Tag Archives: Orwell

The Age of Newspeak

Big Broghrt

One of the mistakes made by people who read George Orwell’s 1984 is that he was just righting about the threat of Soviet Communism. He wasn’t. 1984 was published in 1948 and this numeric relationship is not unintentional. George Orwell was a Socialist but a rabbit anti Communist. He also knew how people will use words to hide what they really mean. That is why NewSpeak is so important. That is why Oceania and EngSoc bear so little resemblance to any kind of Socialist state. When looked at closely Oceania looks more like a National Socialist sate (that is Nazi Germany) or a Stalinist Communist state. An just what does this have to do with NewSpeak? Just this.

Both states used what Orwell called Newspeak to the maximum extent possible. When I was studying Russian in the late 70’s my Russian teacher told the class a Russian saying. “There is no truth in News and no news in Truth”. The two major newspapers in the USSR were Pravda (the Truth) and Izvestia (News). It is quite telling when the two major sources of information are so characterize. The same could be said about all of the news sources coming out of the Nazi Germany although the Nazi’s were content with just seating up a ministry of Propaganda. In both cases it was up to the individual to understand just what the ‘leaders’ were actually saying and what should be done. That is the leaders were speaking using ‘code’ words.

This kind of speaking by leaders, or anyone for that mater is not new, it has been going on ever sense humans started to speak. It is quit often used by leaders to get someone to do something while giving the leader ‘plausible denial’ if it what is done comes to like. What’s new now is the general acceptance in the United States of the use of NewSpeak not just occasionally, but every day. Not just by some of our leaders, our mover & shakers, or anyone who want’s to influence the populous. It has gotten so bad it is both blatant and obvious to even the most casual observer.

For me, as an Amateur Historian, it reminds me more of the situation in the USA in the 1850’s. Every movement, religious, political, or what not, had it’s own newspaper. None of these newspapers even attempted to pretend any kind of objectivity but they often did speak in code words. Some of the code words were old, like “Peculiar Institution” for Slavery. Or “Manifest Destiny” for stealing Indian lands. But unlike today they were not hypocritical about their bias, they openly admitted it. Now we don’t.

I think this is a hold over from the dawn of electronic mss communication with the advent of Radio. (Interesting point it still has not been 100 years since the first commercial radio station went on the air.). At this same time a new ideal was taken hold in news reporting. The idea of objectivity. This was a very radical idea and was fought tough an nail for many years. It seems to have lost. Starting with the end of the ‘Fairness Doctrine” for Radio/TV in the Reagan administration the idea of objective reporting as been disappearing. The ideal still exists but it is in the ICU in the age of the internet. We need to do something NOW to resurrect it.

This is not impossible. What we need is one or more of our Techno-Genus’s to start working on a way to quickly, effortlessly, and reliably fact check what we see on the interned and in Social Media. I propose this effort start with some way to identify the “point of origin” of any and all posting. Next is a way to block on any social media postings from a source. Next we need a way of identifying just who is who. I mean do you really know just who is funding and/or running “the Good Guys Group”? Right now you may not even find out that they are a corporate entity based somewhere in the Federated States of Micronesia, on an island with a listed population of 0 (zero).

None of this is anymore impossible than what we take for granted today. Look around you, every person you see walking around you with a Cell Phone is walking around with a portable computer more powerful than ALL of the computers used to land men on the moon 50 years ago. Almost none of the software running on you cell phone was even dreamed of 50 years ago, some wasn’t even an idea 10 years ago. So what you and I need to do is start asking for, no demanding, technology that will take away the Antonymy of people who post on the internet and Social Media. It looked like a good idea, but it wasn’t.