Having Trouble Thinking Double?

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Remember “Support Our Troops!!”?

First, the neocons blamed leftists, anti-Semites, traitors, and “unpatriotic” souls like Lew Rockwell, Bob Novak, and Pat Buchanan for the disastrous failures of the Iraq War. But that didn’t work.

Then they blamed the Iraqis, Bush, even each other. But that didn’t work.

Well, now they blame — the military!

But how can the neocons bray both “Support Our Troops!” and “Blame the Military!”?

This ability to hold two contradictory opinions at once is described best by “Goldstein,” the leader of the secret “Brotherhood” that opposes Big Brother in Orwell’s 1984. It is a central ingredient of the totalitarian recipe, called DoubleThink, the ability “to tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them.”

Orwell describes it thus:

“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them . . . . To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.”

Are you having trouble thinking double? Perhaps you need a trip to Room 101, down at the Ministry of Love.

8:38 am on September 24, 2008