Big Brother goes to Washington: Newspeak in the halls of Congress
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January 6, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — It’s now just 37 years after the date George Orwell gave to his renowned novel 1984, written at the beginning of the Cold War era, about a future totalitarian dystopia. Orwell rightly saw the replacement of classical language by a revolutionary ideologized version (which he called “Newspeak” in the novel) as a key element in increasing government vigilance over the life-style and mental processes of supposedly free citizens.
Well, Big Brother has now scored an astonishing coup-d’état in the world’s most powerful government body, the U.S. Congress. The House of Representatives, bowing the knee to “inclusivity” — in this case rebellion against the very order of nature, in which God created us “male and female” (Gn 1:27) — has voted to eliminate from the vocabulary of all House committee statements no less than 30 gender-specific terms. It has also added a grotesque new pronoun that blurs even the primordial mathematical distinction between one and many: our congressional thought police, led by the “Catholic” Nancy Pelosi, have decreed that the exclusive, retrograde and offensively un-woke terms “himself” and “herself” are now verboten. Henceforth both are to be replaced by … “themself.”
The vote was carried by 217 votes to 206, laying bare yet again the increasingly deep abyss that divides the American people and their major parties along conservative-progressive fault-lines. It seems all or nearly all Republicans voted against the measure, while all or nearly all Democrats voted for it, even though a recent poll indicates that about 2 out of 3 Americans, including quite a few professed liberals, object to the ever-increasing imposition of gender ideology on our daily lives.
Some of the newspeak terms now being imposed on Capitol Hill are so contrived that they sound like the stuff of satire. At least “mother” and “father,” “husband” and “wife,” can be replaced by another single word — “parent” and “spouse,” respectively. But our congressional Democrats evidently found themselves more challenged by “aunt” and “uncle.” For these pesky terms, while equally intolerable to gender ideologues, cannot be replaced by a single English word. So our new lords of lexicography have resorted to an awkward double-barrel construction: “parent’s sibling.”
Hmm. Given the status of the U.S. Congress, one wonders how long it will be until school administrators and teachers, taking a lead from our august legislators in Washington, will start instructing our children not to refer to their aunts and uncles as such, and scolding them in the event of non-compliance. In the context of a narrative about such relatives, using the grammatical third person, the required newspeak term is perhaps relatively manageable. But that will probably not be sufficient to satisfy the demands of political correctness. After all, logical consistency is a hallmark of any self-respecting ideology. So we’ll also need a reset when it comes to referring to such relatives by their proper names, and addressing them in conversation.
Parents may need to brace themselves for a not-too-distant day when Johnny comes home from school asking, “Hey, Mom, will Parent’s-Sibling Emma be coming for Thanksgiving this year?” And when end-of-the-year holidays arrive, will Dad’s brother be taken aback when his young niece (sorry, “sibling’s child” in the new congressional dictionary), rushes to give him a hug with the greeting, “Hi, Parent’s-Sibling Ken! Merry Christmas! Great to see you again!”
Perhaps, for the sake of brevity, we’ll eventually be allowed to say just “P-S Emma” and “P-S Ken”? But wait — maybe not. In conversation, “P-S” might sound too much like “BS,” thereby coming too close for comfort to the truth about this kind of bizarre linguistic imposture. Free, sane and Christian citizens need to resist it firmly by resolutely persisting in the use of traditional, honest-to-God language in referring to all these natural, and indeed sacred, human relationships.