November 29, 2003

Freedom is Slavery

Another one of my readers offers up the following to this blog's ongoing discussion of the book 1984.
Anonymous Blogger's definition of doublethink needs tweaking. It is not precisely believing something to be true that you know is false, but something equally paradoxical. It's the ability to hold two contradictory beliefs in one's head at the same time, and accept both of them.

Essentially, this means one lets the Party think for you. If you can satisfy yourself that there is no objective reality, then there is no "truth" or "falseness" and anything can be true or false at the same time.

Orwell based the world of doublethink on Stalin's Russia and their dupes in the West -- who, of course, were famous for telling the most outrageous lies and seeming to believe them. We now know, however, that few of them were really practicing doublethink in the true sense of the world. They were either outright liars, who knew the truth but refused to say it, or powerless followers who just mouthed the Party line out of sheer fear of death.

I guess Anonyblog is anti-Bush because of his dismissal of U.S. foreign policy as doublethink, but this isn't the right description. If you think Bush is spouting untruths, then you should rightfully call it lying, not doublethink. Actually, one group of people in the world today who actually DO seem to practice doublethink are the United States' enemies.

I'm thinking, of course, about Islamic terrorists and their supporters. On the one hand, they believe the massacre of Westerners is a delightful thing. On the other hand, they didn't do it! It was the Jews' fault! So you have people who seem to sincerely believe that Bin Laden was a hero for attacking New York, and also that 5,000 Jews (or 10,000, or 2,000, or whatever) were given advance warning by Mossad and stayed home on Sept. 11.

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