Truth and the Abuse of Language

Truth and the Abuse of Language

"Newspeak" is the Orwellian concept of controlling language in order to "limit freedom of thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, and peace". You would think, in the 21st century, governments and institutions, especially those who call themselves open societies, would refrain from attempts to "control language" and thus the thoughts of their own citizens. Yet, we're seeing governments, institutions and corporations getting ever more malicious at language control.

Language is controlled in various ways. One is the re-branding of words or phrases that refer to unlawful, unjustifiable or immoral activity with ambiguous ones. "Torture" becomes "enhanced interrogation techniques" although it is still torture. They don't call it "mass surveillance", instead, tell us that they are doing "bulk data collection" which has a less damning ring to it.

A second method is the broadening of the definition of certain legal terms in order to expand powers. In Turkey, where official language follows a government recognized dictionary, the entry for coup d'etat (Turkish: "devrim") was recently broadened from "overthrowing the government" to "overthrowing the government by any means - including democratic". Using this broadened definition, any peaceful protestor who calls for "change" can be prosecuted for attempting a coup. In the last decade or so, probably the most broadened word is "terrorism". Governments have already seized extensive powers with laws like the Patriot Act, and now they are broadening the definition of "terrorism" even further. "Protests" are now defined as "low-level terrorism". There's even the use of derivative terms like "eco-terrorism", defined as "Acts of violence committed in support of ecological or environmental causes, against persons or their property". Vandalism, arson, property destruction are vandalism, arson and property destruction. But, if you happen to be an environmentalist committing these crimes, you will be charged with "domestic terrorism"!

The so-called "Right-To-Work Laws" have nothing to do with the "right-to-work". These laws are designed to destroy unions and reduce wages. Words like "rehabilitation" have lost their original meanings. "Rehabilitation" has become a fancy word for incarceration. Even "science" has almost taken on a new meaning: "an almost consensus among scientist".
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