Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Doublethink in the promotion and defense of wind power

Doublethink is an aspect of Newspeak, the language used in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four to simplify and control thought, not only of the general public (the "proles"), but also of the very bureaucrats running the state. Doublethink acknowledges cognitive dissonance betweeen what the state says and what it does and simply asserts that they are the same. This is exemplified in the slogans: "War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength." This is the kind of language that is called "Orwellian".

"Ignorance is Strength": This doublethink concept is the basis of modern propaganda (and marketing), in which simple lies are propagated and those who question them or recognize them as such are marginalized as "conspiracy theorists", kooks, Luddites, flat-earthers, Nimbys, sockpuppets, "virulent", "vitriolic", "opportunist", "terrorist".

Large-scale industrial wind power, marketed as "green energy", must use such smear and doublethink to avoid the undeniable fact that it is not "green" in the slightest. Recently, for example, complaints of adverse health effects and examination of that issue have been attacked as a campaign to harm the industry: "Wind farms don’t harm human health, anti-wind campaigners do." The victims and those who listen to them are blamed for the ill health obviously caused by wind turbines. The aggressor is the victim.

Health is Disease. Ignorance is Health. Effect is Cause. Noise is Silence.

Wind industry flacks have achieved the level of doublespeak that distinguishes the Ingsoc bureaucrats of Orwell's Oceania, seemingly believing as true what they nonetheless know to be false. In addition to turning the table on health effects, they use doublespeak to deny or rationalize wind power's adverse environmental effects, lack of fossil fuel reduction, dependence on subsidies, and unreliability:

Development is Conservation.
Blight is Beauty.
Add is Subtract.
Poverty is Wealth.
Dear is Cheap.
Wayward is Sure.

Update, May 9, 2013:  "Wind Watch" posted the following (and suggested a couple of corrections made here) on Facebook:
Is it significant that the most vehement hatred of those who question any aspect of industrial wind power comes from that part of the world called Oceania, which is what George Orwell also called the English superstate in Nineteen Eighty-Four? Often it seems that the industry and its committed defenders take their guidance from Orwell's (presciently) dystopian government. They use "doublespeak" to call industrial development green, to describe the industry as victimized by those it harms, to insist that killing birds is actually beneficial, and so on. Comment forums transform into "Two Minute Hates" when someone challenges the party line. And the busiest attackers are in present-day Oceania: anti-tobacco activist Simon Chapman, IBM employee Mike Barnard (from Ontario), and Infigen employee Ketan Joshi. The work of this triumvirate readily suggests three of the four ministries of Oceania: respectively, the Ministry of Love, the Ministry of Truth, and the Ministry of Plenty. The Ministry of Peace is of course represented by the wind industry itself.
Addenda, May 12, 2013:  “The common Fluency of Speech in many Men and [...] Women is owing to a Scarcity of Matter, and Scarcity of Words; for whoever is a Master of Language, and hath a Mind full of Ideas, will be apt in speaking to hesitate upon the Choice of both; whereas common Speakers have only one Set of Ideas, and one Set of Words to cloath them in; and these are always ready at the Mouth.” —Jonathan Swift

“Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” —George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language” (1946)

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