It’s debatable whether George Orwell surmised the ominous threat of totalitarianism that inspired him to pen the dystopic vision, 1984, would extend worldwide and resurface nearly seven decades after its publication. But the novel’s apt description of a world on end have undoubtedly come to pass.
Innumerable examples evidence how 1984 would better be described as a dark portent than a fascinating read, but one thing — the political language dubbed Newspeak, employed by the ruling government, Ingsoc — seems to have served as an instruction manual for the American empire.
Political language stands as arguably the most influential means to shape foreign policy. Through deliberate manipulation of speech, politicians can rally popular support for factually undesirable military operations — or stir fear of any enemy when geostrategic goals demand, even if the targeted group or government poses no actual threat at all.
On the 67th anniversary of the publication of Orwell’s 1984, the following list comprises only a fraction of possible examples of the U.S. government’s version of Newspeak.
1. Moderate rebels
If the public might not be thrilled with government plans to support terrorists, officials simply offer up the less-than-honest term, moderate rebels — and Americans verily stand behind funding and arming the now-non-terrorists to the teeth.
Most notoriously, President Obama and his administration continually advance the notion that training and arming so-called Syrian moderate rebels is somehow a good idea — by hammering the term into gullible minds through its willing mouthpiece, the corporate media. In fact, documents declassified last year proved the U.S. and its allies support for various moderate rebel groups not only led to the formation of Daesh (the so-called Islamic State), officials knew about — and desired — that to happen in hopes a “Salafist principality” would help depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
the same Shia militias fighting with the U.S. to maintain its installed government in Iraq are battling against the U.S.-backed forces — including those armed by the CIA — by bolstering Russian and Iranian efforts to bring control of [Aleppo] back to Assad.
Moderate rebels is just another opportunistic distortion of an already subjective term.
2. War on Terror
In itself, dystopic, perpetual war now appears to be a reality thanks to the U.S. declaring a War on Terror — a concept, whose reality to people in countless locations it plays out, should honestly be called the War of Terror.
Through the use of such preposterously vague terminology, U.S. bellicrats — the war-touting politicians determined to plump the wallets of the military-industrial machine — cemented the country’s dubious status as World Bully.
After all, waging war on a concept begets a bottomless trove of potential ‘enemy’ targets. World leaders unwilling to bend to the U.S.’ will, sovereign people unfortunate enough to be situated near a natural resource a corporate conglomerate needs, groups fighting for independence from an American ‘ally’ — hell, even segments of the U.S. populace are now deemed terrorists for differing political ideologies.
A War on Terror parallels 1984: “Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” Considering the broad focus coupled with the lack of an official declaration of war, it’s entirely feasible the U.S. will always be at war with Terror.
3. No boots on the ground
How many times has the State Department resolutely declared ‘there will be no boots on the ground in [insert any nation here]’? Concerning Syria, alone, the number topped 16 — and then, with a straight face, the Obama administration outlandishly claimed it never said so.
“It’s just not true,” John Kirby, State Department spokesman, pompously told an understandably perplexed reporter when questioned on whether officials had promised no boots on the ground in Syria. “It’s just not true.”
But, of course, it is true. Not even a question. Not even plausibly deniable. It’s been captured on video. Quoted in articles. So common is the phrase, in fact, it passes largely unnoticed. And no boots on the ground culminating with boots on the ground doesn’t end with Syria.
Five-thousand boots not on the ground somehow ended up fighting on the front lines in Iraq. And now troops are fighting Daesh in Libya. And elsewhere. No boots on the ground has become such a farcical claim, even corporate media have pointed out its illegitimacy.
Just as the War on Terror provides a blanket excuse to further American imperialist goals wherever convenient, no boots on the ground offers the technical out for the U.S. to deploy special forces — and their boots. On the ground.
Every four years, U.S. voters head to the polls to elect the lesser of any number of evils, after enduring over a year of propagandistic mudslinging between various presidential candidates. But this year’s run for the White House evidences the stark futility in that putative exercise of rights.
Countless anecdotal reports of fraud in nearly every state’s primary or caucus thus far largely magically work in Hillary Clinton’s favor. But this makes perfect sense — considering the establishment’s slavish devotion to the former Secretary of State on full display through the corporate media’s laughably slanted reporting. From the moment election season kicked off, the more cynical among us contended candidates are selected, not elected, whatever the system would have you believe.
All arguments to the contrary aside, the Associated Press might have unintentionally proved precisely that, just this week, with its early crowning of Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee. Irate voters and independent media immediately eviscerated the AP’s wholly invalid announcement as comically premature — but mainstream media parroted the claim in full force, exactly as expected. Now, quelle surprise, evidence Clinton might have literally colluded with the AP to ensure its claim would circulate prior to California’s primary to dissuade voters has surfaced.
Whatever hope voters had to install a (superficially) counter-establishment candidate in the highest office should evaporate in 2016 — the year Americans finally figured out the system is rigged beyond repair. Indeed, election truly amounts to U.S. Newspeak for selection.
In light of the last point, it’s a wonder so many Americans put faith in mainstream, corporate outlets for an accurate summary of the news, yet they still do. Just six corporations own 90 percent of all media platforms in the U.S., effectively controlling the narrative — whether on foreign policy, legislation, or any goal fitting its needs.
Indeed, many call corporate media the government’s mouthpiece for good reason — a number of executives and upper-level staff from mainstream outlets donate the maximum allowed to line the campaign coffers of politicians in every level of government. Plenty of others have proffered hefty sums to organizations with ties to candidates — such as the Clinton Foundation.
Though the merits of a media without any bias could be debated endlessly, to surmise such intermingling of interests leads to favoritism in the press wouldn’t be a stretch. What would be a stretch, however, would be calling reports from these outlets news in the traditional, original sense.
When the government needs Americans’ approval for, well, anything, it simply turns to the press to cough up an appropriately-tilted news item — and even Orwell, rolling in his grave though he may be now, would have called this process by the most honest non-Newspeak term available: propaganda.
This article (5 Ways George Orwell’s 1984 Has Come True Since It Was Published 67 Years Ago) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email email@example.com.