By Robert Harkins
In his novel 1984, George Orwell created Oceana, a Stalinist state in which Big Brother, its resident despot, ordered that his subjects become fluent in a new language. In New Speak, Oceania’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 Renegades’ 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.
While Orwell coined a new language to describe the practiced mendacity of totalitarian states, democracies, including the United States, have embraced New Speak for reasons well known to con artists, criminals and despots. In democracies, New Speak serves elegantly the same objective as the vilest mendacity. It shrouds in the fog of obscure meanings 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 has been shrived of its old meaning. Truth no longer refers to a fact or an idea people hold in common to be true. Truth is not transcendent wisdom to be discovered through the disciplines of study and learning. No. Truth is, instead, a dogma. It does not require study or debate; indeed study and debate are forbidden. Instead, the New Speak Truth mandates mindless submission and obedience, and nothing else.
Americans compelled to the enthusiastic acceptance of New Speak, have discovered, for example, that constitutional equality as in equality before the law has become equality of result, that justice has been transformed into economic justice, and conservatisms into compassionate conservatism. The government created by New Speak is no longer a Constitutional Republic but a socialist state in which individual rights are inexorably nullified. Compassionate Conservatism, the new speak invention of President Bush 43 transformed the word “conservative” in to an socialist practice indistinguishable from Renegade Liberalism. Social justice is now socialist and equality of result is totalitarian. They require for their imposition Big Brother’s Orwellian state. 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.’”
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 they have seen the work of terrorists in the fire and chaos, in the 911 terrorist murders of 3000 innocent American citizens. We have counted, honored and prayed for our dead; and by the shedding of this our common blood have come to understand again the brute meaning of terrorism.
In American New Speak, however, the word terrorist has been stricken from the vocabulary. We may well ask, what happened to the word? If terrorism has been abolished why are men, women and children still blown apart by Muslims willing to commit suicide. Are they not terrorists? If the word terrorist 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?
Who is it repealed the word terrorist and set new words in its place. What is the meaning of these new words: Overseas Contingency Operation and Man Made Disaster? Are Americans now safe from terrorists because the American government no longer uses 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….” 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, of course, 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 critical intelligence that saved American lives? Are the values to which the President refers his alone? Good and virtuous Americans did not shrink from greater violence in World War II. Americans, in order to save the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers, dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and on Nagasaki. Americans 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, what American 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 from rabid, terrorist murderers.
How should Americans have dealt with these terrorists? Although the terrorists knew the details of a pending terrorist attack 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 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 murder—intending, of course, to scourge Western Civilization from the earth.
In fact, in an abundance of good will, the American President released terrorists who, forswearing terrorism upon on their holy oath, immediately returned to Al Quaida in Iraq and Afghanistan to join again in the murder of American soldiers. Indeed, fully 20 percent or more have returned to the killing fields. As I write this sentence, on Wednesday, June 2, 2010, 1000 American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan. How many of these, I wonder, have been murdered by men released by President O’Bama upon their promise not to kill again. Or perhaps, the better question is this: What value motivated the President to release Jihadists to Yemen a nation rife with terrorists? What is this value, precisely defined, by which he was willing to accept the slaughter of American soldiers to further the interest of emptying Guantanimo an island prison offensive to Renegades.
The President, in opening his hand to terrorist nations asked only that he be likewise requited with an open hand rather than a clenched fist. While superficially the sentiment is elegant if childishly naive, the truth proved out in tragedy: Not only with a clenched fist but with contempt, betrayal and the death of American soldiers. For this open hand, Americans have earned the outrage of Muslim Europe and the antipathy of a President who advertises to the world that we Americans have betrayed American Values he will not name or explain.
Where have Americans at war gone astray? After all, the terrorists are stateless killers who defy the laws of war. They are 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. 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 are the terrorists who store weapons and explosives in sacred mosques. They are the terrorists who behead helpless non-combatants and journalists. They are the terrorists who 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 word 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 lens of dogma 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.” On January 23, 2002, Pakistani terrorists offered the Jew Daniel Pearl, a talented journalist, a beloved son, an interview with Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilanito. He was kidnapped, and beheaded by terrorists. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, an Al Quaida terrorist, third in command under Al Quaida himself, claimed responsibility. In an obviously practiced line he said,
I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew Daniel Pearl, in the City of Karachi, Pakistan.
Daniel Pearl, just before his death, whispered the words, Shema Yisrael, (Hear, O, Israel), this beginning of a Hebrew prayer. “Here, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” He died a good man, bravely and well; He died a loving son. His death at the hands of terrorists is an outrage. But he is in good hands now.