Machinations of the Thought Police
By Robert A. Vella
Orwell’s Thought Police are charged with uncovering and punishing “thoughtcrime” and thought-criminals. They use psychological methods and omnipresent surveillance (such as telescreens) to search, find, monitor, and arrest members of society who could potentially challenge authority and the status quo—even if only by thought—hence the name Thought Police. They use terror and torture to achieve their ends.
Orwell’s concept of “thought policing” derived from and had much to do with his own “power of facing unpleasant facts”, as he referred to it, and his willingness to criticize society’s prevailing ideas—which often brought him into conflict with others and what he called their “smelly little orthodoxies”.
In modern vernacular…
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