Blackwhite and doublethink


In George Orwell’s novel 1984, the Newspeak term blackwhite is defined as “…loyal willingness to say black is white when party discipline demands this. It also means the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know black is white, and forget that one has ever believed the contrary.” Blackwhite, according to the Newspeak dictionary, is the system by which The Party manipulates the proles to accept whatever “truth” the party disseminates, even if it makes no logical sense.

Thus (courtesy of Speaker of the House John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, and the man second in line to be President of the United States, after Vice President Joe Biden) we get blackwhite pronouncements such as this:

The fact is that Washington Democrats have slammed the door on reopening the government by refusing to engage in bipartisan talks. And, as stories across the country highlight the devastating impact of Obamacare on families and small businesses, they continue to reject our calls for fairness for all Americans.

This is part of a larger pattern: the president’s scorched-Earth policy of refusing to negotiate in bipartisan way on his health care law, current government funding, or the debt limit.

… Senate Democrats, acting in concert with President Obama, have rejected four different proposals from the House of Representatives to keep the government running and fund basic services.

… so Senate Democrats and President Obama got their government shutdown.

In the meantime, in just a few weeks, Congress must act to raise the debt limit to pay the tab for President Obama and Washington’s out-of-control spending. There is no way Congress can or should pass such a bill without spending cuts and reforms to deal with the debt and deficit and help get our economy moving again. But President Obama refuses to even talk about negotiating such a bipartisan agreement.

As for House Republicans, we will continue our efforts to keep the government running and deal honestly with the problems we face. We hope that Senate Democrats – and President Obama – change course and start working with us on behalf of the American people.

25200_f260Here is how the character Winston Smith described doublethink in 1984:

“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, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.’”

Cornyn: Google Glasshole
Cornyn: Google Glasshole

UPDATE 05 October, 2013: On day 5 of the government shutdown, Confederate Sen. John Cornyn (Rep., Texas) summarized his party’s current thinking (or lack thereof):

“House Republicans have repeatedly sent over legislation that would fund federal operations, but Senate Democrats have rejected each and every bill. They’re effectively arguing that the House bills are simply illegitimate because they contain policy measures that the Democrats don’t like. But what normally happens when the two parties disagree on a policy is a negotiation. It’s become disturbingly clear that the Obama-Reid shutdown is no longer about health care or spending or ideology. It’s about politics plain and simple.”

About PHL

Peter H. Lewis played second base on the Central Park Press League Champion New York Times softball team, was Assistant Financial Editor, and personally registered the domain after his editors decided this Internet thing was probably a fad.
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