What is Doublethink?

We’ve referred to doublethink several times, but many have asked what exactly it consists of. Surely it doesn’t really exist, as Orwell wrote a fictionalized account of a future government in “1984”. No, it really exists — consider an editorial by the Register-Guard, noting the Oregon Legislature just provided a wonderful example of Doublethink. But first, allow Orwell himself to provide the definition.

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 so 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 all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth. (Orwell, George “Nineteen Eighty-Four” page 35, 176–177)

So what did the Oregon Legislature do? Just switched the definition of “YES” and “NO” votes for certain elections:

A measure referred to the people by referendum petition may not be adopted unless it receives an affirmative majority of the total votes cast on the measure rejecting the measure. For purposes of this subsection, a measure is considered adopted if it is rejected by the people.

Or, as the editorial continues, pointing out the absurdity of the Oregon Legislature’s actions:

So, let’s see: If opponents of the income tax measures succeed in gathering enough signatures to place them on the ballot, a “no” vote will mean “yes, I support these tax increases,” and a “yes” vote will mean “no, I do not want these tax increases to take effect.”

Or maybe it will go like this: A “no” vote will mean “no, I do not want these taxes to be blocked by this referendum,” and a “yes” vote will mean “yes, I support the effort to stop these tax increases.”

Classic Orwellian Doublethink, courtesy of the Oregon Legislature.

This is the time, as Chuck Missler calls it, of the age of deceit. Is it any wonder Jesus warned “Take heed that no one deceive you”?

Do your own homework, and remember, the Bible calls you to be a skeptic. Not a cynic, but a skeptic.

Filed Under: Logic

Recommended Citation:
Yeager, Darrin "What is Doublethink?" (2023-11-23 14:45),
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