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Author Topic: Newspeak
Jordan
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quote:
Pete:
When the Goodridge case started the discussion with "why can't gays marry," that's was institutional newspeak, since they essentially deny that the term meant anything else. That's how they are framing history, and how others are framing history. This rediculous pretense that marriage has always just meant a union of two persons and that we kept same-sex couples out of it out of sheer spite.

quote:
Pete:
I'm talking specifically about the smaller subset that want to change the definition of marriage without admitting that they are changing it. The ones that start the discussion with the dishonest premise "should gays be allowed to marry" rather than "should we expand the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions."

My objection to using "Newspeak" to describe this sort of phenomenon is that I can see it being used with impunity to describe any attempt to use a new definition for a word. In other words, it allows one to shut down an argument thus:

  1. Premise: Newspeak is evil.
  2. Premise: Argument X is Newspeak.
  3. Deduction: Argument X is evil.

Some people actually do believe that this debate is about allowing gay people to marry: should they be accused of Newspeak, or is this evidence that the term is evolving? When does it become permissible for someone to use a term with a meaning which is different from its previous usage?

You have already contrasted Newspeak with natural linguistic evolution. Before I can accept the use of the term, I would like to see some criteria which effectively limit the scope of the term to agreeable, unambiguous circumstances.


Also, can I suggest that the ongoing discussion about Newspeak migrates to this thread? Just to make Daruma's day? (My, I don't know if I'll ever learn to spell his handle…)

[ February 07, 2007, 02:55 PM: Message edited by: Jordan ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Jordan:
quote:
Pete:
When the Goodridge case started the discussion with "why can't gays marry," that's was institutional newspeak, since they essentially deny that the term meant anything else. That's how they are framing history, and how others are framing history. This rediculous pretense that marriage has always just meant a union of two persons and that we kept same-sex couples out of it out of sheer spite.

quote:
Pete:
I'm talking specifically about the smaller subset that want to change the definition of marriage without admitting that they are changing it. The ones that start the discussion with the dishonest premise "should gays be allowed to marry" rather than "should we expand the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions."

My objection to using "Newspeak" to describe this sort of phenomenon is that I can see it being used with impunity to describe any attempt to use a new definition for a word. In other words, it allows one to shut down an argument thus:

  1. Premise: Newspeak is evil.
  2. Premise: Argument X is Newspeak.
  3. Deduction: Argument X is evil.

Some people actually do believe that this debate is about allowing gay people to marry: should they be accused of Newspeak, or is this evidence that the term is evolving?

Seems to me like you're use of the word "evolving" could be used to shut down the discussion.

  1. Premise: Opposing Evolution is evil.
  2. Premise: Argument P opposes evolution.
  3. Deduction: Argument P is evil.


[ February 07, 2007, 03:02 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Jordan
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No, I'm not. Not at all, and I'm genuinely surprised that you got that from what I said!

I want you to contrast Newspeak with linguistic evolution/drift/whatever.

quote:
Tom:
The POINT of identifying "newspeak" is not to say, "Oh, look, this word is being used differently." It's to say "this word is being used differently for a specific ideological purpose."

Something along these lines is what I was hoping for.
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Jordan
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(Surely the fact that I started this thread is evidence that I'm doing anything but trying to shut down the discussion? [Wink] )
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Pete at Home
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It seems to me a strange thing to contemplate shutting down a discussion for using a word that *might* be used to shut down a discussion.

If someone used the word "Newspeak" in the sense that you described, that would be the point to protest that they were misusing the term in a way that shuts down the discussion.

Believe it or not, I am not the state. You don't need to be so concerned that terms that I am allowed to use will end up coercively affecting individuals.

Saying that the issue boils down to the "right of gays to marry" is nonsensical because gays have a right to marry, just as in Vermont, straights have a right to form same-sex unions. But it only really becomes Newspeak when that nonsensical doctrine is encoded into law, such as the Goodridge opinion.

If you try to trick or force me into framing my arguments according to that nonsensical framework, or claim that "Pete does not believe that gays have a right to marry," then I think that you'd also be engaged in something very much like Newspeak; you'd be erasing meaning and distinction from words in order to reduce an opponent's argument to gibberish. Trying to make it impossible for others to communicate an idea.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Jordan:
No, I'm not. Not at all, and I'm genuinely surprised that you got that from what I said!

Apologies: I saw that I misspoke almost immediately and I ran back and edited it. [Embarrassed] Please check the revised version.
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drewmie
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quote:
Tom wrote: The POINT of identifying "newspeak" is not to say, "Oh, look, this word is being used differently." It's to say "this word is being used differently for a specific ideological purpose."
I like this, though it might cause other problems by making the differentiation so based on intentions. But in most cases, it simply asks that words be used based on what IS or WAS, not what one WANTS.

And that makes gay marriage a sticky subject. Marriage and family law has been written for a very long time, both on the federal level and in all the states, with the assumption of an opposite-sex couple. To assume something else is to assume something not intended by the original laws. To that extent, it is a "wanted" definition and might be called newspeak.

On the other hand, rights to vote, own property, hold office, etc were assumed to be exclusive to white males. It wasn't usually written into the law that way, and certainly wasn't specified in the Constitution. But it was overwhelmingly accepted as the definition at one time in our history. Luckily, the definition changed. What we considered "men" in the Constitution came to include non-whites and women. Do we really want to take the position that civil rights and women's sufferage movements really required Constitutional amendments? Merely because of what we historically defined the term to be? Shouldn't the existing wording of the Constitution have been enough?

In short, should we go with what the laws says, or with what the law originally meant? If the former, then in jurisdictions where the public thinks gay couples should be included, it isn't newspeak at all. It's merely an evolving definition.

As such, including gay couples in marriage IS NEWSPEAK in those places where it is not generally defined that way. But it IS SIMPLY AN EVOLVING DEFINITION in those places where inclusion of gay couples is generally accepted.

However, such a discussion is only relevant because of the tragic failure of American heterosexuals to make marriage about THE FAMILY, NOT ABOUT COUPLING. The "newspeak" discussion would be completely irrelevant if we overwhelmingly agreed that marriage law is more about the kids than the parents. Romantic coupling has no compelling state interest. Children do, even if those children don't yet exist. But that's another thread.

[ February 07, 2007, 03:47 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
To the statist, deception and coercion come as naturally as breathing. Everything that the statist does becomes an act of God, or "evolution."
Pete said this on the other thread. I want to point out that the implicit assertion here is that anyone who believes this issue is about whether gays should be able to marry is in fact a "statist" to whom deception and coercion come naturally.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Jordan:
No, I'm not. Not at all, and I'm genuinely surprised that you got that from what I said!

I want you to contrast Newspeak with linguistic evolution/drift/whatever.

quote:
Tom:
The POINT of identifying "newspeak" is not to say, "Oh, look, this word is being used differently." It's to say "this word is being used differently for a specific ideological purpose."

Something along these lines is what I was hoping for.
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Whether "newspeak" change has occured or not does imply a motive by someone.
I disagree. The POINT of identifying "newspeak" is not to say, "Oh, look, this word is being used differently." It's to say "this word is being used differently for a specific ideological purpose."
Yes, but not necessarily a conscious purpose. To the statist, deception and coercion come as naturally as breathing. Everything that the statist does becomes an act of God, or "evolution."
1984 explains Newspeak pretty well. It's brainwashing on a massive scale. The beauty of it is that while the originator has a political agenda, that agenda need not be conscious, and most of the brainwashing is carried out by those that parrot the new phrase, and don't need to share the originator's political motives.

If I tell X what marriage means to me, but X continues say that I'm "trying to prevent gays from marrying," X may be intentionally misrepresenting my position in order to avoid arguing with it, but that's not necessarily the case. X could also be so brainwashed that he's finding it difficult to imagine or mentally hold onto or represent my actual position.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
To the statist, deception and coercion come as naturally as breathing. Everything that the statist does becomes an act of God, or "evolution."
Pete said this on the other thread. I want to point out that the implicit assertion here is that anyone who believes this issue is about whether gays should be able to marry is in fact a "statist" to whom deception and coercion come naturally.
[DOH] That's crap, Tom. Where does *my* statement about statists say anything about people who believe that the issue is about whether gays should be able to marry?
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MattP
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quote:
Yes, but not necessarily a conscious purpose. To the statist, deception and coercion come as naturally as breathing. Everything that the statist does becomes an act of God, or "evolution."
So is my belief that the meaning of marriage is not substantially modified by applying it to SSU a manifestation of unconscious processes with the purpose of deception and coercion?

I ask because every one of these terms - nihilist, statist, totalitarian - feels like it's aimed at me. If not me specifically, at least in my general direction as an implication that I'm giving tacit support to a despicable movement to deliberately destroy meaning and harm children. Its a corollary to claims that you're advancing the cause of bigots, which I know you strongly object to.

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Pete at Home
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Jordan doesn't pretend that MY position is about stopping gays from marrying, so he's neither brainwashee nor statist by my analysis.
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Jordan
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quote:
Pete:
It seems to me a strange thing to contemplate shutting down a discussion for using a word that *might* be used to shut down a discussion.

I'm not trying to shut down the discussion; just explaining some of my fears about the term "Newspeak" could be invoked, and establishing some parameters which will abrogate them.

quote:
If someone used the word "Newspeak" in the sense that you described, that would be the point to protest that they were misusing the term in a way that shuts down the discussion.
Good. So we've established that such parameters do exist.

quote:
Believe it or not, I am not the state. You don't need to be so concerned that terms that I am allowed to use will end up coercively affecting individuals.
Another step closer to a concrete definition. Of course, this opens up the question of when it becomes OK for the state (or representatives of the state) to start using a new definition for a word.

quote:
Saying that the issue boils down to the "right of gays to marry" is nonsensical because gays have a right to marry, just as in Vermont, straights have a right to form same-sex unions.
If we accept a definition of marriage which make it largely useless and harmful for gay people, sure it's nonsense. If, however, someone accepts a definition which has some use for gay people, it would be perfectly reasonable.

quote:
But it only really becomes Newspeak when that nonsensical doctrine is encoded into law, such as the Goodridge opinion.
If 50% of people used a definition which makes it sensible to talk about the "right of gays to marry," would it be unreasonable for the law to talk about it? What about 10%? Or 90%? Like I said, I'm looking for some criteria which will make Newspeak more meaningful.

quote:
If you try to trick or force me into framing my arguments according to that nonsensical framework, or claim that "Pete does not believe that gays have a right to marry," then I think that you'd also be engaged in something very much like Newspeak; you'd be erasing meaning and distinction from words in order to reduce an opponent's argument to gibberish. Trying to make it impossible for others to communicate an idea.
Well, firstly, I don't engage with you according to my own framework; I generally do not use my definition of marriage in our discussions—I use yours, which I hope you appreciate. Otherwise we would just be talking past each other. But like you said: "I am not the state." Just to help me get to grips with this issue, I feel it would be helpful to flip the question around for a second and ask, is there ever a point at which the state could be considered guilty of "trying to make it impossible for others to communicate an idea" or "coercively affecting individuals" by enforcing a historical definition of an evolving term?

I am not perfect. Once, on Ornery, I tried to shut someone up by embarrassing them; instead, they saw right through it and I only embarrassed myself. Through this and other experiences I've learned the hard way not to try and shut up people who disagree with me. I say this so that you know to interpret my questions as a genuine attempt to get to grips with what you're saying, and not a way of silencing you. [Smile]

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Jordan
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quote:
Pete:
Apologies: I saw that I misspoke almost immediately and I ran back and edited it. [Embarrassed] Please check the revised version.

Gotcha. I was quite shocked when I read the first version! [Big Grin]
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Jordan
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By the way: I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking that I want an exact percentage for how much of the population need to use definition X for something not to be Newspeak! Those numbers are just for the sake of argument, pure hypotheticals. To be clear, I am treating this as a qualitative argument over a qualitative term.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Where does *my* statement about statists say anything about people who believe that the issue is about whether gays should be able to marry?
Read the context of your post, Pete. It's in response to my observation that the point of calling something "NewSpeak" is to imply an underlying revisionist (and dishonest) motive behind the use of a given term.

In other words, I asserted that when you say that people who use the phrase "gays should be allowed to marry" are using "NewSpeak," you are implying that they do so with an ulterior motive. You responded to that assertion by agreeing with me, but by making sure that you also felt such motives could be unconscious for "statists," to whom deception and coercion come naturally.

The implication, for people like MattP and myself, is that we are either consciously rewriting the language to drive our policy and/or so comfortable with deception and coercion that we can't help ourselves.

Now, you may acknowledge that not all people who believe the issue is about whether or not "gays should be allowed to marry" are in fact using NewSpeak. But if you acknowledge that -- and I think logic and human decency demands that you do -- it also becomes incumbent upon you to demonstrate that someone IS using NewSpeak when you accuse them of it, since clearly that single position is not in and of itself sufficient reason to believe they are.

It is my belief that you realize how easily that sort of accountability will cripple your rhetoric, and thus fight desperately against having to back up your insults with any specifics.

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Adam Masterman
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Since my other thread has sunk to oblivion, here's whatg I said specifically about newspeak:

quote:
On a somewhat seperate note, this is in any case definately not newspeak. I knew a man in Dharamsala who would tell me stories about recent arrivals from Tibet into India. He said to me on one ocassion: "You always see the tearful reunions, lost relatives embracing after years of seperation, and thats great. But its not the whole story. What you don't see is the scene a few days or weeks later, when the recently arrived relative starts to grow suspicious about the kindness of their relatives. 'Is it a trap", they wonder, 'some kind of trick'. They think that maybe their loved one is going to betray them. Then the confrontations start, the accusations. They simply can't accept simple human decency. This is the true legacy of living in a totalitarian state: the erosion of the most basic human qualities, which are gradually replaced by fear, distrust, paranoia. It takes years to recover."

Newspeak is the means by which this awful tranformation is effected. Peoples entire reality is bent to the will of a malicious state. Its horrific.

I'll say again, your use of this word to describe a debate over a single word's meaning, is, IMO, disrespectful to the very real victims of newspeak and its consequences. Newspeak doesn't mean any conflict over the meaning of a word, it means the co-opting of language itself by a totalitarian state to subjugate and enslave a population.

Obviously, this is my personal opinion regarding your use of the word, not an attempt to prevent you from using it.


Adam

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Jordan
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quote:
Pete:
X could also be so brainwashed that he's finding it difficult to imagine or mentally hold onto or represent my actual position.

Please could you define "brainwashing"? For example, if parents bring their child up to believe that marriage is "the union of two people for life," are they guilty of brainwashing? What if the parents had a political agenda to bring their children up with a definition of marriage which would benefit them?

(I was going to say "gay parents" before I realised that this was just an appeal to sympathy. [FootInMouth] )

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Jordan
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What drewmie said seems like a good approach to defining Newspeak, by the way.

I was ambivalent about "cultural nihilism." I considered "cultural genocide" a personal affront which nearly completely destroyed my motivation to debate by forcing me to revise everything I said to see if it betrayed how angry I was. "Newspeak" has a chance of working, so long as the definition makes bad calls falsifiable and actually says something important about good calls—thus making it a valuable distinction in rational discourse.

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PanHeraclitean
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The difficulty with democratic government is that we have an evolving of language in the public sphere that when taken to the political sphere can appear to be Newspeak.

I have a question as to why gays seek marriage. Not because they shouldn't, but what in the term do they associate with?

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Everard
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"he beauty of it is that while the originator has a political agenda, that agenda need not be conscious,"

THis is so not what orwell said in 1984. The agenda MUST be conscious for it to be newspeak, according to that text.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
Since my other thread has sunk to oblivion, here's whatg I said specifically about newspeak:

quote:
On a somewhat seperate note, this is in any case definately not newspeak. I knew a man in Dharamsala who would tell me stories about recent arrivals from Tibet into India. He said to me on one ocassion: "You always see the tearful reunions, lost relatives embracing after years of seperation, and thats great. But its not the whole story. What you don't see is the scene a few days or weeks later, when the recently arrived relative starts to grow suspicious about the kindness of their relatives. 'Is it a trap", they wonder, 'some kind of trick'. They think that maybe their loved one is going to betray them. Then the confrontations start, the accusations. They simply can't accept simple human decency. This is the true legacy of living in a totalitarian state: the erosion of the most basic human qualities, which are gradually replaced by fear, distrust, paranoia. It takes years to recover."

Newspeak is the means by which this awful tranformation is effected. Peoples entire reality is bent to the will of a malicious state. Its horrific.

I'll say again, your use of this word to describe a debate over a single word's meaning, is, IMO, disrespectful to the very real victims of newspeak and its consequences. Newspeak doesn't mean any conflict over the meaning of a word, it means the co-opting of language itself by a totalitarian state to subjugate and enslave a population.

Obviously, this is my personal opinion regarding your use of the word, not an attempt to prevent you from using it.


Adam

Your argument fails for at least two reasons:

If someone argues that global warming will kill more people than Hiroshima, would you shout at them that they are "trivializing" the pain of those who suffered in Hiroshima, or would you acknowledge the possibility that the speaker honestly believed, and perhaps had good cause to believe, that Global warming will cause catastrophe on a greater scale than the A-bomb at Hiroshima?

If someone accused George Bush of using 9/11 like Hitler used the Reichtag, to strip away civil liberties, would you accuse them of "trivializing" the pain of the holocaust, or could you recognize that the statement was not about the pain of the holocaust but about the wrongfulness of a specific type of action?

Frankly I think your argument trivializes Tibet's suffering when you use it as a political football. The whole purpose of Orwell's book 1984 was to familliarize us with totalitarian techniques and prevent our governments from using them *BEFORE* we reached a totalitarian state. It's hard to imagine a more inane and dangerous argument than to say that we aren't allowed to complain about Newspeak until *after* our government has used it to take away our capacity to communicate.

[ February 07, 2007, 05:01 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Everard
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"It's hard to imagine a more inane and dangerous argument than to say that we aren't allowed to complain about Newspeak until *after* our government has used it to take away our capacity to communicate."

Yes, but its also incumbent upon us not to misidentify newspeak, since newspeak is the tool of the totalitarian which consciously rewrites languages so that it is impossible for a person to form thoughts that the totalitarian state does not want formed.

Your objects that the question "why can't same sex couples marry?" is newspeak fails on a variety of levels, not the least of which is that this phrasing does not erase your ability to frame the statement "marriage means the joining of one man and one woman for life, so the question asked is nonsensical."

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The Drake
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Newspeak was primarily about eliminating words more than anything else. Without the words "freedom" "equality" and "rights", it becomes difficult for any resistance to inspire people with those concepts.

Newspeak would not attempt to redefine a word. If there were a newspeak approach to get the public to accept gay marriage, it would be to eliminate use of the Oldspeak word entirely.

So instead of "Joe married Jill," you would have "Joe lifepartnered Jill."

The new word would be able to take on any definition that the totalitarian state had in mind. There are examples of such things in our society, such as "African-American" instead of "Black".

Redefining words is something else entirely.

One can of course declare a redefinition to be Newspeak, but it would be adding a new definition to the concept of Newspeak which does not match Orwell's description, which is somewhat self-condemning.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Everard:
Your objects that the question "why can't same sex couples marry?" is newspeak

Where did I say that the question "why can't same sex couples marry?" was newspeak? Looks like another straw man, Everard.

I don't think that the question "why can't same sex couples marry?" is newspeak. It's not a terribly accurate way of framing the debate, but unlike "why are gays not allowed to marry," the former phrase does not reduce all the core debate issues to gibberish.

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Everard
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Whatever, pete, I'm paraphrasing. Sorry that I mis-stated your position.

The core of what I'm saying remains true. Let me put it this way...

"Your objection that the MA SJC's question regarding marriage is newspeak" fails on a variety of level...

[ February 07, 2007, 05:35 PM: Message edited by: Everard ]

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EDanaII
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This is a "rose by any other name" type of argument, so the majority of this discussion is,IMHO, "much ado over nothing."

I will say one thing, however: no one person or group can redefine language. Language is a collective endeavor created by society as a whole. To force new definitions on people is about as likely to succeed as ordering the sun not to rise in the morning.

Two cents.

Ed.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by The Drake:
So instead of "Joe married Jill," you would have "Joe lifepartnered Jill."

You're falsely assuming that life partnerships are the end goal of the whole movement, Drake. If their goal were to strip out gender, then number, and then duration, then the redefinition approach would make more sense.

The horror of Newspeak isn't the dissapearance of words; it's the dissapearance of the capacity to communicate ideas. Your discussion misses the whole point, (or from a nihilist perspective, hits the pointlessness target dead center.)

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Everard
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"The horror of Newspeak isn't the dissapearance of words; it's the dissapearance of the capacity to communicate ideas"

Which is why "newspeak" is totally not appropriate.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Your argument fails for at least two reasons:


Okay, I'll try to speak to each point in turn:

quote:
If someone argues that global warming will kill more people than Hiroshima, would you shout at them that they are "trivializing" the pain of those who suffered in Hiroshima, or would you acknowledge the possibility that the speaker honestly believed, and perhaps had good cause to believe, that Global warming will cause catastrophe on a greater scale than the A-bomb at Hiroshima?


Actually, I can see how you are right here. If you honestly believe that changing the definition of marriage (conceding for the moment that this is what is happening) will be a comparable harm to, for example, the political brainwashing endured under Stalin or Mao, then from your perspective you are not trivializing their suffering. In this case, I would simply say that you lack perspective if you think they are comparable levels of harm.

quote:
If someone accused George Bush of using 9/11 like Hitler used the Reichtag, to strip away civil liberties, would you accuse them of "trivializing" the pain of the holocaust, or could you recognize that the statement was not about the pain of the holocaust but about the wrongfulness of a specific type of action?

You aren't saying that the ssm debate is "like" newspeak, you are saying that it IS newspeak. One could say that Bush's actions are "like" Hitler, but to call his actions a holocaust or a genocide would be trivializing actual holocausts and genocides. That is the difference I see.

quote:

Frankly I think your argument trivializes Tibet's suffering when you use it as a political football.

But as you can see, I'm not arguing any political point here. I'm only explaining my opinion regarding your use of a term. I think you are conflating my argument with other arguments I have made elsewhere.

quote:
The whole purpose of Orwell's book 1984 was to familliarize us with totalitarian techniques and prevent our governments from using them *BEFORE* we reached a totalitarian state. It's hard to imagine a more inane and dangerous argument than to say that we aren't allowed to complain about Newspeak until *after* our government has used it to take away our capacity to communicate.
True. But it would be equally damaging to the usefulness of his analysis if we allowed his meanings to be diluted. The world is full of injustices; newspeak is a very specific (and especially pernicious) one. If we allow the term to be used for any old thing, it ceases to have any real meaning. If we want to respect Orwell's legacy, our duty is to make sure that we are using the term as he intended. This is not one of those cases.

Adam

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Everard:
"The horror of Newspeak isn't the dissapearance of words; it's the dissapearance of the capacity to communicate ideas"

Which is why "newspeak" is totally not appropriate.

If you concede that, then you should stop supporting it, Ev. [Wink]
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Everard
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I'm wondering why YOU support it, myself, since its what you're trying to do to orwell's language, apparently.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
quote:
Your argument fails for at least two reasons:


Okay, I'll try to speak to each point in turn:

quote:
If someone argues that global warming will kill more people than Hiroshima, would you shout at them that they are "trivializing" the pain of those who suffered in Hiroshima, or would you acknowledge the possibility that the speaker honestly believed, and perhaps had good cause to believe, that Global warming will cause catastrophe on a greater scale than the A-bomb at Hiroshima?


Actually, I can see how you are right here. If you honestly believe that changing the definition of marriage (conceding for the moment that this is what is happening) will be a comparable harm to, for example, the political brainwashing endured under Stalin or Mao, then from your perspective you are not trivializing their suffering. In this case, I would simply say that you lack perspective if you think they are comparable levels of harm.

You could say the same thing to the anti-global warming guy. Alternately, you could consider the possibility that he fully appreciates the level of horror involved in Nagasaki, and honestly believes that global warming will lead to an even greater level of suffering, albeit spread out over a greater number of years.

You might even contemplate the possibility that he might be right, rather than looking for an excuse to blow him off.

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PanHeraclitean
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I'm sorry I can't see how Newspeak can be applied to an individual. I think that we all on occasion define words as we choose. That is our perogative and it is everybody else's perogative to refuse to accept that definition.

That Everard is why I pull out dictionary definitions.

Newspeak fundamentally fails as applicable in democratic government because it is not totallitarian. It is the broad governmental redefining. Stuff we talk about is just us being stupid about how we define our words. Start a foundation or something with hundreds of millions of dollars and I'll start claiming newspeak if I disargee with your definitions.

Use some precision, please. Newspeak is not applicable of individuals.

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Everard
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"Use some precision, please. Newspeak is not applicable of individuals."

Nor is it applicable when individuals can still express what they want to express, when the state uses the word differently then that individual.

Use some precision, please.

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The Drake
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
You're falsely assuming that life partnerships are the end goal of the whole movement, Drake. If their goal were to strip out gender, then number, and then duration, then the redefinition approach would make more sense.

I'm not assuming anything, I'm demonstrating what newspeak is. The point is that the Oldspeak word "marriage" would be phased out - to be replaced by something else, whatever it is. Like you pointed out, it is about getting rid of the ability to express the old concepts - but not by redefinition, by elimination.

When the Federalists took over that word to mean something closer to nationalism than federalism, it was politically motivated and interfered with the ability of their opponents to talk about Federalism, but it wasn't Newspeak.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
quote:
If someone accused George Bush of using 9/11 like Hitler used the Reichtag, to strip away civil liberties, would you accuse them of "trivializing" the pain of the holocaust, or could you recognize that the statement was not about the pain of the holocaust but about the wrongfulness of a specific type of action?

You aren't saying that the ssm debate is "like" newspeak, you are saying that it IS newspeak. One could say that Bush's actions are "like" Hitler, but to call his actions a holocaust or a genocide would be trivializing actual holocausts and genocides. That is the difference I see.
My example did not involve someone accusing Bush of Genocide or of holocausts, or saying that his general actions are analogous to Hitlers. My example involves someone accusing Bush of "staging a Reichstag coup." In other words, terrorists destroy an important civic building, and leader uses that as an excuse to suspend important civil liberties and consolidate power.

Now I think that the Reichstag coup analogy sheds more heat than light, and that ultimately it's clear that's not what happened here. But it's not an argument that we can just blow off as "trivializing the holocaust." Likewise, you might eventually show that my analogy to Newspeak is flawed, but it seems dangerously apathetic of the critical issues involved ot simply blow off my argument as insentitive to Tibet. What you're saying would be like arguing that we shouldn't have a crime called "attempted rape" because it trivializes the pain of people who actually get raped.

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PanHeraclitean
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What do you mean by "express," Everard? Do you mean to him/herself, a small group, community, nation, world? With or without reprocussions? Geese, use some precision, please!

[ February 07, 2007, 06:19 PM: Message edited by: PanHeraclitean ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by The Drake:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
You're falsely assuming that life partnerships are the end goal of the whole movement, Drake. If their goal were to strip out gender, then number, and then duration, then the redefinition approach would make more sense.

I'm not assuming anything, I'm demonstrating what newspeak is. The point is that the Oldspeak word "marriage" would be phased out - to be replaced by something else, whatever it is. Like you pointed out, it is about getting rid of the ability to express the old concepts - but not by redefinition, by elimination.

When the Federalists took over that word to mean something closer to nationalism than federalism, it was politically motivated and interfered with the ability of their opponents to talk about Federalism, but it wasn't Newspeak.

If they had done so, it would have been newspeak, but they didn't, so it wasn't. FederalISM continues to mean pretty much what it always did. When we fostered federalism in Iraq, we were talking about regional autonomy. The fact that the US federal government acts more like a national government than like a truly federal government, is not a matter of newspeak; that's irony. Like a man that fathers fifty children and then runs off and gets a sex change -- she is now still father to fifty children, but she hasn't redefined father; she's redefined herself.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
Yes, but not necessarily a conscious purpose. To the statist, deception and coercion come as naturally as breathing. Everything that the statist does becomes an act of God, or "evolution."
So is my belief that the meaning of marriage is not substantially modified by applying it to SSU a manifestation of unconscious processes with the purpose of deception and coercion?
I don't think so. As best I can tell, you're just wrong. [Smile]

[ February 07, 2007, 06:30 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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