2 September 2016

George Orwell

I think all traditional Christians should reread, once a year, George Orwell's 1984 (written, of course, in 1948). It makes two points:
(1) Language is remade to suit new ideologies. A lexicographer in the story is described as explaining that when the process is completed, it will be impossible to express, even to think, ideas that had existed half a century earlier. (We think of 'Equality'; 'Choice'; 'Inclusive'; 'Diversity' ...)
(2) History is rewritten. The central figure in 1984 is employed to 'correct' earlier records, and then to destroy the originals, so that there will be no evidence that what happened did happen.

The sort of 'hard' totalitarian society 'predicted' by Orwell, influenced as he was by memories of Hitlerism and Stalinism, has not come about as he described it; instead, subtle perverts are successful in imposing on us a 'soft' totalitarianism. But his predictions about the corruption of language and the rewriting of History are, it seems to me, pretty well bang on.

For us as Catholic Christians, Freedom will reside in our being aware of what is being done, and in refusing to be complicit. We must be prepared to use words which are now proscribed, or in the process of being proscribed. A gaggle of totally random examples:

 ... "Pregnancies are being terminated", they tell us; we must insist that unborn babies are being killed.  Notice also here the use of a passive verb to elide agency ("We are killing babies ...").

... Why are we no longer allowed to use the word pervert, except, of course, to describe a paedophile?

... I once heard a nurse, who had been efficiently brainwashed, explaining that a certain Pill was not an abortifacient; "It's Emergency Contraception", she insisted.

 ... Spurious Hellenisms or Latinisms are coined: dysphoria and gender reassignment sound so very scientific and medical. Why can't we just talk about castration and eunuchs? (Fr Blake of Brighton has, in the past, been attacked for speaking English.) And, as I will write later, we now have Homophobia and Transphobia. The philologically agile need to be able to juggle with cismen, transwomen ... the nonsense is and will be endless.

 ... Then there are all the mechanisms of Management Talk, designed to make the Manager appear aloof, objective, passionless. So, instead of frantically and humanly saying "You make me hopping mad by doing XYZ", the Manager will adopt measured and disdainful tones in order to say "Concerns have been expressed to me that you XYZ."

 ... The shed at the bottom of the garden is being filled to overcrowding with invented bogeymen. Even ecclesiastics take part in this work of invention. The term Lefebvrian is generally a meaningless way of hurling unargued abuse at a victim (I would say the same about Cryptolefebvrian). It was used when some bullies in Rome attacked the Franciscans of the Immaculate.



Hans Georg Lundahl said...

You might like to know that such things seem to have happened from Tiberius on to Domitian.

Synoptic Gospels and Acts being only historic narratives surviving directly and untampered with from this period.

Unless you count the VERY self censoring "16th year of the GREAT Tiberius" chapter of Vellejus Paterculus as "narrative".

On a wordpress blog, I am publishing scans of books I printed and would like others to print.

The English ones (so far two or one and a half) are here:

antimodernista : Books in English

Of which the first comment links to an Apologetic work which exploits this fact.

Unknown said...


Yes, indeed! Especially his brilliant essay "Politics and the English Language".


Praypraypray said...

Thank you for you thought provoking piece. As a pro-life sidewalk counselor for many years, I've heard a lot of word semantics. They're used not only to fool others, but also people use them to try to fool themselves. One day, I was surprised when an abortion mill nurse came over to me and asked me if any of the women, who were talked out of abortion, chose adoption. At that point, I hadn't known of any, so I told her that the ones we knew of chose to keep their babies after learning of the available help. I asked her why she wanted to know. She said that her friend wanted to adopt, but couldn't find any babies to adopt! My mind was spinning! I asked her how she could work in the abortion mill where they kill babies, when she knows that people are looking to adopt babies!?! She shot back, "It's a woman's body!"! I looked at her straight in the eyes and said, "You know better than that! You're a nurse! You know that baby has separate DNA from the mother!" I asked her, "Were you your mother when you were in her womb?" I told her that I like to ask the men near the abortion mill that same question. They know the answer. Of course not!!! I talked with her for about 15 minutes. At the end of our conversation, before she left, she said, "Well, that's one thing we agree on..., ( referring to the abortion workers inside the abortion mill and the pro-lifers outside), ...it is a baby."!!! So, I looked her in the eyes again and said, "Well, then, Don't kill the babies!"!!!
The "nurse" commented that she was there to help the suffering women. She was still angry at us pro-lifers for making it hard for women to feel fine about going to have their babies killed. They were already going through a difficult time! I told her that we were there to help them and their babies.
I used to be so naive years ago in thinking that if I told or convinced people of the truth about abortion, they would turn away immediately and have nothing to do with the evil deed. However, it's very much a spiritual battle. Sadly, the nurse had a lot of holes in her arguments and a great disconnect in her thinking, but she still stuck to her anger and what she considered her "convictions", (...even after admitting that some of her argument was false.)!
Often, in front of that abortion mill, I think of that quote, "No man is so blind as he who refuses to see." Many of those who refuse to see, don't want to see, because if they opened their eyes, they would see blood on their hands.
As a side note, we were not there to harass, but to aid people to make the right decision and we also helped counsel those who regretted their abortions. (We hugged many a tearful young woman and even sorrowful young men who had had some involvement in abortion.) In addition, we pray for all and continue to try to convert the pro-abortion ones to the pro-life side.
Overall, in regard to your article, it's unbelievable to see all of the word semantics that the evil one uses to try to make evil look good. There will come a time when they call evil good and good evil. That time is now! It's going on today.

Unknown said...

Dear Father, Orwell wrote also concerning the exploitation of men and women through abuse of their work, as well as their minds. Will you address the liberalism which freed shareholders, through their banks, electors through their welfare systems and landlords through their buy-to-let housing portfolios, which encourages young people, whom they exploit, to kill their babies?
With respect and love,