If you never read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, you may not know what “doublethink” is. Or you may have just forgotten about it.
There’s a great definition of “doublethink’ on Wikipedia:
Doublethink is a process of indoctrination whereby the subject is expected to simultaneously accept two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in contravention to one’s own memories or sense of reality.
Or, as Orwell described it:
To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself — that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word — doublethink — involved the use of doublethink.
I’ve been thinking about doublethink a lot lately. Pretty much ever since someone called Biden’s America “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” an accusation which is actually doublethink.
To be fair, I don’t think the accuser ever read the book (or possibly any book).
An example of Republican doublethink came today in the form of racist ex-CNN employee, Rick Santorum, who, in reference to the filibuster, said, “The Constitution was set up to protect the minority rights, not the majority rights.”
In reference to the filibuster, he said that the framers wanted to protect the minority from the majority.