To the editor:
George Orwell was right. Those who do not have a clue as to who he was will be mystified by what follows. He published a novel in 1949 titled 1984. This novel portrayed a society ruled by the government in every aspect of its life. Everything was monitored: their speech, thoughts and actions. The phrase "Big Brother is watching" is remembered from this novel: "newspeak" and "doublethink" as well. Violations discovered by that government resulted in severe punishment.
It is perhaps more instructive to direct our attentions on the term "doublethink." For this to happen, the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously and accepting both of them must occur. It allows one to lie deliberately all the while discounting known facts that are inconvenient. One admits tampering with the truth just by mentioning the term "doublespeak."
And now to the bones of the matter: when someone expresses one thought in private and another on the same point in public we have an instance of "doublespeak." This happens with frequency if I am to believe the tabloids pointing editorial fingers at someone who utters a word considered by others to be offensive. How many of us are guilty of this? Does anyone harbor improper thoughts of racism?
Today, the ability to record the words of others is all around us. Anonymity is no longer possible on the scale of some years back. Cameras are everywhere, microphones are everywhere. No one is immune from their privacy being unknowingly violated.
Today we can be punished for our thoughts! What was someone thinking when they committed some acts upon another person or place? That someone was upset, because of a spoken word or action, now has consequences. The punishment being increased by the intention rather than by the words or acts themselves. Is this how we really want to live?
The time has come for us to take a step back and reexamine conduct. Words only have power if we give them such power.
The mere fact that this was written and may be denigrated by others might be an excellent example of "doublespeak."
Joseph L. Kibitlewski, PhD.