Have you noticed how our language is changing?
At a congressional hearing on “Birthing While Black,” nearly every politician used the words “birthing people” instead of “women” or “mothers.” Asked why, Shalanda Young, President Joe Biden’s budget director, said, “Our language needs to be more inclusive.”
Activists have also changed “equality” to “equity” and “affirmative action” to “diversity.”
The Associated Press no longer uses “mistress.” It tells reporters to use “companion, friend or lover.”
Worse, certain speech is now labeled “violence.”
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”— George Orwell, 1984
Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell (Jun. 25, 1903-Jan. 21, 1950) has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state.
It’s been more than 70 years since Orwell—dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm—depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984.
Who could have predicted that so many years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, “He loved Big Brother,” we would come to love Big Brother.
“To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone— to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink — greetings!”—George Orwell
1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or “Party,” is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: “Big Brother is watching you.”
We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.
If you read George Orwell’s fictional novel “1984” when you were young, now is an opportune time for a second look. It’s the language of “1984” that’s of particular use.
The book is perhaps most applicable for its exploration of the relationship between nuanced language and thought, and the way dishonest, inaccurate language leads to a breakdown of identity and capacity for independent reasoning.
Curiously, Orwell was originally planning on titling the book “The Last Man in Europe.”
Orwell demonstrated astonishing prescience when he wrote his book about a cartoon and clown world, one we are witnessing today.
By creating nonsensical jargon, called “newspeak,” that’s only understood by the few workers who employ it, the Crime Syndicate kakistocracy limits the potential for communication. When newspeak becomes the only language spoken, the kakistocracy’s control over the population becomes total and absolute.