Time to relearn the lessons of Nineteen Eighty-Four. A new language is being surreptitiously created by climate alarmists to control the thinking patterns, and, ultimately the behaviour, of our society. Although it is in plain view every day, most people don’t notice and blithely accept the subliminal messages this new use of words and phrases imparts to our subconsciouses.
But it is anything but harmless. It is suppressing independent thought and free speech in a way author George Orwell warned about in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Searches for existential spiked throughout 2019, especially after politicians used the word to characterize the dangers and disruptions climate change is widely held to pose for human life and the environment as we know them.
David Suzuki, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg and other activists used the word through 2019 in relation to the supposed climate crisis and Dictionary.com explained that this too played a significant role in propelling existential to its word of the year status. It is certainly a great word for alarmists to have commandeered. How could anyone not be concerned about a phenomenon that threatens humankind’s very existence?
Similarly, Oxford Dictionaries picked “climate emergency” as its ‘word’ of the year.
‘Existential’ and ‘climate emergency’ are merely the most recent of the words and phrases that have been hijacked by climate alarmists in the battle for the hearts and minds of our populations. ‘Climate denier,’ ‘carbon pollution,’ ‘Climate change is real,’ ‘97% of experts agree,’ and ‘green energy,’ are all either wrong or completely misleading yet they too have become effective weapons in the war of words in the climate debate. This is all right out of Orwell’s book. Let’s take a closer look at what Orwell warned about when his book was published over 70 years ago.
In Oceania, the dystopian society of Nineteen Eighty-Four, a new language was created by the government to control the thinking patterns of the populace. Officially labeled “Newspeak,” it was the first language that, when fully adopted, was meant to limit the range of human thought. Concepts such as freedom, skepticism, and debate were virtually unthinkable since no words existed to describe them, aside from the generic term “thoughtcrime.”
Perhaps most insidious was “duckspeak,” a form of speech consisting entirely of words and phrases approved by the party. Someone who had mastered duckspeak could fire off ideologically pure assertions like bullets from a machine gun without thinking at all. Their words merely emanated from the larynx like the quacking of a duck. Being called a duckspeaker was considered a sincere compliment since it indicated that you were well-versed in the official language and views of the state.
More than ever before, we are now in an era of climate change duckspeak. Rather than being merely ridiculous or social satire, the underlying purpose of climate duckspeak is ominous: to convince opinion leaders and the public to think about climate change only as the government and their activist allies want. To support alternative points of view is “climate change denial,” today’s version of Orwell’s thoughtcrime, punishable by excommunication from responsible citizenry, loss of employment and, at times even death threats.
Former President Barack Obama set the stage for climate change duckspeakers, reassuring Americans and the world that “the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”
But, as Carleton University Earth Sciences Professor Tim Patterson pointed out, “Climate is and always has been variable. The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually.” So, Obama’s claim, and that of others who say the same, was correct but trivial, like “sunrise is real.”
But it is much more than that. Intentionally or otherwise, the former president was using a strategy right out of Nineteen Eighty-Four. His statements imply that experts have concluded that unusual climatic events are happening and that government must save us.
Similarly, referring to greenhouse gases (GHG) as “carbon pollution,” as Obama’s White House did thirteen times on its climate change web page, was pure duckspeak. It conjured up subconscious images of dark and dangerous emissions of soot, which really is carbon.
What Obama and others are actually referring to is carbon dioxide (CO2). But were they to call it that, most people would be unconcerned, remembering from grade school that it is a trace gas essential for plant photosynthesis. So, climate campaigners mislabel it “carbon” to frighten the public and to discourage further thinking, closely following “Big Brother’s” strategy in Orwell’s classic.
Referring to low CO2-emitting energy sources as clean or ‘green’ is a mistake as well since the gas is in no way unclean. Indeed, a truly green energy source would be one that maximizes CO2 emissions since that would encourage greater plant growth. But the ‘green’ label now used by climate activists to promote an image of environmental wholesomeness hides the ineffective and damaging nature of many alternative energy sources (see my presentation in Madrid about this here).
Finally, the “97 percent of experts agree” phrase is, using Oceania’s vernacular, “doubleplusgood” duckspeak, designed to suppress debate and boost the party line. After all, who would dare contest so many experts about such a complicated issue?
But “appeal to authority” and “appeal to consensus” are logical fallacies that prove nothing about nature. Regardless, none of the surveys that are used to back up the consensus arguments are convincing. They either asked the wrong questions, asked the wrong people, or polled mostly those who would obviously agree with the government’s position (see my discussion about this here in Heartland’s 2018 event in Oakland while the Global Climate Action Summit was underway across the bay in San Francisco).
In reality, independent reports such as those of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change show that the science is highly immature with wide-ranging opinions about future climate change. Climate researchers understand that climate science is in its infancy. We cannot meaningfully forecast climate in 50 years. The system is too complex and our understanding of the basic science too primitive. Professors Chris Essex (University of Western Ontario, Canada) and Ross McKitrick (University of Guelph, Canada) write in their book Taken by Storm, “Climate is one of the most challenging open problems in modern science. Some knowledgeable scientists believe that the climate problem can never be solved.”
The on-line tool enotes concludes, when summarizing Nineteen Eighty-Four:
Orwell uses Newspeak to demonstrate the extremes of thought control but it has an important message for people living under all types of government: that language is instrumental in defining our liberty and freedom and we must never allow those in power to manipulate it.
Sadly, we have allowed governments and activists to impose on society a politically-correct form of language that has suppressed and distorted what should be a rational science and public policy debate.
University of Florida linguist M.J. Hardman summed up the important role language plays in societal control when she wrote in her paper Language and War (2002): “Language is inseparable from humanity and follows us in all our works. Language is the instrument with which we form thought and feeling, mood, aspiration, will, and act[ion], the instrument by whose means we influence and are influenced.”
It’s high time sensible people took all this more seriously, objecting vociferously whenever climate alarmist memes are used by politicians, the press, educators and in every day discussions. And we should boost our own point of view through regularly promoting our own memes – climate realism to describe our stance and the climate delusion to describe the ridiculous, and indeed dangerous, ideas of people like Suzuki and Thunberg. Nothing less than the future of our world is at stake.