Are you behind on Newspeak? Are you still using Oldspeak terms like “freedom?” If so, it’s time to update your vocabulary, abandoning useless words that clutter your brain. Master Newspeak, and you’ll never have to think again.
“But wait,” you say, “I enjoy thinking!”
Of course you do. And so did Winston Smith in 1984, right up until his holiday in the Ministry of Love. While Orwell depicts the experience as torture, it was really the Igsoc version of retraining, which I am happy to provide here, minus the starvation.
As Winston’s guide, O’Brien, explains, “The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love and justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement.” To magnify those emotions, Newspeak bypasses reason. Consider these examples from the dictionary’s latest edition:
Capitalism: This word is the magic eraser of arguments. It wipes away any opposing argument by evoking images of bankers wearing top hats and monocles, all the better to see their filthy lucre. If your teachers’ union wants a raise, just yell, “Our fight is against capitalism.” No one will realize that you’re the one after money.
Justice: This word is the butter of arguments. It makes any demand palatable because it is accompanied by something everyone knows is pleasing. When an educator uses the term “grading justice,” we know it’s fabulous. Why assess learning with uniform standards when you can achieve political goals using children?
Whiteness: This word is the napalm of arguments. While stereotyping is generally considered bad (especially in relation to race), in this context it is good because it is done by a museum partially funded by the government. Whiteness is the perfect weapon because one needs no facts to fuel a discussion: Just drop it and watch your opponent’s arguments go up in smoke.
Yet achieving the Nirvana of Newspeak—the elimination of thought—requires more than mastering terms such as “capitalism” or “justice.” It entails the acceptance of O’Brien’s principle that “reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind . . . only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal.”
Subsuming one’s identity into that of the Party, one can at last channel ideas without thought: Duckspeak. In 1984, Winston sees this phenomenon in a coworker at lunch: “The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words, but it was not speech in the true sense: it was a noise uttered in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck.”
While rare, Duckspeak is sometimes achieved, as in last summer’s speech by a then-PTA official. She spoke in opposition to parents gathering for a “STOP CRT RALLY:”
So let’s meet and remain steadfast in speaking truth, tearing down double standards, and refuting double talk. Let’s not allow any double downing on lies. Let’s prepare our children for a world they deserve. Let’s deny this off-key band of people that are anti-education, anti-teacher, anti-equity, anti-history, anti-racial reckoning, anti-opportunities, anti-help people, anti-diversity, anti-platform, anti-science, anti-change agent, anti-social justice, anti-healthcare, anti-worker, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-children, anti-healthcare, anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-admissions policy change, anti-inclusion, anti-live-and-let live people. Let them die. [everyone cheers]Don’t let these uncomfortable people deter us from our bold march forward.
Despite the speaker’s rejection of “double talk,” in Newspeak we would call this speech “double-plus good.” The speaker gushes talking points, even mindlessly repeating phrases (“anti-healthcare, anti-worker”). Furthermore, the speaker abandons all pretense of thought in labeling the protesting parents “anti-children.”
But her real point, of course, is “Let them die.” Why should these “uncomfortable people” disturb the Party’s sense of what’s best for education?
In 1984, the ruling Party is not about life, but power. As O’Brien tells Winston, “Power is collective. The individual has power insofar as he ceases to be an individual.” Humans die, but if an individual can “merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal.”
To master the Newspeak of 2022, you must subsume yourself within the collective. You must reject “oldthink” and the “kind of trash” that advocates individual rights. Above all, you must accept the language that diminishes your ability to think for yourself. Only then, my friends, will you and our society become as goodthinkful as that in 1984.