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18 December 2017

George Orwell invented "Newspeak" when writing "Nineteen Eighty-Four." The idea behind Newspeak was to illustrate that language can corrupt thought and that totalitarian systems use language to restrict, rather than broaden, ideas, Orwell created Newspeak, the official language of Oceania. ... Newspeak, on the other hand, loses words, by removing words that represent opposing concepts.

I have been thinking about Newspeak all day when I learned that the White House has forbidden the CDC from using the following words:  vulnerable; entitlement; diversity; transgender; fetus; evidence-based, and science-based.

Does use of these terms constitute a thought crime?

A thoughtcrime is an Orwellian neologism used to describe an illegal thought. According to "Nineteen Eighty-Four," thoughtcrime is the criminal act of holding unspoken beliefs or doubts that oppose or question Ingsoc, the ruling party. In the book, the government attempts to control not only the speech and actions, but also the thoughts of its subjects. To entertain unacceptable thoughts is known as crimethink in Newspeak, the ideologically purified dialect of the party.  Crimestop is a way to avoid crimethink by immediately purging dangerous thoughts from the mind.

We obviously aren't quite there yet, but given these new language rules and the various rules that have affected other agencies (like the EPA) that are thorns in #45's side, are we headed in that direction?  Is nothing allowed to be based on science...or evidence!

To date, 45's administration has sought to reverse at least 60 environmental rules, according to a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School’s Environmental Regulation Rollback Tracker, Columbia Law School’s Climate Tracker and other sources.

According to the Washington Post, France's President Macron, fearing research in climate change that will be lost under 45's restrictions, has invited some 13 American scientists working on climate change to continue their work in France.

Macron urged worried climate scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to see France as a “second homeland” and to come work there because “we all share the same responsibility: make our planet great again."

It is sad to realize how far our image has slipped world-wide and how this nice safe world that we thought we had, where climate change was being battled, millions had health care, low income families could breathe a little, older people who were counting on the Social Security money they paid into for decades are learning it may be taken from them, etc. has totally changed by the man who assured us that these were all the things he would take care of. 

Believe him.

And the saddest thing is that some people, all (true) evidence-based and science-based facts to the contrary, still do believe in him.

I think I need to read Nineteen Eighty-Four again so I know how to prepare.

Today was movie day.  I mentioned yesterday that my two favorite Christmas movies were White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street.  AMC decided to run both movies, back to back, so while I saw here cranking out a short article for the newspaper, I got to watch both movies. 

Then TCM was showing Now, Voyager, which I have heard of forever but don't think I'd ever watched, so I sat and watched that.

(An amazing amount of smoking in that well as Paul Henreid's famous scene, lighting two cigarettes at once, then giving one to Bette Davis.  Of course, I couldn't find a picture of that.)

Anyway, it was a nice tearfully cathartic afternoon!



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