News Speak and Newspeak

News speak and newspeak are not the same thing. News speak refers to terms commonly used in modern, Western news propaganda to delimit, frame and distort perception and opinion. Official enemies (of the right or the left) are ‘firebrands’, ‘strongmen’, ‘controversial’, ‘narcissists’ and ‘terrorists’, while official friends are ‘radicals’, ‘geniuses’, ‘reformists’, ‘rebels’ or (if they are a mass-murderer) ‘moderates’. Their policies of subjugation and repression are ‘repression’, ‘fascism’, ‘instability’ or ‘destabilising’ while ours are ‘austerity’, ‘security’, ‘democracy’ and ‘aid’. The idea is to indiscriminately group together all the baddies on that side — Trump, Kim-Jong Un, Putin, Castro, Chavez, Corbyn — and all the goodies on this — Netanyahu, Obama, Blair, Merkel, Churchill, Turnbull — but without ever explicitly making any distinctions. The standards cannot be explicit, because they would then be visible to scrutiny; which would instantly dissolve them.

News speak is a crude but effective strategy of propaganda, but it is nowhere near as pervasive and disabling as newspeak. As Ivan Illich pointed out, newspeak is a ‘uniquack’ or ‘expertese’ of q-words and technical jargon, handed down from professional academic discourse, invested with the quasi-religious authority of Scientific Truth, but with no power to express life as it is actually lived by those who actually live it. This reduced, technical, professional language has no system-threatening connection with subversive ordinary reality and, through its inordinate prestige, robs ordinary people of the authority to meaningfully speak of their own experience. Ordinary speech is now peppered with terms, like ‘energy’, ‘justice’, ‘paradox’, ‘conscious’ and ‘capital’ which you have to be a qualified expert, or professionally coded computer, to use ‘correctly’. Even words like ‘love’, ‘god’, ‘beauty’ or ‘reality’ carry with them the subtle unspoken sense that one must be a professional expert (psychologist, priest, artist or philosopher) to really understand or use them.

The jargon of the psuedo-science of psychocracy is a particularly disabling dialect of newspeak. Psychocrats and their accomplices claim the right to correctly define terms such as ‘mental illness,’ ‘paranoid’, ‘schizophrenic,’ and ‘autistic’ and to rule out all colloquial usage as ‘unscientific’ or ‘offensive’. The possibility that language is the servant of ordinary men and women must be ruled out a priori by guardians of official knowledge and those who eagerly take over their questionable categories in order to form an afflicted personality.

Combine news speak with newspeak and you have the most extraordinarily subtle system of internal censorship the world has ever known. Orwell’s warning was rudimentary, but absolutely correct; it has become impossible to even think truthful and [therefore] rebellious thoughts, let alone meaningfully, ‘inoffensively’ or authoritatively express them.

Be very, very sceptical when an expert comes along and tells you the ‘correct’ meaning of a word you use in normal speech. Unless the psychological and cultural commons are occupied those occupying the land will have nothing to say, and when they do seek to speak truthfully, they will find that no word will serve to do so.


This is an adapted extract from The Apocalypedia.

See also: Don’t Take This the Wrong Way: How Power Subordinates Through Offence.