Friday, December 15, 2017

Is 2017 Really 1984? Forbidden Words At CDC - Controlling Language Is Way To Control Thinking

According to the Washington Post:
Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
In some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of “science-based” or ­“evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered.
The article goes on to say the ban is related to the 2019 budget.  I guess if you can't say the words, you can't allocate funding to the projects.  Diversity, transgender people, science, and fetuses will, I guess, be ‘vaporized’ (see 'unperson' below) if there are no labels for them. But surely they don't want to get rid of babies, so fetus, I guess, will become 'unborn innocent baby.'

Tampering with Thinking Integral to 1984

This is really tampering with our ability to think.  This is so outrageous and dangerous that probably no one ever thought of a law to prevent it.   The NRA has already prevented the CDC from doing any research on gun deaths and injuries.  If you have no data, you can't do research and you can't prove anything.  But, of course, science based is now being banned as well.

I remember as a kid, thinking that the year 1984 was so far into the future.  Then it came.  And then it was 1985.  What I didn't know was that 1984 was really 2017.

George Orwell's 1984 introduced the term NEWSPEAK. Orwell envisioned an authoritarian world where thinking was controlled by the government.   Here are some of the ideas, if not the exact terms, we can now expect from our new regime as they revise the English language to their service.  Courtesy of Wikipedia:
  • bellyfeel – a blind, enthusiastic acceptance of an idea
  • blackwhite – to believe that black is white, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary
  • crimestop – to rid oneself of unwanted thoughts, i.e., thoughts that interfere with the ideology of the Party. This way, a person avoids committing thoughtcrime
  • doubleplusgood -Replaces excellent, best and benevolent
  • doublethink – the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct
  • duckspeak – Voicing political orthodoxies without thinking, lit. "to quack like a duck"
  • equal – Only in the sense of physically equal, like equal height/size, etc. It does not mean socially – politically or economically – equal, since there is no such concept as social inequality in purportedly egalitarianistic Ingsoc
  • facecrime – An indication that a person is guilty of thoughtcrime based on their facial expression
  • free – Meaning Negative freedom (without) in a physical sense, only in statements like "This dog is free from lice", as the concepts of "political freedom" and "intellectual freedom" do not exist in Newspeak
  • good – (Can also be used as a prefix vaguely meaning "orthodox")
  • goodthink – thoughts that are approved by the Party and follow its policies, ideals and interpretations. It is the opposite of crimethink
  • goodsex – intercourse between man and wife, for the sole purpose of begetting children and without physical pleasure
  • malquoted – flaws or inaccurate presentations of Party or Big Brother-related matters by the press. See misprints below
  • minipax – "Ministry of Peace" (Ministry of War, cf: 'Department of Defense' vs 'War Department')
  • minitrue – "Ministry of Truth" (propaganda and altering history, culture and entertainment)
  • miniplenty – "Ministry of Plenty" (keeping the population in a state of constant economic hardship)
  • misprints – Errors or mispredictions which need to be rectified in order to prove that the Party is always right. See malquoted above
  • oldspeak – English; perhaps any language that is not Newspeak
  • oldthink – Ideas inspired by events or memories of times prior to the Revolution
  • ownlife – the tendency to enjoy being solitary or individualistic
  • plusgood - replaces the words better and great. Refers to good compliance with Party orthodoxy.
  • pornosec – subunit of the Fiction Department of the Ministry of Truth that produces pornography
  • prolefeed – The steady stream of mindless entertainment to distract and occupy the masses
  • recdep – "Records Department" (division of the Ministry of Truth that deals with the rectification of records; department in which Winston works)
  • rectify – used by the Ministry of Truth as a euphemism for the deliberate alteration (or 'correction') of the past
  • sexcrime – all sexual activity which is not goodsex
  • speakwrite – An instrument used by Party members to note or "write" down information by speaking into an apparatus as a faster alternative to an "ink pencil". It is, for example, used in the Ministry of Truth by the protagonist Winston Smith. Speakwrites are also apparently able to record everything that is spoken into the device
  • telescreen – television and security camera-like devices used by the ruling Party in Oceania to keep its subjects under constant surveillance
  • thoughtcrime – the criminal act of holding unspoken beliefs or doubts that oppose or question Ingsoc
  • Unperson – someone who has been "vaporized"—not only killed by the state, but erased from existence

I would note that banning words really doesn't make them go away.  People find other ways to say the ideas.  However, if the ban is supported by a capable government authority it can distort how people conceive of the world.  Just consider the people who only watch Fox News and people like Limbaugh.  They now live in an alternative reality that can't be breached.  Now, the people who created that alternative reality are running much of the US government.  


  1. Well, considering decades-long reporting on bad journalism, is it safe I accept the facts in your story at all?

    And given AI is now capable of radically altering source media (voice, data and image) how and when would I know this evidence -- this WaPo story -- is as reported?

    If this can mean shared sense-data are no longer verifiable (as one must suspect the veracity of non-sourced AND source data), how then can we know any event with certainty?

    It's first year philosophy, but it rings of solipsism.

    We are the Donald.

  2. P.S. No, I don't believe it's as hopeless as all this; only predictably challenging at present. Tomorrow's another day!

  3. Jacob, I did think about whether the report was true or not when I saw it. I googled and checked that other sources were also reporting it - but were they all coming from the same place? I didn't take the time to try to track down the emails. The Washington Post is fairly reliable and they did expose the fake Moore witness recently who tried to discredit them by selling them a made up story, so I decided to go with it. But I take your warning seriously.
    Since I posted this, I've thought about the list and think that we can use some of the Newspeak terms effectively to call out politicians and fake media reports.

    Let's use them and others to force people to think about what they are saying.


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