FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE — George Orwell’s political novel “1984” painted a disturbing but all too prophetic image of how a totalitarian government would come to rule its citizens with an iron fist. Language — that is to say, the deceptive use of language — was a critical element of the government and the dystopia it created that Orwell described.
In Orwell’s thriller, electronic surveillance conducted by the omnipresent “Big Brother” was a major factor, as was the development and implementation of a language, Newspeak, that was devised to control thought over time by eliminating words from the vernacular. When words were eliminated, thoughts and concepts those words represented would be eliminated.
Furthermore, terms to describe government agencies were often the opposite of what their respective missions were. The editing process of published material, especially by rewriting history books and employing propaganda, was the domain of the Ministry of Truth. The omnipresent Party understood that “who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
The contradictorily named, “Ministry of Love” tortured citizens to coerce their unflagging and uncompromising compliance with the dictates of the government.
The world in which the residents of 1984 resided was a world of deception and lies where “up” was “down” and “right” was “wrong.” In the words of the official slogan of the Ministry of Truth: