Once upon a time, high school students were required to read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, often referred to as 1984. Now the book is banned because socialists and social justice warriors do not want the rising generation to know their true agenda. Published in 1949, Nineteen Eighty-Four became an influential political novel, maybe one with the greatest influence. The novel shines a bright but negative light on communism and gives a warning about a world where totalitarian government has control of the people.
The novel follows the life of Winston Smith and depicts the people of Oceania living in a dystopian society and being under the surveillance of the government most of the time. The people have no freedoms, not even the freedom to think independently, an act considered to be a “thoughtcrime.” Orwell created new words, such as “Big Brother” and “Newspeak,” that are used today, and he thoroughly explored totalitarianism.
Nineteen Eighty-Four could describe our day. Not too many years ago, I was told that referring to people illegally crossing our borders as illegal aliens was “politically incorrect. I was supposed to refer to such people as undocumented immigrants.
John Stossel published an article about how “Woke Language Is Changing the Meaning of Words.” He stated that “women” and “mothers” are now referred to in congressional hearings as “birthing people” because our “language needs to be more inclusive.” Other words that have been changed are “equality” to “equity” and “affirmative action” to “diversity.” Reporters now use words like “companion, friend, or lover” where they would once use the word “mistress.” We are told that we are guilty of “violence” when we use certain speech.
Are we committing “acts of violence” when we use certain words or promote certain books? Some people think so, but Tim Sandefur of the Goldwater Institute says that it is dangerous to call words violence. “The only way human beings can deal with one another is through language, discussion, debate…. If we say that that’s violence, then the only way for us to relate to one another is through power.”
When Stossel asked him why anyone would listen to a white man, Sandefur replied, “Because what I say has, or doesn’t have, merit on its own…. A big problem with the social justice movement is the idea that people’s mindset is controlled by their skin color. That may be called ‘anti-racism’ today, but it’s just plain old-fashioned racism.”
Other people, like linguist John McWhorter – author of “Woke Racism” – adds, “It can be really hard for us to talk to each other, because we don’t know what the words we’re using mean. The idea is, wherever there are white and black disparities, we’re supposed to call that phenomenon ‘racism.’ … It never fully holds together.”
Activists created the word “Latinx,” a word that is rejected by Hispanic people who prefer Latino or Latina. However, the “largely white, upper-middle-class, college-educated movement” – an army of “social justice activists” – tell them that they cannot make distinctions for gender.
The bottom line is that it is difficult to know what is okay and what is forbidden. Jason Kilborn, a law professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, used a certain word in exams for the past ten years. Recently, students were upset because he “included the N-word, with only the first letter shown.” One student said that she “had to seek counsel immediately after the exam to calm myself.” McWhorter said that those students are lying because “Claiming that kind of victimhood gives them a sense of belonging, of togetherness, a sense that they’re contributing to a struggle that their ancestors dealt with in a more concrete way.”
The law professor was suspended in the name of “social justice,” which “seeks to redistribute wealth and power between groups to suit what some political authority thinks is the right outcome,” according to Sandefur.
So, how do we keep America from becoming Orwell’s 1984? How do we stop the government from controlling our thoughts and forcing us to learn a new language, Newspeak? How do we stop social justice warriors who want to “reorganize how people live their lives, silence some groups that have been heard more often”?
McWhorter says that the only way to stop social justice is to push back against it. “Enlightened America needs to develop a backbone and start getting used to being called racist on Twitter. Just withstand it. Keep their voices out there. Make us understand what true justice is.”
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