Jorge Orwell may have written 1984 which has made it all the way to the top of the Amazon Charts. However, another essay that you should read is “Politics and the English Language.” In it, Orwell argues that those in power use words to trick us into doing whatever they want us to do. You saw this in Kellyanne Konway’s phrase “alternative facts” (aka a falsehood) and we shouldn’t call it anything less.
If we don’t call her out our failure would give her power over us and thusly over our nation. If we take things at face value then critical thought will be lost much like clear writing is being lost.
“”In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible,” Orwell wrote, arguing that when “the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer” because those in power have a reluctance to own up to uncomfortable truths, both large and small. Instead, they start to lean on “euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness” (huffington post, 2017.)
We see this when Sean Spicer declares with out any proof that was the “largest croud to witness an inauguration, period”, he makes us question our entire sense of reality.
“But that is why the final paragraph of ” Politics and the English Language ” is perhaps the most important one today. In the end, Orwell argues that we must fight to keep language clear. First and foremost, by being straightforward when we speak and by embarrassing those who aren’t:
Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists – is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one’s own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase – some jackboot, Achilles’ heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno, or other lump of verbal refuse – into the dustbin where it belongs” (huffington post, 2017. I have attached a copy of the essay for you to read.