Trump’s doublethink

Behind the Curve – 1984 (George Orwell, 1949)

1984 is about a man living in Oceania, an oppressive regime that seeks to control the very thoughts of its citizens. In order to prevent themselves from committing what is known as a thoughtcrime, that is to say thinking heretical thoughts, citizens employ a technique called doublethink.

Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1984
Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1984

Doublethink refers to one’s ability to willfully believe two or more contradictory ideas simultaneously. For example, if the authorities in Oceania alter the history books, a citizen must incorporate the new history into their worldview, while at the same time believing that the new fact has always been so. It’s a technique that keeps one’s mind perpetually in the present, perpetually learning and changing. Unable to think deeply about truth.

And it strikes me that Trump supporters must have been implementing their own brand of doublethink throughout the whole campaign.

For example, a Trump supporter will tell you that they like Trump for his authenticity. Yet, if you mention that Trump has at the very least exaggerated (and at worst lied his ass off) during the campaign, they won’t contradict you. Many of his supporters recognize that Trump is primarily a showman and they don’t take him literally.

Even more interesting is that they like Trump because they identify with him and see him as down-to-Earth. In spite of the fact that Trump lives in a literal golden tower. If you brought this up, the supporter would probably say that Trump’s wealth is an indicator of his competence. Hillary’s wealth, on the other-hand, will be seen as an example of her corruptness.

Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1984
Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1984

But my favorite act of doublethink was performed by the establishment Republicans. They were somehow able to claim to be disgusted by Trump’s vulgar, xenophobic and misogynistic dialogue, and yet they still supported him.

There are many other examples of this, but I think I’ve made my point. It’s interesting to see this technique, shown in the book to be a mental oppression with the threat of death behind it, take place in real life under no such obligation.


Coming up:

  • Movie: The Imitation Game (2014) – Monday, December 5
  • Game: Pokemon Go (Niantic, 2016) – Monday, December 12
  • Documentary: We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists (2012) – Monday, December 19
  • Book: The Illustrated Man (Ray Bradbury, 1951) – Monday, December 26
  • Wild Card! – Monday, January 30

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