Orwell understood the totalitarian mindset. That’s why he invented Newspeak, a language with the specific goal of making anti-governmental thought impossible. The Wikipedia article on the subject sums it up nicely:
Newspeak is a fictional language in George Orwell‘s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the novel, it is described as being “the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year”. Orwell included an essay about it in the form of an appendix in which the basic principles of the language are explained. Newspeak is closely based on English but has a greatly reduced and simplified vocabulary and grammar. This suits the totalitarian regime of the Party, whose aim is to make any alternative thinking — “thoughtcrime“, or “crimethink” in the newest edition of Newspeak — impossible by removing any words or possible constructs which describe the ideas of freedom, rebellion and so on. One character says admiringly of the shrinking volume of the new dictionary: “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”
Hold that thought tightly in mind as you read this story,* which has a Democratically controlled government committee dictating to Republicans the phrases and thoughts they can, and cannot, use in describing to constituents the health care plans currently being trotted out in the Democratically controlled House and Senate:
Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), the secretary of the House Republican Conference and a former District Court Judge, is having his messages to constituents censored by Democrats on the Franking Commission. Republicans are no longer allowed to use the words “government run health care” in the communications to their constituents.
Carter received an email from the Franking Commission informing him of the censorship.
“It came to me from the Franking Commission and I have the email from the Franking Commission here if you’d like to see it,” Carter said. “We held a telephone town-hall… When you hold telephone town-halls you have a recorded message that introduces the town-hall and the subject matter you’re going to be talking about. You have to now submit that language to the Franking Commission.
“What we proposed as language was as follows, ‘House Democrats unveiled a government-run health care plan,’” Carter said. “Our response from Franking was, ‘You cannot use that language. You must use, ‘The House majority unveiled a public option health care plan,’ which is Pelosi-speak or ‘just last week the House majority unveiled a health care plan which I believe will cost taxpayers…’”
*One caveat: currently, the link I provided is the only source for this story. I recognize the possibility that it may prove to be a false or confused report. Right now, though, since it is sourced to a named House member, I’m assuming it’s true, and blogging as if it is.
Hat tip: Elanamama