14 May 2009

More Obama Doublethink

It seems a simple thing; one cannot spend and spend and spend and then complain about one’s debt. Yet that appears to be just what President Obama has done. After presiding over the most extravagant spending spree in US history, he now claims that “current deficit spending [is] ‘unsustainable.’” He also “warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries” according to Bloomberg.com.

There is some serious doublethink going on here. For those not familiar with the term, it comes from Orwell’s 1984, and it is the act of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and believing that they are both true. These contradictory ideas can be flipped and molded as need be at any given moment, depending on what the moment calls for. For example: the government must spend untold volumes of dollars to “stimulate” the economy so that it “recovers”; the government cannot go on spending and borrowing money, or the whole show will fall apart. Mr. Obama certainly must operate under doublethink on some level because his actions and words demonstrate it.

Another example: the government must cut its budget and get rid of agencies which are ineffective; the government must add huge bureaucracies to administer trillions of dollars of benefits. Or another, which I covered in my last post: government administered health care (Medicare) will go bankrupt in 2017; the government must install universal health care for all citizens, and this will save money.

Doublethink, in my opinion, performs two functions for the doublethinker. First, it allows for an ever malleable arguing strategy with which to keep opponents off balance. This is especially effective in our current sound-byte culture. Second, it becomes a very comfortable way of thinking for those who practice it. There need be no hard choices because the truth – one’s impression of the truth, that is – is whatever it needs to be in the moment.

Of course, our world is not yet what Orwell imagined in 1984. There is no Ministry of Truth which retroactively corrects history to coincide with the current version of fact. We still have records and hard history, a fact which Speaker Pelosi is squirming under at the moment. The thinking mind can detect doublethink if it pays enough attention, if it coolly weighs words and actions. Defeating doublethink, though, is becoming more and more difficult because one side, one vision within doublethink instances is a nice, tasty carrot for the masses, a utopian idea. But that’s a topic for another post.

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