Simon Griffee

The Appendix of George Orwell’s “1984” ➶

20 June 2013

Laura Frost:

Consider the names of the post-911 programs that were ostensibly designed to protect the United States: the Patriot Act, Boundless Informant, and practices like “enhanced interrogation techniques.” The justifications of these 1984-sounding schemes—and PRISM too—follow the obfuscating principles of Newspeak and the kind of manipulative euphemism Orwell skewers in his famous essay, “Politics and the English Language.” He writes: “Political language—and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists—is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” Orwell maintains that misleading terminology and evasive explanations are endemic to modern politics. “In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible,” including practices like imprisoning people “for years without trial,“ Orwell writes.

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