Document 7

In a dictatorship, language is very important too. A totalitarian regime is a political regime in which all facets of life are ruled and controlled by a unique party, or by a single individual.

In such regimes, freedom of speech is forbidden because giving people the right to say what they think, to express themselves, to give their opinion, can go against the regime’s official ideology. Sooner or later, it could lead to a revolution and to the fall of the regime: to the regime being overthrown. It goes without saying / needless to say freedom of speech is dangerous for the prosperity of a dictator.

In order to control this freedom or even to get rid of it, dictators are used to censoring the media, controlling education, spreading propaganda, spying on people, punishing free thinkers or dissenters by killing them or torturing them, jailing them, persecuting their relatives, brainwashing them, or what you will.

Luckily, it is always easier to get rid of people than to get rid of ideas. You can kill a million people screaming for democracy but you can’t kill the idea of democracy.

We studied a short passage from 1984, the novel written in 1948 by G. Orwell. In this book, the dictator is called BB and what sets him apart from the other dictators is that the others focused on controlling “freedom” whereas he focused on “speech”. He created “Newspeak”, a language which becomes less and less rich each year so that people have fewer words to voice their opinions. In parallel this language…

 

Document 8, suite "the Power of Language"

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