Wednesday December 9, 2020
George Orwell pointed out that one of the first casualties of socialism is language. The damage is not collateral, it is deliberate—designed to numb minds and render critical thought difficult or impossible. The instrument of this dumbing down in Nineteen Eighty-Four was Newspeak, the official language of the English Socialist Party (Ingsoc).
Newspeak was a sort of totalitarian Esperanto that sought gradually to diminish the range of what was thinkable by eliminating, contracting, and manufacturing words. New words had a “political implication” and “were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them.” The meaning of words was often reversed, as was most starkly emphasized in the key slogans of Ingsoc:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH