Orwell made clear Newspeak's basic theory: if something cannot be said, then it cannot be thought, and if it cannot be thought, it could never be done. If you can manipulate the meaning of words, then you can control the thoughts and actions of others.
Such manipulations by the left range from the gross, as in a North Korean radio broadcast to the subtle, as in the utterances of rising New Labour apparatchik Hilary Benn, son of famed loony-tune radical Tony Benn. To Benn the Younger, a phrase like "War on Terror" is doubleplusungood.
In a recent speech that shows the next generation of New Labour thinking, Benn informs us that if we use terms like "war on terror" we will aggrandize terrorists. Being careful to avoid the "I" word, Benn tells us the current state of world terrorism is not a war or struggle, just most individuals in the world "against",
a small number of loose, shifting and disparate groups who have relatively little in common apart from their identification with others who share their distorted view of the world and their idea of being part of something bigger.
What these groups want is to force their individual and narrow values on others, without dialogue, without debate, through violence. And by letting them feel part of something bigger, we give them strength
Though some might see contradiction between the “disparate” groups with “shared" views, Benn postulates that by invoking a ‘war on terror’, we are actually strengthening terrorists. He does not explain how you combat people who will not debate or indulge in dialogue and only use violence. Presumably, once you have “a majority of people against loose, disparate groups” instead of a “war on terror”, the problem will ameliorate..
No doubt, this airbrushing will impact on the “disparate groups” self-esteem, that other beloved Newspeak creation of the left. In this thinking, you don’t have to have achievements or character as a person or group. You must simply believe you are an achiever and have others tell you so, even when you are a total tosspot or wastrel. If this fatuity were true then the reverse holds. Once Islamic terrorists are no longer told they are part of a big worldwide movement, their morale will crumble.
This is like the theory of modern nursery school teachers: if a child does not start every day yelling , “I’m good, I’m clever, I’m meeeeeeee…..” in assembly, they will suffer irreversible socio-psychic harm for life.
You can read all of Benn’s ramblings here. Meanwhile it is comforting to know that Osama Bin Laden in his cave, Hizbollah in their bunkers and Islamic terrorists cells everywhere are discussing surrender or disbandment as they realise they are merely “disparate groups” with “little in common” facing the mighty majority of the world’s people who are armed with “values and ideas”.
With the EU having banned all thoughtcrime phrases like "Islamic terror" and "jihad" from official discourse, and with rampaging Muslims from Sweden to Belgium to Paris now called "youths", the Australians are not to be left out. During the Cronulla riots in 2006 , police were not able to issue bulletins describing Middle Easterners as other than "youths" with a "mullet hairstyle". Where I come from a mullet is something you eat.
Benn's terminology joins this honourable list of descriptors that have so enriched our language. We await the future headline: ' Youthful disparate groups of fish blow up the House of Commons".