell knew and warned us about, is what follows the lie. Power follows lies.
Real power is the ability to define what the fight is about. Once you have the power to define the arena of debate you are the dealer in a rigged game. If you control words you control truth. Orwell understood this so well that he believed one of the first things every totalitarian ideology does is redefine the words in a language, purposefully, forcefully and relentlessly. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, he called this artificial language of totalitarianism Newspeak.
Orwell knew from bitter experience, especially in Spain, that you will not prevail merely because you are right. If you know something but can’t communicate it, it’s as though you don’t know it at all. Take away the words and you take away the power to express a contrary thought. The most effective way to do this is to manipulate words until they mean only what your narrative says they should say. Meanings can be changed until they are the only allowable meanings remaining.
In 1984 the purpose of Newspeak was much more than providing a medium of expression for the world-view proper to the subjects of IngSoc, it was to make all other modes of thought impossible. As the philologist Syme says to Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four: “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? . . . Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness is smaller.”
When Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, any heretical thought — that is any thought diverging from the principles of IngSoc — would become literally unthinkable. Newspeak vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often subtle expression to every meaning a Party member could properly wish to express, while rigorously excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of any secondary meaning whatever.
Today’s progressive imperialists read Nineteen Eighty-Four not as a warning but as an instruction manual. Thus in the name of freedom of expression we have penalising of the expression of the disapproval of any behaviours deemed acceptable by the powerful.
In a recent judgement Lady Hale extended the definition of domestic violence to include shouting and being short with the housekeeping. In 1996 Parliament passed the Housing Act. Our elected representatives were well aware of all the gradations of behaviour between couples ranging from grumbling and moaning to punching and kicking. They had to decide when rehousing at public expense could be justified. They set the bar high, actual violence or a credible threat of violence.
Lady Hale seems to accept that they meant physical violence. If Parliament had meant to give new houses to people who were shouted at or kept short of housekeeping they would have said so. But Lady Hale obviously thinks that shouting between couples is insupportable and therefore redefines violence by fiat.‘It is not for government and official bodies to interpret the meaning of the words which Parliament has used. That role lies with the courts.’ The settled will of the people as expressed by their elected representatives is to Lady Hale meaningless, she redefines language to suit her worldview, and the rest of us have to live with that new definition.
That the redefinition of language, as in Nineteen Eighty-Four, also causes alliances just as weird as the Hitler/Stalin pact should not surprise us. This is the same crypto-totalitarian philosophy which allowed French intellectual Michel Foucault, a homosexual, to enthusiastically embrace the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran where homosexuals were – and still are – routinely murdered for their sexuality. We shouldn’t look for the dots to be connected, that is so Oldspeak.
The progressive’s motives in censoring speech and altering laws are usually ascribed to what is popularly known as political correctness. In actuality PC is the public face of cultural relativism, a tool used in the power grab of the intellectually rootless who wish to replace the existing Enlightenment based social order with a more malleable structure which allows them to follow their own desires without hindrance of reason or logic.
The progressive, from the oh so cultured manipulator of the broadcasting media to the trendy middle class nihilist who considers cocain harmless and Fankie Boyle funny, is not interested in truth, he and she are interested in one thing, the power to remake society in their own image.
There is only one recourse for the rational – John 8:31-32.