Orwellian Speak and Corruption
I agree with Conrado de Quiros. The kind of mental or cultural corruption that is taking place in the country these days is “the fiercest, most terrifying kind, the kind that doesn’t just turn people into paupers but into zombies.” (“Cause and effect,” Inquirer, 8/7/07) To me, it’s like a virus that poisons the mind, and its effect is long term. This virus is as destructive as the radioactive smoke Chernobyl spewed a few decades back. Its effect is even more terrifying than any war ever caused by man, as it turns people into sickos — or to borrow De Quiros’ word, zombies. This virus is characterized by government’s attempt at deception, using the power of language, the authority of the law and the vice of men.
Despotic governments nowadays have become shrewd at keeping power. Material weapons have been edged by a more powerful weapon: language.
Language, like a machine, can be used to serve the purpose of its user. What the government is doing is corrupting the language, removing all shades from language, leaving simple dichotomies (sad and happy, pleasure and pain, rebel and reactionary) to strengthen the total primacy of the state. This is also related to the concept of “binary opposition,” which involves a pair of theoretical opposites.
Through this concept, the government can easily give a word two or more meanings in classifying who are pro-government and who are not. So if you criticize the government, you will be labeled as a communist or worse, as a terrorist, even if you do not believe in the ideology. Or if you criticize the President, you are pro-Joseph Estrada.
The government is now engaging in “Orwellian speak” in sorting out its enemies. It also uses surveillance apparatuses, tracking devices and hi-tech eavesdropping equipment to monitor suspected terrorists. And all this is allowed under the despotic Human (in)Security Act, which strips bare the Arroyo administration’s anatomy of despotism.