George Orwell and 1984 – A Special Report by Visibility 9-11

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Much of the information in this page was originally published in the November 2007 Visibility 9-11 Newsletter.  Unfortunately due to time restraints, the newsletter was only produced for 3 months.  However, the content here is too valuable to not have it’s own prominent place at this website.  Therefore, the content with information regarding George Orwell, 1984, and how it applies to us today, is reproduced on this page.

Dear Friends,

Another month has passed and much has happened, even in the last 30 days to advance the cause for truth surrounding the events of September 11th. Be sure and check 911Blogger every day for all the daily 9-11 related news and happenings. If you don’t have an account there, create one. Then you can host your own blog and post 9-11 related information that you either create or come across. With many visitors/bloggers contributing, it can better be insured that nothing important will get by us. It’s a team effort and thanks to the 911Blogger team and all of its contributors!

Each month brings us closer and closer to our goal of realizing a new and truly independent investigation which will hold those responsible for their crimes, not only those crimes of 9-11 itself, but the crimes of the cover-up of 9-11, the subsequent assault on our freedoms, and the lies and un-Constitutional wars we have been dragged into. More and more activists are carrying the torch of 9-11 truth and are becoming educated and aware of just how out of control our government really is. All across the country, and indeed the world, truthers are picking up the banner for 9-11 truth and hitting the streets. Check out the photos of dedicated activists and consider joining them in your town for the 11th of Every Month Action Campaign. Thanks going out to Cosmos and everyone over at truthaction.org!

I recently watched the movie Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. I have seen the film several times and also read the book and always get something new from watching or reading this work. I highly recommend first, the book, but secondly, the movie is also very well done. As with any book vs. movie, the book is always much better and generally contains far more detail than the movie can provide. This is certainly true in this case…get the book! Perhaps easier than getting the book, you can hear an audio recording of the book here. If you don’t have time or for whatever reason and the book is not an option, you can watch the film production of the book here. Lastly, I put together a program some time ago which consisted of a recording of a radio broadcast from 1948, the year Nineteen Eighty-Four was published, and featured an NBC University Theater production of the work starring David Niven as Winston Smith.

As you look around our world today, after reading Orwell, you cannot help but see this vision taking place before your very eyes. From the perpetual, non-ending war waged by the Ministry of Peace, to the torture emanating from the Ministry of Love, to the prosecution of thought crime by the Thought Police, we see evidence of the methods of control used by Big Brother all around us today. One such Orwellian method of control is vividly illustrated in this month’s newsletter in the article below by Arabesque titled Disinformation and the Misleading and False LIHOP/MIHOP Dichotomy. Albeit subtle and unrecognizable to most people, this article highlights a stunning example of what Orwell called Newspeak.

To better understand how the terms known as LIHOP and MIHOP can be seen as examples of Orwellian Newspeak, it may be helpful to review exactly what Newspeak is to Orwell. In Oceania, where the events in the book take place, Newspeak is the official language of “The Party”. Successive editions of the Newspeak dictionary, rather than getting larger with each edition, got smaller. This was an active and ongoing revision of the language conducted by Big Brother and Ingsoc. Ingsoc is the name of “The Party” ruling over Oceania and itself a Newspeak word meaning “English Socialism”. What is the purpose of Newspeak? To limit individuality by making changes in the language designed to diminish the range of thought, rather than to advance it. By deliberately and gradually eliminating the choice of words, Big Brother could therefore control the people better by eliminating crimethink, the Newspeak word for thought crime. Thought crime was punishable by death in Oceania and Newspeak made it possible to eliminate crimethink by eliminating words in subtle and not so subtle ways. Some words were eliminated altogether; others changed by combining two words, or by using abbreviations and acronyms such as FEMA and Nazi. Speaking of, this use of abbreviations and acronyms is and has been a common tendency of totalitarian regimes.

A real world example of Newspeak can be found in an organization known as Communist International. Just the mere mention of this phrase conjures up images of totalitarianism and all of its manifestations. Want to change people’s perceptions of this organization? Simple. Reference the 11th edition of the Newspeak dictionary and call your organization Cominter. You have effectively removed any thought process that would bring about such negative associations and connotations and for all intents and purposes, changed the language.

Orwell put it best through Winston’s comrade Syme, who worked in the Research Department at the Ministry of Truth, when he spoke about Newspeak saying:

“The Eleventh Edition is the definitive edition. We’re getting the language into its final shape – the shape it’s going to have when nobody speaks anything else. You think our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We’re destroying words – scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We’re cutting the language down to the bone. In the final version of Newspeak there’ll be nothing else. It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. The great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It isn’t only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take ‘good’, for instance. If you have a word like ‘good’, what need is there for a word like ‘bad’? ‘Ungood’ will do just as well – better, because it’s an exact opposite, which the other is not. Or again, if you want a stronger version of ‘good’, what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like ‘excellent’ and ‘splendid’ and all the rest of them? ‘Plusgood’ covers the meaning; or ‘doubleplusgood’ if you want something stronger still. In the final version of Newspeak there’ll be nothing else. The whole notion of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words – in reality, only one word.

Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. There’s no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. It’s merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak.

By the year 2050 – earlier probably – all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron – they’ll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of The Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like “freedom is slavery” when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking – not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”

The whole process of translating Oldspeak into Newspeak was a conscious effort which combined words into easily spoken utterances which could be rapidly spoken and provoked little to no thought in the mind of the speaker. The intention here is to make speech independent of thought, which is what I see in the use of the terms LIHOP/MIHOP. It is essential to understand that thoughts and ideas harmful to Big Brother, especially political thoughts and ideas had to be unclear in the minds of the party members. Newspeak achieved this by naming these harmful thoughts in broad terms. Again, the LIHOP/MIHOP fit these Orwellian Newspeak tactics of language, and in turn, thought processes.

Newspeak worked because it eliminated countless words such as freedom, honor, justice, religion, and other concepts of liberty and equality and brought them all under the single word crimethink, or thought crime. How could the word freedom be understood if its concept was not even known? Similarly, the concepts of rationalism and objectivity were replaced with the word oldthink, a word that became synonymous with the discarded and undesirable past of individual thought. Using words of greater detail and meaning would have been dangerous to anyone in Oceania.

With all this said, I think it important that we examine the work of George Orwell and have the courage to face the similarities of today head on. It goes without saying that we are not quite where Orwell envisioned us to be in the year 1984, however, much of what Orwell had “predicted” is being manifested before our very eyes today. I encourage everyone to read or listen to the book, and to watch the movie. You will be more enriched as a result and will be able to see things from a different perspective. A healthy study of Orwell is a healthy study of society today and will equip you to better recognize the techniques of control which may be being implemented against our activism and ultimately, our society and way of life.

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face …forever.”
— The character O’Brien speaking to Winston Smith, Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Fight Orwell’s vision, or get ready for a boot in your face!

— Michael Wolsey