Affirmative Doublethink Essay

1035 words - 5 pages

Since the release of 1984 by George Orwell in 1949, the word ‘doublethink’ as well as a few others such as ‘Newspeak’ became somewhat ingrained in the vocabulary of well-read individuals. The protagonist, Winston Smith, describes ‘doublethink’ as “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” (Orwell, 35). He also describes it as “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 as 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” (Orwell, 214). Essentially, the term mean to hold and believe two contradictory ideas/opinions. These ideas and opinions can contradict, logically, morally, and factually. Doublethink can both attack an idea and defend it. Doublethink can represent a solution that only aids the problem. There are many uses of doublethink in our present-day societies that are used globally. For example, discrimination against race, gender, and ethnicity is still a large issue and several doublethink policies and social customs promote discrimination even more in efforts to stop discrimination. Affirmative action is an example of doublethink that, in that in its effort to stop discrimination, promotes it through reverse discrimination.
Affirmative action can trace its roots to President John F. Kennedy’s Executive Order 10925 in 1961, which states that government employers cannot discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, and national origin. This Executive Order was replaced by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Executive Order 11246 in 1965, which states that it is the government’s policy is “to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin, and to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity” through “affirmative action”(Johnson, Section 101). This was amended to include sex in 1967. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines affirmative action as “positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and culture from which they have been historically excluded”(Fulllinwider, Line 1). From these definitions, one cannot easily see how affirmative action is an example of doublethink. In fact, the idea itself is not, the intention is to provide equal opportunity for those of all backgrounds, which is the goal of any modern society. However, often, preferential...

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