Totalitarianism: we have become comfortably numb - Part 9
Newspeak, propagandistic language characterised by euphemism, circumlocution, and the inversion of customary meanings. Coined by George Orwell in his novel Nineteen Eighty-four. Newspeak, “designed to diminish the range of thought,” the language of Big Brother’s enforcers. —Britannica (excerpt).
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8
'The Eleventh Edition [of the Newspeak Dictionary] is the definitive edition,' he said. 'We're getting the language into its final shape -- the shape it's going to have when nobody speaks anything else. When we've finished with it, people like you will have to learn it all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We're destroying words -- scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We're cutting the language down to the bone. The Eleventh Edition won't contain a single word that will become obsolete before the year 2050.'
The wholesale dismantling of the meaning of English words, mostly nouns, verbs and adjectives, that we have had to witness since the imposition onto our culture of political correctness has irked me for some time. When I first encountered that racism no longer meant racism, I sat up. The etymology of this "decolonised" racism has since evolved by leaps and bounds, so much so that I was henceforth to understand that all white people are racist! I quote from the Twelfth Edition of the Newspeak Dictionary:
What Racism Is — and What It Isn’t
To learn how racism affects people, it’s essential to know what it is. Racism isn’t just prejudice — having a discriminatory attitude based on incorrect assumptions about different races. Racism also involves power — the ability to dictate and control outcomes. It comes from privileged groups and institutions that uphold their own social, political and economic advantages while actively harming people of color and limiting their access to opportunities. When a privileged group of people exercises power over another group based on skin color and perceived differences between races, that’s racism.
Particularly in the Western world, white people hold this privilege and power, and institutions systematically favor whiteness. When someone makes negative assumptions about white people and treats them differently based on their whiteness, though, it’s an example of racial prejudice; it is not racism. This is because there’s an underlying power structure in the United States that perpetuates the privileges of whiteness on a widespread, systemic level. “Expressions of racial prejudice directed at white people…do not have the power or authority to affect the white person’s social/economic/political location and privileges,” according to the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre — but white people’s expressions of racial prejudice do have the power to affect other races’ privileges. Power is a defining element of racism, and without it, an individual or group cannot be racist.
And just like that, Louis Farrakhan is not a racist, Robert Mugabe was not a racist, Poqo was not racist and Black Lives Matter is not racist. However, William Wilberforce was a racist, Olive Schreiner was a racist, John Abner is a racist and the charity Christian Solidarity is racist. The past is no longer there. This is how totalitarianism begins.
The past was dead, the future was unimaginable. What certainty had he that a single human creature now living was on his side?
...and this is where it leads:
One of the horrible things about the Terror was the suspicion that it generated, right through life, public and private life. Suspicion hung over Moscow and the whole Soviet Union like a poisonous mist, seeping in everywhere. It reached right into the life of every family. You never knew who would denounce you. It could be your closest friend. It could be your closest relative, your own children or own parents.
Most of the people who grew up under Apartheid in South Africa are still alive today. I am one of them. Not only did I live it, I studied it, collaborated on major research into it, wrote about it and fought against it. Unlike many of my less fortunate comrades, I did not end up in the regime's jails and so have never been tortured, although it did once come extremely close: I stared into the blood-chilling psychopathic eyes of the regime's most notorious torturer, Hernus "Spyker" van Wyk, from a distance of one arm's length. Nonetheless, I have had very narrow escapes when I risked my life, more than once. If after almost half a century I was suddenly hearing and reading that "all white people are racist" as if that were a fact, then I am being told that what I experienced, I only imagined. Something has gone seriously wrong with the world.
The sacred principles of Ingsoc. Newspeak, doublethink, the mutability of the past.
If racism is no longer racism, then apartheid is no longer apartheid. And without further ado, Israel becomes "an apartheid state," instantly hit with all the ethical depravity contained in that term, without any reference to apartheid at all. This is perverse. It is grotesque. It is sick and it is something I am determined to fight. But worse than all of this is a tragedy unfolding before our very eyes. The current Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, had his Director-General, Alon Ushpiz, warn his compatriots:
In the coming year, we expect to see resolutions and processes with the potential to cause significant damage, and there is real danger an official UN body will determine Israel is an apartheid state.
Lapid himself picks up the slack:
Without diplomatic dialogue with the Palestinians, this [the threat of Israel being designated an apartheid state] will only grow more severe. We need to be cautious of a situation in which the world says the Palestinians are promoting diplomatic talks and Israel is refusing.
It is not clear where Yair Lapid has been for the last few decades, but he seems not to be aware that: 1. the Palestinians never have and never will promote diplomatic talks (studying jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood — you know, his coalition partner — and what is quaintly referred to as "the peace process," might help bring him up to speed on this); and 2. the world already says the Palestinians are infallible and Israel is irredeemable (clearly, "the facts tell nothing to him"). It only adds insult to injury when Lapid throws a sop at those whose objections he knows will surely come:
On one hand, they talk about promoting talks, and on the other hand, they file petitions against Israel at [the International Criminal Court at] The Hague and pay salaries to terrorists. This is the challenge the Foreign Ministry faces, and it is headed in our direction.
...so his country had better capitulate before that happens. This is why propaganda is so much worse than lies. Lies don't necessarily manipulate you into a course of action; propaganda does. And then Lapid throws another sop: "The claim that Israel is an apartheid state is a disgusting lie. These are a group of antisemites, but I don't take them lightly." It's too late, Foreign Minister. It's not just a lie; it is propaganda, and you are already manipulated to do as it had set out to get you to do. "All whites are racists" is not just a lie; it is propaganda aimed at getting white people to behave in a certain way, and boy, are they falling into line!
That Lapid doesn't take antisemites lightly is certainly true. He shakes in his boots before them. If "the claim that Israel is an apartheid state is a disgusting lie," then why is he keeling over before it? Why is he telling Israelis that they had better make peace with the Palestinians or else they'll be called an "apartheid state," when he should be telling such disgusting liars to go to Hell? Since when do Foreign Ministers bow to disgusting liars at the United Nations? It is no use saying, "The claim that Israel is an apartheid state is a disgusting lie," and then tell Israelis, we'd better do as they say, else those who call us an apartheid state will call us an apartheid state. What country needs a Foreign Minister, let alone a Prime Minister, complicit in his own country's delegitimisation? Not content with leaving a bad situation bad, Yair Lapid continues:
...I think it's good that today's foreign minister and the person who will serve from August 2023 as prime minister [himself] is a man who believes in the two-state solution.
Yuri Bezmenov describes the mindset such as that displayed by Yair Lapid as 'demoralisation.' I experienced a more modest version of the same mindset during a lecture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where I was the only black person in the audience. This fact didn't even cross my mind until it became clear that the speaker had been throwing nervous glances my way for some time. I went up to talk to him afterwards and he admitted, quite matter of factly, that he had been worried about saying anything that might offend me. My mere presence in the room had the effect of censoring him. Had I been a vacuous non-entity, such as are the blacks of Black Lives Matter, I might have been quite taken with such power.
This, exactly this, is why I do not attend conferences anymore. I am sick to the back teeth of white academics weighing their every word and playing it safe with completely irrelevant platitudes about slavery, colonialism or Black Lives Matter, as if I depart from the racist premise that all white people are racist. I am black, so it is proper, it seems, to ascribe a package of racist behaviours to me and chart a safe course through that. The content of my character is now the same as that of George Floyd: irrelevant.
And what of the all black academics, politicians, journalists and pastors who need this, who traffic in this? What of them? They are the racists. They are the ones who need "all whites are racist," else, character void of content, they remain the non-entities that they have made themselves into. I will grant that if there is no content to your character, then Black Lives Matter might be a great career move. As things are going, it is only a matter of time before the photograph below will be declared fake:
...and this one real:
I shall leave the last word to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four character, Winston Smith:
For whom, it suddenly occurred to him to wonder, was he writing this diary? For the future, for the unborn. His mind hovered for a moment round the doubtful date on the page, and then fetched up with a bump against the Newspeak word doublethink. For the first time the magnitude of what he had undertaken came home to him. How could you communicate with the future? It was of its nature impossible. Either the future would resemble the present, in which case it would not listen to him: or it would be different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless.
And what way of knowing that the dominion of the Party would not endure for ever? Like an answer, the three slogans on the white face of the Ministry of Truth came back to him:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
- Sir Fitzroy Maclean was a diplomat in the British Embassy in Moscow from 1937 to 1939, during Stalin's Great Terror. https://youtu.be/0-txuA6WgXI?t=51
- Warrant Officer Hernus "Spyker" van Wyk was based at Caledon Square, the notorious torture centre in Cape Town. He earned his nickname "Spyker" (Afrikaans for "nail") from his signature torture technique: nailing his male victim's penis to the table, then inviting him, "Let's have a chat."