The Newspeak Nightmare

For those of us who have had the pleasure of reading 1984 - remember Newspeak? The nightmare is becoming reality. Take the case of what happened to Associate Professor Andrew Fraser of the Department of Public Law at Macquarie University in Australia and Michael Graham’s radio show.

For those of you who are not familiar with 1984 - The basic principle behind Newspeak is to eliminate words which are harmful and subversive to the state. Theoretically if something can't be said, then it can't be thought.

The purpose of Newspeak in 1984 [from newspeak.com]:

The purpose of Newspeak was to drastically reduce the number of words in the English language in order to eliminate ideas that were deemed dangerous and, most importantly, seditious to the totalitarian dictator, Big Brother and the Party.

Political correctness imposes limits on the acceptable range of what can be said, especially in academia. Political correctness in 2005 is tantamount to Newspeak in 1984.

Professor Fraser's comments have created a tremendous amount of turbulence lately. His comments causing the controversy in the first place: African immigration in Australia increases crime and Australia should withdraw from refugee conventions because it is at risk of becoming a third world colony due to high levels of non-white immigration.

These statements may be offensive to many. These statements may even be racist to many. I am not endorsing these statements nor am I subscribing to his beliefs, but, is what Professor Fraser said untrue? Are these comments irresponsible and unfounded? Or is Professor Fraser really speaking the truth of what an intimidated majority would say?

Professor Fraser claims his statements reflect truth because he merely said them to the best of his professional knowledge. He also holds that what he said can be substantiated by reference to countless academic and official sources. For this he risks being kicked out of the university and could face early retirement.

One of Professor Fraser's students remarked "He made no attempt to hide his views in class and there were critical discussions, but we found it challenging. Freedom of speech is a vital part of liberal democratic society."

The full statement has some information worth thinking about:

Even colleagues and former students who disagree with his stance on issues of race and immigration urged him to stay in order to defend freedom of thought and expression for all academics who might find their views at odds with the interests of the University's administration in the future.

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Universities once prided themselves on their commitment to the search for truth; to suppress data well-known to psychologists, criminologists, historians and legal academics merely because the truth might cause "hurt and distress" to certain protected minorities calls into question the whole point and purpose of the University.

1984 was designed to warn readers of the dangers of a totalitarian government and what it would do in order to increase and sustain power. In particular, Orwell based it off the internal actions of the Soviet Union.

The case of Professor Andrew Fraser is one example, of many, confirming how the surreal nightmarish idea of Newspeak is becoming a reality. "This is a message to young academics that they are at serious risk if they are not committed to the politically correct official orthodoxy," Professor Fraser said. "This is the Soviet Union all over again. They should be facilitating an open debate about the issues within the university." In this assertion, Fraser is correct.

Meanwhile, in the United States, The Washington Post reports:

Radio talk-show host Michael Graham was suspended by station WMAL-AM yesterday for repeatedly describing Islam as a "terrorist organization" on his program.

Graham told his listeners "We are at war with a terrorist organisation named Islam."

In front of me is my high school history book - used by the Advanced Placement World History department at my school. Keep in mind the teachers who use this history book are left wing PC police. The history book in front of me is called Traditions and Encounters [Second Edition] by Bentley and Ziegler. It is your typical college world history book spanning over a thousand pages. Now that you know that, here is what it says about the rise of Islam under Prophet Muhammad:

He led this community both in daily prayers to Allah and in battle with enemies at Medina, Mecca, and other places. He looked after the economic welfare of the umma - sometimes by organizing commercial ventures and sometimes by launching raids against caravans from Mecca.

A terrorist is someone who uses "unlawful or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating". Is Graham then correct by calling Islam a "terrorist organization"? Islam's early days were marked with warfare and caravan raids. By calling Islam a "terrorist organization" Graham never claimed all Muslims are terrorists, he simply implied Islam fosters the climate for terrorism.

Graham's statement was offensive to many in the Islamic community. Others view his statement as intolerant. But, was Graham incorrect in calling Islam a "terrorist organization"? Well, I would have a hard time proving it false.

This brings me to an even greater point. Both Graham and Professor Fraser have been reprimanded for their viewpoint. Both viewpoints are politically incorrect. An even greater precedent is set. Politically incorrect viewpoints are no longer tolerated in a free speech society. Political correctness acts as a straight jacket for our speech.

Orwell's nightmarish vision is now an actuality. It's 2005, but I feel like I'm in Orwell's 1984.

Posted by Mike Tate at August 1, 2005 12:01 AM