George Orwell's 1984 prominently featured the concepts of "doublethink" and "doublespeak," as used by the oligarchy headed by the (probably symbolic and fictitious) figure of Big Brother. In Oceania, the Ministry of War was called the Ministry of Peace (or MiniPax for short). The Ministry of Propaganda was called the Ministry of Truth. The Secret Police were the Ministry of Love.
And then, there was "thoughtcrime." Whereas it's a cherished principle of the Anglo-Saxon legal system (and most others that can be called remotely humane and/or liberal, in the proper sense of the world) that the law takes no notice of mere thoughts, that concept, sadly, is not confined tot he pages of Orwell's masterwork. It also exists among modern Anglo-Saxons, in the inherently totalitarian concept of "hate crime." Admittedly, the NSA has yet to perfect the technology needed to read our minds. But if it can be reasonably established that an illegal act was performed for reasons of malice toward minority groups, then the current legal system breaks with all Anglo-Saxon legal precedent and treats the criminal's thoughts as a aggravating factor!
But since most of us are appalled by such crimes and want those who commit them to get everything that's coming to them, we don't stop to think how scary it is that in its present state the laws of every Anglo-Saxon democracy on the planet provides, to one degree or another, criminal penalties for thoughts.
We should. We should fear deeply for the very survival of freedom.
Even scarier, though, is another Orwellian phenomenon in our modern, "progressive" world: going beyond the changing of the meaning of words to preclude the expression of dissent by manipulating the terms used by a national debate in such a way as to influence and even dictate the outcome of the debate; coining of words and memes and catch-phrases the use of which is deliberately intended to beg the question, to resolve the argument before it's even begun, to dictate the way people think by settling the question being discussed by means of the very terms they use.
In Canada and England, you can be jailed for hurting someone else's feelings by expressing thoughts which could be somehow thought to demean them. is called "a different concept of free speech than you people have in the States." In reality, of course, it is no such thing. It is the abrogation of free speech, and the denial of a basic human right in favor of a newly-discovered "right" not to be offended.
Many of our courts have taught us of late that it is possible to discriminate against people when in fact their cases are not reasonably comparable to those who are supposedly not discriminated against. See any court decision overruling a legislature and legalizing same-sex "marriage."
Kevin Williamson of NRO points out that the term "progressive" (used by adherents of the Political Persuasion that Dare Not Speak Its Name- liberalism- as a much-needed euphemism) is in fact an odd term for a set of ideas which essentially boil down to a desire to revert to the style of government which tried- and failed- to pull us out of the Depression in the 1930's. They weren't even new or "progressive then; their originator, Williamson points out, was an arch-reactionary named Otto von Bismark!
And then, there's "voting against their own interests-" a term commonly used by unconsciously unethical journalists in the mainstream press to describe people who vote Republican, but who would (in the journalist's somewhat less-than-objective view, anyway) would be better served by voting Democratic. Remember when the media were content to let us make our own decisions about such things?
One of my favorites is "homophobia-" a term which literally means "fear of the same." Though a neologism, I think it's fair and appropriate to use the term to describe people (who are much rarer than its users seem to think) who secretly fear that they, themselves, are homosexual, or who fear homosexuals or homosexuality as such. But in common usage, it simply means people who, for whatever reason, are reluctant to regard homosexual behavior as healthy or normal, or the moral equivalent of the act by which our race is propagated.
A milder form of this word-twisting is to refer to those who oppose same-sex marriage as "anti-gay," as if they wanted to do away with gay people rather than wondering whether extending legal the legal definition of marriage- especially at this point in history in which society's most foundational institution is in such deep trouble already- to a new class of people never before regarded as eligible to marry each other, whose relationships tend to be notoriously and as demonstrably unstable, and who- in the case of male homosexuals rarely practice monogamy even in "long-term, caring and committed relationships-" rarely, in the long-term, are sexually monogamous.
"Bigots," of course, are merely people who disagree with "progressives."
"Tax cuts for the rich," is a term usually applied to the Bush era tax cuts. Try again. It was not the rich, but the middle class, who predominantly benefited from Bush's tax cuts.
BTW, before you repeat the Obamathink term "the One Percent- " referring to the notion that the tax structure favors the rich- consider the numbers reported, of all places, in the Huffington Post!:
In fact, in 2010, the top ten percent earned, it's true, 45% of the income- but paid 71% of the total income taxes.
It should be no surprise that when one's thought-world is dominated by such nonsense, the need to think is precluded. The answers have been served up to us on a silver platter.
And among the intellectually lazy (and, of course, those who stand to benefit from the manipulation of language), the necessity of thought is precluded.
The Welfare State has even relieved us of the obligation to think for ourselves. And plenty of us, it seems, are more than willing to avail ourselves of this dubious benefit.