Did you read Orwell’s 1984? It has been years since I read it, but something is very much happening in today’s society that called it to mind. And we need to be aware many of us are guilty of falling for it.
George Orwell introduced the concepts of Doublethink and Newspeak. Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and the Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought – that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc – should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.
Today, in America, we definitely have DOUBLESPEAK, what some suggest is a combination of these dystopian concepts. With Doublespeak, we have gotten used to names of things without realizing they actually are about the opposite of what they seem.
For example, in reaction to the horrible events of 9/11 the United States established the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act was passed. The Patriot Act, in the name of protection, limited numerous personal freedoms we were used to. If you, like me, raised concern, you were also told you were being unpatriotic. Now, so many years after just about everyone waved the flag in solidarity, we are beginning to get pretty uncomfortable. The Patriot Act comes up for renewal again in 2015. You will not be unpatriotic if you look into the restrictions it will continue and decide enough is enough,so contact your Congressional representatives. But overall, because the war is not won, society may tell you that you are unpatriotic just because of the name.
Another word that seems to have doublespeak usage is “tolerance”. Not too long ago, American society defined it as living peacefully with people who may disagree with you. This grew out of a biblical context of humility before God and the command to love your neighbor. Now, a large group of American society believes it means concepts are being forced down their throat giving equality to groups who do not deserve that. Tolerance has become a dirty word for some of our community.
In the last week there has been a new movie called American Sniper and many people are lauding it as a well directed effort by Clint Eastwood commemorating the actions of Navy Seal Chris Kyle. Texas has declared a Chris Kyle Day and many say he was a hero. I have been watching the comments as they show up on my Facebook feed, first laudatory, then damning, then kickback. So, what’s the problem and the tie-in to doublespeak?
Our society has had a continuing deteriorating war on many levels in the Middle East and against Muslim terrorists who want the world revised to their way of life. We got into one war to chase the man who we were told masterminded the 9/11 attack on the United States. We got into another war to destroy the weapons of mass destruction we were told might be used against us. Any discussion in those days, when I urged people to think carefully about the clarity of that information was turned against me and others as unpatriotic.
We sent our young people to fight there. We hoped to turn those nations around, to instill in the people there a sense of opportunity for democracy and fair treatment. Instead we have more tribal and religious flighting and a overall all consuming hatred of the people as a group. We have become a mirror to what we were trying to fix.
The American Sniper movie is partially appealing because it says things many think-that these are not really people but “damn savages.” It offers a glorification of an extreme skill that traditionally we have not discussed in a laudatory way but anyone who shoots can admire.
The people who are distressed by this movie indicate the book itself includes inaccuracies. They are also concerned that while Chris Kyle saw the world as good versus evil, Clint Eastwood has many shades of partial right and wrong throughout the movie, and the typical proponent is not discussing much of that.
Life is not all good nor all evil. And when you jump on the bandwagon and condemn anyone who raises a different point of view, you are adding to doublespeak. My questioning the loud support for this movie does not make me unpatriotic. I am a person who is very concerned about the mental state of our military and vets. My questions show I am a citizen of a wonderful country where the right to speak truth clearly and with full understanding is our right and also our obligation.
If you get sucked into something because it appeals to your sense of outrage, take a step back and a deep breath. Do some thinking, not just emoting. THINK. Then speak your truth but remember, there are many experiences out there, so many different viewpoints. When you try to shut them up, you are contributing to making this a nation that is very narrow minded.