ADRIAN OSBORNE: Orwellian 'Newspeak' Is Growing Common
For many of us, George Orwell's classic novel "1984" was mandatory reading in school.
If you have never read it, the author writes of a future dictatorship called Oceania. The rulers of Oceania keep absolute control of the people by the use of fear and, strangely enough, by creating a new language called "newspeak."
If you can control words, you can control people's minds. New words were introduced for political purposes. For example "goodthink" meant following the party line. "Crimethink" was a thought crime, and the thought police would track you down. Incidentally, "goodsex" meant chastity.
The people of Oceania lived in absolute terror because the state had taken away their right to privacy. Loudspeakers would blare, "Big Brother is watching you."
Life does imitate art. Today, we have politicians who know they can retain power if citizens are kept in a state of fear. And examples of newspeak are beginning to appear in our English language. We have all heard the word "evildoers." Scary, isn't it? But the word itself is murky.
My favorite Washington murky expression is "they hate us because of our freedom." It makes no sense at all, and it's meant to obscure the truth. Our enemy explicitly told us why they hate us, but our corporation-owned media don't seem to talk about it.
Way back in May 1998, in a PBS "Frontline" interview, Osama Bin Laden said, "The call to war against America was made because America has spearheaded the crusade against the Islamic nations, sending tens of thousands of troops to the land of Saudi Arabia." Again to quote Bin Laden, "Jordan has American bases, and American planes are occupying it. Egypt has a number of American bases. The six Gulf states are all occupied by American bases."
The fact is that from 1990 to 2001, tens of thousands of American combat troops were stationed on the Arabian Peninsula, and the Moslem fundamentalists considered it aggression and occupation. As we know, Bin Laden acted, and we reacted by sending another 130,000 American troops into Iraq, a Muslim country that had nothing to do with the terrorists.
Many experts on the Middle East contend that the longer we keep U.S. troops in Iraq, the more likely there will be another 9/11. So contends esteemed social scientist Professor Robert A. Pape in his book, "Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism."
Pape suggests that a new strategy for victory is necessary, and we need to alter our military policy in the Persian Gulf. We need to rely on the concept of "offshore balancing." Truman and Reagan used foreign assistance to key countries while maintaining a massive offshore rapid deployment force for any crisis that might arise.
We must convince the new, young generation of Muslims that we are not imperialists. However, we can't do that with a straight face while talking democracy and meanwhile exercising military muscle in semifriendly countries that consist of two dictatorships and a number of absolute monarchies.
But back to Oceania, newspeak, and how words can control minds.
In Oceania, "doublethink" meant creating one word, consisting of two words that contradicted each other, and thereby getting people to accept this ridiculous new word. An example of doublethink is President Bush's creation, "Islamofascist."
Islam and fascism contradict each other. When you hear the word Islam, you are conditioned to think "terrorist." The terrorists are specifically a small number of religious fanatics who believe that God talks only to them and God says "kill." This condition is not uncommon in other venues and other crusades.
On the other hand, fascism is a form of government characterized by the following: (1) the suppression of labor unions; (2) private ownership of all means of production without legislative controls; (3) absolute hatred of minorities and homosexuals, most often leading to murder; (4) absolute commitment to the armament industries; (5) extreme militarism and glorification of war; and (6) hostility to the press and a tendency to attack it first and then control it.
If you are perceptive, you may detect at least a hint of fascism in certain extremists in 2006 America.
H. Adrian Osborne lives in Pinehurst.
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