Newspeak is the devil’s sophistry
Fr. Roy Cimagala
George Orwell invented the word Newspeak. It means “a deliberately ambiguous and contradictory language used to mislead and manipulate the people.”
We have to be wary of its existence, because it is actually present in today’s world. It’s a language that deftly mixes truths and untruths, and cleverly exploits a window of acceptable concepts and beliefs to introduce false and harmful ideas.
It must come from the devil, because our Christian faith considers him as the “father of lies” (Jn 8,44), and newspeak in its core is actually a lie, irrespective of the many beautiful and true things it also emits.
Its pedigree betrays a complicated mix of isms—atheism, agnosticism, deism, relativism, socialism, etc. Common among them is the element of making man, us, not God, as the ultimate source of truth, the final arbiter of good and evil.
In the first place, the agents of newspeak laugh at any mention of a possibility of God’s existence or of his providence in our affairs. They only believe in themselves and their brilliant ideas.
It can originate and thrive in an environment described in St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy:
“There will come a time when they will not endure the sound doctrine, but having itching ears, will heap up to themselves teachers according to their own lusts, and they will turn away their hearing from the truth and turn aside rather to fables.” (4,3-4)
In this issue about reproductive health and distributing free condoms to highschoolers, for example, I cannot help but think of this tricky phenomenon of newspeak.
We are regaled with many good and true things about them, but we have to look closely at the fine print, because it’s there where the lies and dangers are hidden.
Whenever I read their statements, I find myself also agreeing with many of what they say, and even praise them for some of their views. It’s just that they do not say everything, and where they think they would go against truth and faith, they become evasive and sly.
I have no quarrel with the need for everyone to attain reproductive health and have sex ed. It’s in what is meant by these ideals, and how they are to be implemented where I seriously beg to disagree.
One can readily see the remaking of the concepts of morality, of faith and religion, of human progress and development, etc. It’s a hideous activity.
Sad to say, newspeak is now widely used by politicians and pundits, social pacesetters and cultural gurus, and even religious leaders who are actually referred to as false teachers in the gospel.
They cleverly distort the concept of freedom. It’s an understanding of freedom that simply floats according to the fashion of the times. It speaks the language of what is politically correct at the moment with no reference to a universal, absolute truth.
This understanding of freedom confuses objectivity with subjectivity, and divorces right to privacy from the common good and universal truth.
We need to be wary of the evils of newspeak.