Thursday, March 21, 2019

This Is Your Last Warning

‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’



Newspeak was the official language of Oceania and had been devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism…It was expected that Newspeak would have finally superseded Oldspeak (or Standard English, as we should call it) by about the year 2050. Meanwhile it gained ground steadily, all Party members tending to use Newspeak words and grammatical constructions more and more in their everyday speech. The version in use in 1984, and embodied in the Ninth and Tenth Editions of the Newspeak Dictionary, was a provisional one, and contained many superfluous words and archaic formations which were due to be suppressed later.

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Wow, I’m so old that I remember when “1984” was just a book, and a fictional one at that.

Original 1954 Penguin edition of Nineteen Eighty-Four, left, 2013 edition, right

You might have heard that Jordan Peterson had accepted a visiting fellowship to Cambridge, the elite British university. If not, never mind, as they rescinded the offer less than 48 hours after it was made due to alleged “hatemongering” on Professor Peterson’s part.

“[Cambridge] is an inclusive environment and we expect all our staff and visitors to uphold our principles. There is no place here for anyone who cannot,” a spokesperson for the university said.

Whereas by “inclusive” they mean the opposite this would automatically make the list of finalists in this year’s “most ironically non self-aware statement.”  What a great homage to Newspeak, more so as they didn’t do it intentionally.

Critics maintain that Mr. Peterson, a University of Toronto professor, is “transphobic” because he said that he would not be coerced by future laws to use state-mandated language.

His commentary — a warning on the linguistic and legal seeds of totalitarianism — came during a 2016 debate over Canada’s “C-16 bill.”  Washington Times 

I should note here that just calling the truth “hate” doesn’t make it so. Not yet; although I understand legislatures around the world are already busily trying to make it so.

I would like to offer kudos to Jordan Peterson for teaching the entire Cambridge community, or at least any still open to learning, the first principle of totalitarianism without ever having stepped a foot on campus.

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Nobody can say they weren’t warned.

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