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In 1984 (pub 1949), George Orwell presciently invented the term “doublethink,” the ruling party’s language propaganda tool used to undercut people’s’ ability to think independently. 

Read his definition of doublethink and see if it sounds like what we’re hearing from some politicians today:

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy... The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them... To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies.”

The inverted logic, or illogic, political leaders on both sides of the partisan aisle have subjected us to during the coronavirus panic has been a wonder, and a scary thing to behold. 

I realize that political leaders if not also public health officials are learning and, in some sense, making things up as they go.  I understand this and I have no problem with reasonable public health information. I do have a problem with the eagerness with which Governors and Mayors have implemented draconian measures not just suggesting people “shelter in place,” but ordering businesses to close and fining people in some states for daring to take a walk alone in the park or on a beach. 

I don’t like exaggeration and try to avoid it, but in some ways it feels like “1984.”

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

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