Wednesday, September 2, 2009


By Robert F. Harkins

In his novel 1984,[1] George Orwell created Oceana, a Stalinist totalitarian state in which Big Brother, its resident despot, ordered that his subjects become fluent in a new language, New Speak. In New Speak, Oceana’s Ministry of Truth corrupted the plain meaning of words with pretense and irrationality. Big Brother forbade the utterance of some words altogether, and coined new words to replace them, words with meanings obtuse and infinitely flexible. In the language of New Speak, Big Brother achieved powers of dissimulation impossible in an old language composed of words, clear, simple and precise. Friedrich A. Hayek, in Road to Serfdom writes of the socialist’s compulsive assault upon words of common meaning:

The people are made to transfer their allegiance from the old gods to the new under the pretense that the new gods really are what their sound instinct had always told them but what before they had only dimly seen. And the most efficient technique to this end is to use the old words but change their meaning. Emphasis added. [2]

While Orwell coined the word New Speak to describe the common lingua of totalitarian states, democracies have embraced it for reasons well known to despots. In democracies, New Speak serves elegantly the same objective as the most sincere mendacity. New Speak shrouds in the fog of obscure words the speaker’s insidious intent. In a language in which words possess only chimerical meanings, a politician fluent in its use, may in the expression of words without substance, alloy truth with falsehood, and first principles with naked ambition.

In New Speak, “ the word ‘truth’ itself ceases to have its old meaning. It describes no longer something to be found, with the individual conscience as the sole arbiter of whether in any particular instance the evidence… warrants a belief; it becomes something to be laid down by authority, something which has to be believed in the interest of the unity of the organized effort and which may have to be altered as the exigencies of this organized effort require it. [3]

Americans, overexposed to New Speak, are beginning to realize that Equality before the law and Equality of result are contradictory ideas that while Equality is enshrined in the plain words of an American Constitution, Equality of Result requires the substitution of a new and irrational meaning repugnant to the words and intent of the Constitution. Alex deToquesville writes that,

“’Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.’” [4]

New Speak is most destructive when it is used to further crooked political ambition. For example, the plain meaning of the word Terrorist has been worked brutally into the American psyche. Americans know what the word means because we have seen the work of terrorists in the fire, chaos and destruction of the Twin Towers. We have seen it the cold-blooded murder of innocent Americans. We have counted, honored and prayed for our dead; and by the shedding of our common blood have come to understand again the brute meaning of the word War.

In American New Speak, the word War has been stricken from the vocabulary. We may well ask, what happened to the war? Is it still being waged against an enemy? If the word War has been abolished, then is it also true to assert in the logic of New Speak, that the enemy has also been abolished? Is the war over? Are Americans the victors? Where are the old words and the speaker who will tell us the truth?

The word Terrorist has been repealed and new words set in its place. What then is the plain meaning of these new words? Overseas Contingency Operation and Man Made Disaster? Are Americans now safe from terrorists because the American government no longer recognizes the word terrorist? Does the wordsmith of this new vocabulary still remember terrorist atrocities, “... the forty-two peace council participants a teenaged suicide bomber killed in Peshawar on March 2, 2008? Or the same number a fedayeen bomber murdered two days earlier in Swat, Pakistan, while attending a funeral? Let alone the fifty-six worshippers killed on December 21, 2007, when a terrorist carrying a bomb packed with nails detonated himself in a Kanaan mosque? The memory of the forty-plus people including children, who lost their lives to bombs placed at a food stall and an amusement park on August 25, 2007, in Hyderabad, India….”[5] If the word Terrorist is now repealed where then have all the terrorists gone?

New Speak is most effective when words of a general meaning are used but not defined. The President has said that the water boarding of three terrorists is inconsistent with American Values. But the word Values is empty of meaning unless the speaker defines precisely what he means when he uses the word. The President, however, will not say what he means. This is New Speak.

In the water boarding of three terrorists Americans acquired intelligence of an imminent terrorist attack. What values did they betray in forcing from killers intelligence that saved American lives? Americans did not shrink from greater violence in World War II. American forces dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and another on Nagasaki. They repeatedly fire bombed Tokyo. They fire bombed Dresden, carpet bombed to rubble most of Berlin, shot from the sky a German and Japanese air force, and destroyed a Japanese navy. They executed Japanese officers for the commission of atrocities upon American prisoners of war. In the aftermath, America tried and executed Germans for their participation in, (to use an execrable example of Nazi New Speak), a Jewish Final Solution. When we consider our warrior history, again, what values have Americans betrayed, and to what values does the President refer when he indicts CIA professionals who used force that did not ultimately harm and that saved thousands of American lives.

How should Americans have dealt with these terrorist killers? Although the terrorists knew the details of the attack on Americans they were also well aware of their rights. Thus, they refused to answer questions, kept their silence, shut up like street-wise hoods, and demanded free lawyers. Had they known of the benefit, they might also have demanded free lap top computers.

The killers were not harmed. They were returned to their cells, continued to enjoy the American service of three 4000-calorie square meals a day. They were provided excellent medical care, given fresh air and an island paradise in which to practice their deadly martial arts. They were free to read from the words of their Prophet and pray to Allah on prayer rugs and Korans paid for by the same family of Americans it was their religious ambition to scourge from the earth. In fact, in an abundance of good will, Americans released terrorists who, forswearing terrorism on their holy oath returned to Al Quaida to join again in the killing of American soldiers. For this, Americans have earned the outrage of a somnambulant Europe and a President who has advertised to the world our American betrayal of American Values he will not name or define.

Where have Americans at war gone astray? After all, these are three stateless killers who defy the laws of war, killers who will not wear uniforms, who camouflage themselves in civilian clothing, who fight, bomb and murder from the cover of civilian men, women and children. They are terrorists who strap explosives to children. Indeed, “Pakistan's top Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, is buying children as young as 7 to serve as suicide bombers in the growing spate of attacks against Pakistani, Afghan and U.S. targets.[6] These are the terrorists who detonate their way to Allah on buses full of Israeli children, in restaurants and hotels where innocent people eat and sleep. They store explosives in mosques. They behead helpless non-combatants. They have sworn themselves to the annihilation of America, all this, in return for the pleasures of thirty dark eyed virgins?

The President’s ambiguity in the use of the words values when America is at war, is New Speak: The President said there were other ways, true to our values that this intelligence could have been immediately obtained. What are these other ways? If, in fact, there were no other ways of obtaining this intelligence then what should these Americans have done? What would you have done?

There is no place in America for New Speak. We need not see reality through the eyes of the Party or relearn facts, so called, that make a mockery of truth. We need not engage in self-destruction, or self-deception. We need not humble our minds or tolerate the destruction of words.

It is time. Americans must keep safe this plain, unbreakable truth: The moral consequences of New Speak are malignant. “They are destructive of morals because they undermine one of the foundations of all morals: the sense of and the respect for truth”.[7]

What do you think?

[1] George Orwell, 1984. (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 1949).

[2] Friedrich A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom. (University of Chicago Press, 1944). P. 157.

[3] P 163.

[4] Hayek. P. 25.

[5] Jamie Glazov, United In Hate, The Left’s Romance With Tyranny and Terror. (WND Books, 2009) xix

[6] Sarah A. Carater, Washington Times, July 2,2009

[7] Hayek. P. 155.

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