Hitler famously declared, “If you are not with us, you are against us.” It’s nonsense intellectually, morally and semantically (semantic: to do with the meanings and use of words). But it’s a good example of words being used deliberately to create conflict, violence and strife.
If you were not “with” the Nazis you were as good as dead, or very likely to be quite soon. No dissent, no terms of conscience, no compassion allowed!
It seems to me that we are rapidly evolving a new war of words. We have new and divisive terms, like “domestic terrorist” and “anti-vaxxer.” Even “republican” has become a new term for a social psychopath; a kind of terrorist, even.
I am reminded of this use of clever words to control the masses from George Orwell’s classic book, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell named the twisting of words “Newspeak” and the correct definitions were very much what the authorities wanted them to mean.
Quite apart from the cruel and hideously dysfunctional world the author portrayed, under the watchful eye of “Big Brother”, the Nineteen Eighty-Four society was famous for three things:
- The cultivation of hate (there was a two-minute HATE every day, which citizens were required to attend).
- The manipulation of truth by the infamous Ministry of Truth, which might just as well be called the Ministry of Lies… and
- The redefinition of words. The latter was outrageous. War was to mean Peace; Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is Strength have become watchwords for this kind of semantic brutality.
To be sure all was ordered, as it should be, citizens were kept in line there by a force called The Thought Police. These words have now crept into our language and, although it must be said that Orwell’s book was mainly fiction, it has proved to be curiously prophetic and accurate.
Today we have a thought police, in effect. It’s called Facebook (aka. Google, Twitter and Instagram). A citizen is no longer free to express personal thoughts or different ideas to those “allowed’ ideas.
In Orwell’s book, a person who did not think proper thoughts faced prison and punishment.
The book is filled with ludicrous contradictions and ironies; for example:
- The Ministry of Peace oversees war
- The Ministry of Love carries out the torture of political prisoners and serves as the police
- The Ministry of Truth is in charge of changing the content in history books and in rewriting the news and history to agree with the Party’s beliefs
These contradictions keeps the citizens constantly off balance, so they are never sure of themselves or each other and must rely on the party for guidance as to how to live their lives. Sound a bit familiar?
The First Casualty of War
We are now at war. This is a war for freedom. You have probably heard the old saw that “the first casualty of war is the truth.”
Americans, with their usual chauvinistic humbug, attribute it to American Senator Hiram Johnson. He actually said: “The first casualty when war comes, is truth.” (actually Johnson first said it in 1929, not 1917 or 1918 as suggested by some scrappy references).
This is all WIDE of the mark.
The earliest close match appeared in a paper presented at an education conference in August 1915 by Ethel Annakin who was the wife of the British politician Philip Snowden.1
Just after her, the newspaper The Irish Citizen, spoke to this.2
But of course it was the great Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784), the British poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, critic, biographer, editor, philosopher and lexicographer, (who started a great many catch phrases). He said:
Among the calamities of War may be justly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.
[Credulity: the willingness to believe in any old nonsense]
It’s convenient to turn to Johnson, because he was a lexicographer (writer of dictionaries). A useful segue, as we might say today [segue: verb, To move smoothly and unhesitatingly from one state, condition, situation, or element to another]. Haha!
We are now seeing a flurry of new words and phrases. If you are not cooperative with the bringers of the New World Order, you are now a “domestic terrorist.”
If you are hesitant about the safety of the COVID vaccines, you are an “anti-vaxxer,” even if you believe in real and safe vaccines (if you are not with us, you are against us, remember?).
Marching in protest to what’s happening, you are guilty of an “attack on democracy”, even though democracy supposedly grants you the right to show your disagreement. (French newspaper)
The outcry at the United States Capitol building, on January 6, 2021, instead of being a protest against the fraudulent election results, which denied Trump the presidency, is now classified as an insurrection. I mean, c’mon!
As for glib phrases, nothing beats “Build back better”. In what sense is no rights, no freedom, no currency, no ownership, no possessions, better than today? Who says—and better for WHO?
Here are some interesting facts about lies and exaggeration:
- Sensationalist stories form 95% of media headlines nowadays.
- Media reports with negative news or statistics catch 30% more attention.
- 26.7% of people exposed to negative news go on to develop anxiety issues.
- 63% of kids aged 12–18 say that watching the news makes them feel bad.
- 39% of Americans believe the media exaggerated the COVID-19 coverage.
- A staggering 87% of the COVID-19 media coverage in 2020 was negative.
In a world where mere truth is a disposable commodity, which can be manipulated or inverted for personal or corporate gain, what does it mean to think of something as definitely so?
Let’s be positive then? In an incredible experiment, a Russian news website, The City Reporter, decided to publish only positive stories for a day. The idea was to see the effect negative vs. positive news stories have on people.
Stories were all written from a positive stance. They included things like how the roads were clear despite heavy snow.
The result? The changes led to the website losing two-thirds of its readership!3
The writers and reporters were just as shocked as you are. What can we do about humanity as it is and as it performs. It’s deplorable!
Love to all,
Prof. Keith Scott-Mumby
The Official Alternative Doctor
1. 1915, Journal of Proceedings and Addresses of the Fifty-Third Annual Meeting and International Congress on Education, Held at Oakland, California, August 16-27, 1915, Section: Papers and Discussions, Article: Woman and War by Mrs. Philip Snowden (Ethel Annakin) of Liverpool, England, Start Page 54, Quote Page 55, Published by The National Education Association of the U.S., Ann Arbor, Michigan.
2. 1915, November 20, The Irish Citizen, Current Comment: The First Casualty, Quote Page 1, Column 1, Dublin, Republic of Ireland. (British Newspaper Archive)