(Every time I read this, it gets more powerful. B_Imperial)
By: Daniel Greenfield
Posted: 10 Dec 2013 08:49 PM PST
Orwell’s mistake in 1984 was assuming that a totalitarian socialist state would maintain the rigid linguistic conventions of bureaucratic totalitarianism. That future commissars and fuhrers would insist on everyone talking like office clerks picking out words from a coded manual of procedures.
It was an understandable mistake though. Orwell had seen 1948. But he hadn’t seen 1984.
Liberal Newspeak is the hybrid product of advertising, academia and bureaucracy. It takes ideas from creative leftists, rinses them in conformity, uses techniques from the ad world to make them as safe as possible and then shoves them down everyone’s throat.
Newspeak’s objective was to enforce linguistic schizophrenia as a means of subdividing personalities, killing rational thought and making opposition into a form of madness. Liberal Newspeak’s is less ambitious. It settles for muddling your brain. Like modern advertising, its goal is to make you feel comfortable without actually telling you anything.
Liberal Newspeak is the chirpy announcer in a drug commercial soothingly telling you about all the fatal side effects while on screen couples have romantic picnics and go whitewater rafting. That is the job of most of the news media. Forget outliers like MSNBC which caters to a self-consciously prog crowd. The media’s real job is to be that announcer telling you that if you vote liberal, your taxes will go up, your job will go to China and you will die, without getting you upset about the terrible news.
The dictionary of Liberal Newspeak is full of empty and meaningless words. Community, Care, Access, Sharing, Concern, Affordability, Options, Communication, Listening, Engage, Innovating and a thousand others like it are wedged into sentences. Entire pages can be written almost entirely in these words without a single note of meaning intruding on the proceedings.
It’s not that these words don’t have meanings. It’s that their meanings have been rendered meaningless. The techniques of advertising have been used to pluck up words that people once felt comfortable with and wrap them around the agendas of the liberal bureaucracy.
Community is a perfect example. It was the perfect word to hijack because it once seemed to mean the dignified independence and interdependence of small town life. A community had structure. It had values. But in Liberal Newspeak, a “community” is a recognized identity group or concern group. It means a distinct population that has to be managed or rewarded or addressed in some way.
But Community is also a mandate. We are all expected to be part of communities. Community has become the opposite of individualism. It has come to mean the conformity of identity groups and unelected activists who mandate the behavior of entire identity groups. The virtual community is not a legal entity. It holds no elections or referendums. Its leadership is chosen for it from outside.
Liberal Newspeak is concerned with making people safe while telling them absolutely nothing. It’s a new language that conveys reassurance rather than meaning. Its totem words are almost pre-verbal in that they mean nothing except “You are safe” and “We are taking care of you.”
That is what gibberish like, “We are improving access options for all community interest groups” or “We are striving to innovate while listening to everyone’s concerns” means. Daily life has become filled with meaningless pats on the head like that, which dedicated liberal newspeakers spew up like newborns. This empty babble says nothing. It’s the hum of the beehive. The signal that keeps all the drones headed in the same direction.
Unlike Newspeak, Liberal Newspeak doesn’t engage in any showy inversions of meaning. Those are the games that intellectuals play and above the ground level at which most Liberal Newspeak chatter takes place, there are mountains of academic jargon that work hard to invert meanings and ideas. But like the brilliant inventions of engineers, these rarely make it down to the ground level.
Liberal Newspeak isn’t the work of the engineers of the left, but its marketers. It doesn’t bother with frontal attacks on language. Instead it reframes everything in comforting language while teaching you to use the appropriate terms that change the context completely. It owes less of its perversity to Marxism than it does to Madison Avenue. The language that was used to convince millions to buy junk that was bad for them or that they didn’t need is used to convince them to buy liberalism.
While the implications of Liberal Newspeak are ominous, its tones aren’t. It deliberately embraces the feminine side of language. It strives to be comforting, nurturing and soothing. It never tells you anything directly. Instead it makes you read everything between the lines. It rarely answers questions. Instead its answers indirectly explain to you why you shouldn’t even be asking the questions.
Liberal Newspeak is a language of preemption. It preempts questions and ideas. Its terminology is so vague that specific questions require a convoluted assemblage of words. The more specific the question, the more convoluted the sentence, until asking even a simple question is like trying to make a wish with a genie. And then the sheer amount of words makes the meaning impermeable.
You can’t think in Liberal Newspeak. You can only feel good or bad, angry or self-satisfied. There is no room for thoughts, only feelings. You can feel guilty in Liberal Newspeak. You can be outraged, self-righteous or concerned. But you can’t weigh one idea against another because it isn’t a language of ideas. It’s a vocabulary of emotional cues that could just as easily be taught to a smart animal.
Liberals policies go awry so often in part because Liberal Newspeak makes propaganda easy, but practical planning very difficult. The language they use is designed to make people comfortable with uncomfortable things, but descends into meaningless waves of bureaucratese when discussing any specifics. That is the difference between marketing ObamaCare and making ObamaCare work.
It’s easy enough to put up a glowing website full of smiling people talking about affordability, access, sharing, concern and care. But it takes more practical communications skills to make that website work. Obama’s CMS built a whole television studio to sell ObamaCare, but kept tinkering with the website specifications until the last minute and tried to manage integration with disastrous results.
Liberal Newspeak excels at telling the uninformed that everything will be fine when the government takes care of them. But project communications in Liberal Newspeak that prattle endlessly about access and relevance and community and integrity may look like a plan to the newspeakers, but is a tremendous waste of everyone’s time and resources.
Newspeaker bureaucrats think that they’re planning when they write memos about engagement and access, when what they are really doing is maintaining conformity in the same way that the Soviet and Red Chinese engineers constantly discussing Lenin and Mao as inspirations for their work.
Communist Newspeak however wasn’t a language, it was a series of formal statements of allegiance. Once those were gotten out of the way, it was possible to talk brass tacks. But there are no brass tacks or sharp corners allowed in Liberal Newspeak. No one ever gets to the point except when attacking Republicans. The point is an attack on the integrity of the group, its accessibility, engagement and innovative listening status. Once you get to the point, the hum of the drones no longer has a purpose.
Liberal Newspeak is full of terms about listening, engaging and sharing, but it’s a closed loop.
It’s language as a command and control mechanism for establishing conformity. There is no room for debate in Liberal Newspeak. Arguments are settled with emotional resorts to the dominant political agendas of the day.
There is no way to disprove anything in Liberal Newspeak. All you can do is denounce your opponent’s lack of ideological conformity while claiming that your experience gives you special insight into the form of oppression that the political agenda is meant to solve.
The empty words are signals like the noises that birds and animals in the forest make. They establish identity, rather than ideas. A Liberal Newspeak discussion is more likely to be about identities, racial, gender, sexual, than about anything tangible. Like two moose meeting in the north or two sparrows chirping on a power line, the only communication that really happens is an assertion of identity.
The “security” of Liberal Newspeak comes from that sense of mutual identity through conformity. Everyone has access, community and shares their concerns which are all about conformity. It’s an unbroken loop of reassuring gibberish punctuated by bursts of anger at outsiders who are not part of the hive and don’t understand how important community access and engaged listening really are.
Newspeak was concerned with the manipulation of meaning, while Liberal Newspeak is concerned only with emotional cues tied to identity. It doesn’t replace meaning, it displaces it. It has emotions, but no ideas. It is the noise that takes the place of the signal and the hum that ends a conversation. Its purpose is to take an individualistic culture where ideas were proven through adversarial contests of the intellect and reduce it to a conformity that promises safety in exchange for never thinking again.
Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and blogger and a Shillman Journalism Fellow of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.