In George Orwell’s futuristic novel 1984, the leader, Big Brother, used perpetual war and police state terror to maintain control of a portion of the globe. He also used “Newspeak,” the manipulation of language to more subtly control the people and preserve his dictatorship of submission. By curtailing language, destroying literature, and reducing words in the vocabulary of the people, Big Brother and his Ministry of Truth sought to control thinking and behavior: “We’re cutting the language down to the bone…Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year.”(1)
Newspeak and the Ministry of Truth
Orwellian Newspeak also used doublespeak, defining political terms by their complete opposite, and deconstructed the meaning of words to more easily subdue the masses. Reducing words and distorting their meaning limited politically “wrongful” thoughts. Big Brother’s ministry of propaganda and disinformation was called the “Ministry of Truth.” Likewise, the Ministry of War was called the “Ministry of Peace,” and the official slogans were quite instructive: “War is Peace,” “Ignorance is Strength,” and very apropos, “Freedom is Slavery.” By this perversion of language and distortion of the truth, Big Brother could establish social and economic conformity and enforce political orthodoxy upon the hapless population of Oceania, while maintaining perpetual war with Eurasia and Eastasia.
In Big Brother’s police state deeds are not only punished but also “wrongful” thoughts — i.e., “thoughtcrimes” — to maintain conformity, submission, and extinguish potential political opposition. As Big Brother observed: “In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible because there will be no words in which to express it.” And in fact, toward the end of the book, the hero, Winston Smith (played by John Hurt in the film “1984”), has been broken, robbed of words and memory, so that “Winston’s imagination decays and he can no longer fix his mind on any one subject for more than a few moments at a time.”(1)
We are not prosecuting Orwellian “thoughtcrimes” in America yet, but we are beginning to selectively prosecute and punish motive, such as in federal “hate crimes.” And the degrees of punishment for such hate crimes also depend on the motives behind the crime, the motives becoming more important than the criminal acts per se. Likewise, we have reached the point where restrictions in free speech and the use of compulsory, politically correct speech are much in vogue and quite acceptable to a large segment of the population of America. Submission is much more subtle in America today than in Oceania in 1984.
Conspiracy Theorists and Scientism
A recent article appearing in the magazine Scientific American Mind caught the attention of noted neuroscientist and neurosurgeon, Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, who commented that the article was “a perfect example as to how science (scientism) is being used to demonize those who disagree with a particular issue.”(2) The issue he referred to was the enforcement of liberal orthodoxy in the sciences, which actually embraced scientism, rather than the free exchange of ideas in the pursuit of scientific truth. Blaylock observed that the article, written by Sander van der Linden, a doctoral candidate in social-environmental psychology at the London School of Economics(3), “goes far beyond just demonizing dissenters of the orthodox opinion; incredibly, it classifies them as mentally ill and a danger to society. This of course reminds one of a similar methodology used in communist countries, such as the Soviet Union, Maoist China and communist Cuba.” Dr. Blaylock is correct. This nefarious practice of falsely assigning mental illness to political dissidents or dissenters in science, of course, is reminiscent of a similar methodology used in communist countries, such as the pseudoscience and shenanigans in genetics practiced by the quack Trofim Lysenko in Stalinist Russia in the 1930s and 40s, not to mention the immoral uses of psychiatry in the USSR in the 1970s and 80s — a perversion of psychiatry still in practice in communist Cuba today.(4-6)
One way to deride those who ask legitimate questions is to call them “conspiracy theorists,” or worse “nuts,” which peremptorily discredits opponents who cannot be defeated with logic or facts. The ultimate purpose is to summarily lump your opponents with real lunatics, so they can be painted with the same brush — associate those pursuing truth together with those out in left field — establishing a sort of guilt by association.
As Dr. Blaylock correctly points out: “The article begins with — ‘Did NASA fake the moon landing? Is the government hiding Martians in Area 51? Is global warming a hoax? The answer to these questions is, ‘No’…”
Of course, lump Area 51 and flying saucers with those who question man-made global warming! The agenda of collectivists pushing for global warming to advance global socialism is protected, even when the science is still in question, and those inquiring souls who critically wish to examine the alleged consensus in science and the liberal orthodoxy of climate change are branded Conspiratorial Nuts!
Liberal Orthodoxy, Derision, and Mental Health
Verbal or written vituperation can take a more vicious mode: It can take the form of ad hominem attacks. Vladimir I. Lenin (1870-1924) was a master of derision in all its variegated nuances. One of his instructions to his fellow propagandists, in fact, read: “We can and must write in language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us.”
In 1943, Lenin’s directive was further elaborated in the Communist Party of the USSR literature and republished in People’s Daily World, the official newspaper of the Communist Party USA. It read: “When certain obstructionists become too irritating, label them, after suitable build-ups, as Fascist or Nazi or anti-Semitic…. In the public mind constantly associate those who oppose us with those whose name already have a bad smell. The association will, after enough repetition, become ‘fact’ in the public mind.”(7) And presto — guilt by association and the opponent is effectively discredited!
The Soviets in the USSR of the 20th century used — and collectivists in the Social Democracies in the 21st century are wont to and still practice — the art of ridicule and derogation, following assiduously Lenin’s advice of derision to discredit their “obstructionists” opponents. Active disinformation, lies, or half-truths are also repeated often enough (using their allies in the mass media) until they become “truths” in the public eye.
The imputation of mental illness to political dissidents has been practiced in collectivist and authoritarian societies for decades. Soviet psychiatry, as enunciated by Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1959, served the State: “Can there be diseases, nervous diseases among certain people in the communist society? Evidently there can be. If that is so, then there also will be offenses that are characteristic of people with abnormal minds. To those who might start calling for opposition to communism on this ‘basis,’ we say that now, too, there are people who fight against communism but clearly the mental state of such people is not normal.”(5)
In other words, it is impossible for “normal” people in a socialist society to oppose collectivism or question orthodoxy in politics or science. Dissent or criminality is impossible in a workers’ paradise because everyone in a socialist utopia is by definition content — so it follows those opposed to the socialist order are not really criminals or political dissidents requiring punishment but insane madmen who require treatment, institutionalization, and rehabilitation in psychiatric facilities. What that rehabilitation really entails Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and others (including myself in the case of Cuba) have described in previous books and articles. (4-6)
Political criminals, or rather insane “anti-social elements,” must therefore be re-educated, conditioned, and re-programmed. Incarceration is not intended for punishment but for rehabilitation. Anyone with “recidivist political behavior” has to be pathological, afflicted with a form of mental illness that must be cured by the State.
The Practice of Deceit and Justifiable Censorship
Collectivists believe the end justifies the means. Therefore scorn, deceit, even violence is acceptable if they advance the cause of revolution (e.g., as enunciated by Fidel Castro and Leon Trotsky) and socialism (e.g., as promulgated by Lenin and Stalin). Religion, just as intellectual inquiry that did not serve the cause of socialism, was anathema. Hear Lenin speak on the subject: “Precisely because any religious notion, any notion of a Lord God, even any trifling with a Lord God is an unspeakable abomination, which is taken up by the democratic bourgeoisie with particular toleration (often even with goodwill) — it is for that very reason the most dangerous abomination, the most loathsome pestilence.”(8) Politicized science, as in “gun [control] research” and global warming, or scientism, as a form of state religion, should not rule supreme to the exclusion of real science and the scientific method, nor the free exchange of ideas and religious faith.
In the struggle for world revolution and the ultimate triumph of socialism, the end justifies the means. Thus Lenin commanded his comrades: “The communists must be prepared to make every sacrifice and, if necessary, even resort to all sorts of cunning schemes and stratagems to employ illegal methods, to evade and conceal the truth…. The practical part of communist policy is to incite one [enemy] against another…. We communists must use one country against another…. My words were calculated to evoke hatred, aversion, and contempt…not to convince but to break up the ranks of the opponent, not to correct an opponent’s mistake but to destroy him, to wipe his organization off the face of the earth. This formulation is indeed of such a nature as to evoke the worst thoughts, the worst suspicions about the opponent.”(9)
And when idealistic communists protested the down to earth reality and sadism of Lenin’s secret police, the Cheka, in June 1918, Lenin retorted: “ ‘This is unheard of! The energy and mass nature of terror must be encouraged.’ He ridiculed the communists who objected to Cheka terror as ‘narrow-minded intelligentsia’ who ‘sob and fuss’ over little mistakes. And he sent telegrams to Cheka officials commanding then to employ ‘merciless mass terror.’ ”(10)
Why is deceit, subterfuge and — even in America today — the use of slander, and the imposition of political correctness (PC) necessary? Because lies, obfuscation, and deceit are necessary for the left to quash dissent, exert conformity of political or scientific opinion, and establish (i)liberal orthodoxy. Norman Thomas, U.S. Socialist Party Presidential Candidate (in 1940, 1944, and 1948), plausibly answered that question over half a century ago: “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism,’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”(11) Another example is that of Henry A. Wallace (1888-1965), U.S vice president (1941-45) in the Democratic administration of FDR (1946-47), who used the “progressive” label for the same purpose as to obscure his socialist platform, as when he subsequently formed the left-wing Progressive Party and ran as its nominee, advocating closer ties with Stalin and the USSR, the UN, and foreign aid.(12)
1) Orwell G. 1984. Norwalk, CT, Easton Press edition, 1992. (Watch the following, amazing video interview with George Orwell expressing his final words of warning and prediction for the future.
2) Blaylock RL. When Rejecting Orthodoxy Becomes a Mental Illness. HaciendaPublishing.com, August 15, 2013.
3) Van der Linden S. What a Hoax. Scientific American Mind, September/October 2013.
4) Faria MA. The Perversion of Science and Medicine (Part 2): Soviet Science and Gun Control. Medical Sentinel 1997;2(2):49-53.
5) Faria MA. Cuban Psychiatry — The Perversion of Medicine. Medical Sentinel. Sept-Oct. 2000;5(5):160-162.
6) Solzhenitsyn A. The Gulag Archipelago (1918-1956) — An Experiment in Literary Investigation. 1973 (Parts I-II); 1975 (Parts III-IV). New York, NY, Harper & Row Publishers. Translated by Thomas P. Whitney.
7) People’s Daily World, official newspaper of the Communist Party USA. February 25, 1961, pp. 25-26.
8) Barron J. KGB — The Secret Work of the Soviet Secret Agents. New York, NY, Reader’s Digest Press, 1974, p. 139.
9) Ibid., p. 224.
10) Ibid., p. 88.
11) Cannon L. Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power. New York, NY, PublicAffairs, 2003, p. 125. Ronald Reagan used the quote and it has been used as such since then, although there is no written record of the attribution as to the specific wording, but certainly to the substance. The Socialist American novelist, Upton Sinclair, (author of the 1906 book The Jungle) certainly wrote to his friend Norman Thomas, U.S. Socialist Party Presidential Candidate): “The American People will take Socialism, but they won’t take the label…There is no use attacking it by a front attack, it is much better to out-flank them.” We should wonder how Mr Thomas, responded to Mr. Sinclair’s letter!
12) Henry A. Wallace. Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Written by Dr. Miguel Faria
Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D. is Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.) Mercer University School of Medicine. He is an Associate Editor in Chief and World Affairs Editor of Surgical Neurology International (SNI), and an Ex-member of the Injury Research Grant Review Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2002-05; Former Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Sentinel (1996-2002). Author, Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995); Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997); and Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002). His website is http://www.haciendapub.com.
This article can be cited as: Faria MA. Liberal Orthodoxy and the Squelching of Political or Scientific Dissent. HaciendaPublishing.com, August 19, 2013. Available from: https://haciendapublishing.com/liberal-orthodoxy-and-the-squelching-of-political-or-scientific-dissent-by-miguel-a-faria-md/
An edited version of this article appeared in GOPUSA.com on August 19, 2013. A shorter version of this article also appeared in the Macon Telegraph, September 1, 2013.
Copyright ©2013 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.