Newspeak is Not About Adding New Words
In 1984, Newspeak is the evolving fictional language of the Oceania government meant to alter the way people think and thus limit subversion. Conservatives love to claim any new descriptor of a social phenomenon is Newspeak, especially if it involves trans people.
Newspeak didn’t work by giving people vocabulary to describe evolving understanding of the gender spectrum or any other concept. The purpose of Newspeak was to eliminate words. It’s literally described in the book as the only language that gets smaller every year rather than bigger, reducing the nuance of thought so that everything could be described only vaguely. The more conservatives try and shoehorn people into fewer boxes, the more like Newspeak they actually are because insisting “there are only two genders” is by definition eliminating the progress of scientific understanding.
It has all the makings of Orwell’s dystopia: doublethink (claiming to fight for women’s rights while erasing what it means to be a woman), Thought Police (belief in facts is now a crime), newspeak (“trans women“)— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) December 21, 2019
The Big Brother Government Was Not Communist
The fictional Big Brother government has become shorthand for any government that is totalitarian and brooks no challenge from the people. This has often been translated into communism by people who do not understand the concept or the person who wrote the book.
Orwell went to his grave as an avowed socialist who believed that such a system was the only thing that could truly liberate a people. Anything else, communist or capitalist, he felt was destined to end up oppressive. The problem with the Big Brother government is not that it’s big, but that it is ruled from the inside by a tiny group of elites waging a class war.
Regulation is Not Equivalent to Big Brother Watching You
The phrase “Big Brother is watching you” appears frequently in the novel as a reminder that the state wishes total control over the people’s lives. It’s fitting for a story set in Britain, being that London is one of the most surveilled cities in the world. Conservatives tend to equate being watched at all with 1984.
Orwell believed with all his heart that what stopped brutal dictatorships was having the average worker in a position of power. He wanted people organized, voting, able to express themselves, and not controlled by either the government or corporations. He wanted a world of “free AND equal human beings.” Conservatives often conveniently miss the equal part in his writings.