Published in 1949, George Orwell’s 1984 depicted a world in perpetual war with authoritarian regimes seeking to normalize populations through thought control, especially via language called Newspeak. Occasionally, even in 2018, one may experience the syntax of Newspeak, which was constructed to reduce complete thoughts into simple terms of even simpler meanings.
The front page of the NewYork Times (08/22/2018) below the fold offered the following headline:
Cost of EPA’s Pollution Rules: Up to 1,400 More Deaths a Year [https://nytimes.com/2018/08/21/climate/coal-epa-pollution]
Orwell’s “blackwhite” term denoted the absence of any distinction or the existence of any contrary notion. “Bellyfeel” described blind acceptance of an idea. Together, as spoken, written, or otherwise communicated, they represent a powerful negation of independent perception, cognition.
An alternative title for the Times article could read: “President Declares War on Coal Ended: Collateral Deaths Continue.” Based upon the rollback of Obama-era clean energy regulations, EPA acknowledged that reversal of the rules enacted by the prior administration would produce 1,400 more premature deaths per year and 21,000 more lost days from school and as many as 15,000 new cases of upper respiratory illnesses.
The policy basis for this bellyfeel regulation is justified, according to EPA, because the rules from the prior administration “required utilities to switch to greener power sources” and because the utilities complained those rules were overly restrictive. Well, now, there you have it.
Using “duckspeak” (speech without thought) to promote “blackwhite bellyfeel,” environmental policies will cause “unpersons” (people erased from existence). But that’s OK, according to EPA, because this new plan would be legal (suggesting that the Obama rule was not) and allows states greater flexibility. A spokesperson for the agency—without a hint of a smile —proclaimed:
However much people may want EPA to regulate power grids, however much people may want EPA to demand that renewables be built instead of coal plants, we do not have that authority. … [EPA has] the authority only to regulate emissions from things that emit…
Clearly, all unpersons resulting from the new rules have nothing to complain about. The numbers indicate that it’s more likely that the most damaging collateral effect will be the 48,000 new cases of exacerbated asthma due to increased particulates released into the atmosphere. In this way, EPA exceeds the scope of Orwell’s Ministry of Plenty by spreading “deathwise” (deadly) standards of living more broadly across consumers.
Why has 1984 take so long to become contemporary?