‘Nineteen Eighty-Four is now a policing manual’

Harry Miller on being investigated by police for his trans-critical tweets.

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In January, Harry Miller was investigated by the police for retweeting a limerick on Twitter. The police said the limerick – and 30 other tweets – constituted transphobic hate speech.

Miller is one of the thousands of ordinary people who have found themselves on the sharp end of the law in recent years simply for expressing their views. Social-media posts, usually intended as jokes or political arguments, are increasingly being criminalised if they convey the ‘wrong’ opinions about certain topics. Posts on trans issues are considered particularly toxic and are zealously investigated by police. Miller, alongside barristers, police officers and other victims of police overreach, have started the Fair Cop campaign to defend free speech. spiked caught up with Miller to find out more.

spiked: What happened when the police investigated you?

Harry Miller: It was January, I had just been shopping and I was sitting in the car park and I got a phone call from work saying that a copper had turned up at the office and wanted to speak to me. They gave me his number and I rang him. I had no idea what it was about. He said I was wanted for transphobic hate speech. Somebody from down south had complained. They said my workplace was probably a very ‘dangerous’ place because of me. I thought this was ridiculous. I asked the officer, ‘Have I committed any crime?’. He said, ‘No, you have not committed a crime’.

The police had 30 tweets of mine. I asked the officer, ‘What’s the worst one you’ve got? Which one comes closest to the edge of being dangerously criminal?’ He said, ‘Well, there is this limerick’. I replied to say that I hadn’t written any limericks. He said, ‘No, but you have retweeted a limerick’. He read it to me, and I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me’. It wasn’t even a limerick. It was a lyric from a feminist song. He told me I had to stop doing this. I asked again if I had done anything wrong. And that is when he said the immortal line: ‘I need to check your thinking.’

I told him all about George Orwell. Nineteen Eighty-Four was supposed to be a dystopian novel, not a policing manual. He had never heard of George Orwell so that flew totally over his head. Then he said to me, ‘What you have to understand, Mr Miller, is that sometimes a female brain grows with the wrong body parts and that is what being trans is’. And I thought, just fucking roll that one back a second, will you? I asked if that was the official definition of trans? And he said, ‘Yes, I’ve been on a course’.

I just laughed at him. I spent over 30 minutes on the phone to him while he lectured me on thoughtcrime, lady brains and penises, which I thought was quite amusing. When the news broke, everyone started sending limericks to Humberside police which really pissed on their chips.

The assistant chief constable went public to explain the decision to investigate me. He said that the police were ‘in possession of more than 30 transphobic tweets and we’ve had to intervene to stop it escalating’. I was thinking, how can a non-crime escalate to a crime? They had already said that nothing I did was criminal. So what is the formula for escalation?

We put a complaint in and all the police did was double down. They said they had to intervene on these things because of Stephen Lawrence. I said I wasn’t entirely sure how my tweets could possibly be linked to a stabbing of a black kid at a bus stop by a bunch of white racist thugs. They said, ‘We are not saying you can’t tweet. We are just saying we would rather you didn’t.’

I then asked Humberside police to remove me from their hate-crime statistics. They said they couldn’t because they were following the policing guidelines. Bizarrely, the College of Policing’s guidelines say that ‘a hate incident is any incident that a police officer or another member of the public considers to be motivated by hate’. It also says, ‘no evidence of hate is required’. No evidence of hate is required? Well, that’s absolute nonsense, how could that possibly be true? We have now been granted a judicial review at the High Court in November to challenge this.

spiked: What’s the aim of the judicial review?

Miller: There are two defendants. First is Humberside police. We’ve told them to remove my name from their hate-incident statistics. They can’t have me down as a hate incident because there was no hate and there was no incident. Defendant number two is the College of Policing. We have told them they have to immediately withdraw their guidelines on hate incidents because they make no sense.

The problem is that there is a massive conflation between guidance and law. The College of Policing issue guidance that is based on Stonewall’s definition of transphobia, which is not based in law. According to Stonewall and the police, transphobia covers anyone that refuses to believe in the trans ideology. That ideology doesn’t just include men who think they are women — it includes non-binary, agender, bigender, genderfluid, gender-neutral, gender variant, intergender… the list goes on and on. So I have to believe in all of these because to say I don’t believe in them is ‘hate speech’. We are being coerced into believing this bollocks.

spiked: Are we in danger of criminalising everyday speech?

Miller: Absolutely. It took me from January until June to get a copy of the tweets the police were investigatng. One of them simply said, ‘When did transgender day of remembrance become a thing?’. Just asking the question. Another one – and I have no idea who I’m saying this to because they’ve redacted it – was me retweeting something with a comment and all I’ve put is, ‘Huh?’. ‘Huh’ is now hate speech. Seriously, ‘huh’ is hate speech. Another one is me saying, ‘I’m switching channels between Gillette Soccer Saturday and Sarah Brightman on Sky Arts. Proof positive that I’m genderqueer.’ I was taking the piss out of myself and that’s considered hate speech. And not just hate speech. The police say that this was hate speech ‘designed to cause upset and distress to the transgender community.’ Are they fucking having a laugh?

My friend Margaret Nelson, who is in her 70s, is also part of the Fair Cop campaign. She wrote a blog that talked about the archaeological sexing of bones. She had a phone call from the police because sexing bones is transphobic. Seriously? She was investigated for the crime of misgendering by the West Yorkshire police. And then there’s me, who retweeted a shit limerick and questioned ‘transgender day’. So, there’s a whole bunch of us who think this is ridiculous. Just because we don’t believe in the gender fairy, that automatically puts us on the wrong side of the law.

The police, as far as we are concerned, should be upholding the law, that’s it. What they shouldn’t be doing is upholding a political ideology. We are saying this is not right and it needs to stop.

Harry Miller was talking to Fraser Myers. You can support Harry’s appeal here.

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Comments

Ing Soc

20th August 2019 at 8:02 pm

The Police in the west have become just like the police in the east. Stasis all of them.

Libertarian Poet

21st August 2019 at 12:15 pm

I agree with you but due to my inescapable pedantry I feel compelled to comment that stasis means a state of stillness. Stasi is already plural. Sorry.

Ven Oods

18th August 2019 at 4:42 pm

Since we’re supposed to have too few police to cope with actual crimes, perhaps they could consider not spending time on matters which they admit are not crimes.
The level of utter wonkery suggested by “I’ve been on a course.” is quite scary. Rather like having an NVQ level 1 in Brain Surgery.

Marvin Jones

23rd August 2019 at 12:55 pm

The brain surgery did take place, but the brain was nowhere to be seen. SO? a police course void of any intelligence.

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Chis Marley

18th August 2019 at 1:44 am

Love is more powerful than hate otherwise we wouldn’t be here. Hey ho Birthstrike are sorting that now. Now what was the crime that the Roman laws designated punishment was to be tied up in a sack with hungry monkey and bad tempered snake? It cant have been veganism because starving to death was deemed unsightly even in Rome, I seem to remember it was something to do with being rather mean to your parents. This was well before JC so of course the senate pay no heed to the innocence or other of the monkey because monkeys could never become Consul. Thats why Calligula could justify the appointment of his horse. There was no shortage of snakes in Rome. They were called senators whose blood could only be kept warm with liberal applications of Gold. It has to be said….I wouldnt pray for the second coming of Christ….we should all prey for the second coming of Julius Caesar Imperitor …
dont follow leaders, marry your parking meters…..seriously it may be last laugh we get

Bear Mac Mathun

18th August 2019 at 12:54 am

I think 1984 was always a police dream – that this is some sort of police utopia. Given that the author did spend some time serving with the colonial police, he well understood the desire for such a situation.

Mark Houghton

17th August 2019 at 10:48 am

I was about to make a comment that we’re all living in clown land but it’s worse – here you could end up in court for saying that the Emperor had no clothes on. Meanwhile in other news Specsavers staff are getting ‘training’ in unconscious bias despite the fact that such bias has not been proven to exist.

Mark Williams

17th August 2019 at 9:53 am

I’m in Australia, and I’ve been following the politicisation of the UK police from afar given I have family in the UK.

It’s scary.

Watching these foolish police officers dress up in rainbow colours and dance with the LGBTQIAMONSTER+ brigade sends shivers down my spine.

The police should have no policies and thoughts on the rainbow LGBTQIAMONSTER+ brigade. The police exist to protect the citizenry, not advocate for groups of people or ideologies.

The “training” police officers undertook was no doubt ideological nonsense, mostly likely the “gender unicorn” or “gender elephant”, the usual gender is the “social construct” distinct from biological sex.

It amazes me that people swallow this bullshit. And it amazes me that no one from the political class mentions it (as far as I can tell).

The only party talking about the politicisation of Britain’s institutions — the Left’s long march having now become obvious to the average onlooker — is UKIP.

James Green

17th August 2019 at 9:35 am

The police of Yorkshire watched paedostanis defile our kids for an eternity, that’s fine apparantly—but calling a poofter a poofter is a crime!

Danny Rees

18th August 2019 at 11:26 am

We get it you don’t like Pakistanis or gays.

Neil McCaughan

18th August 2019 at 3:11 pm

He doesn’t like paedophiles. Presumably you do.

Danny Rees

18th August 2019 at 9:37 pm

Presumably you’re an idiot.

Marvin Jones

23rd August 2019 at 1:02 pm

One must not call a spade a spade, it is legally a shovel claim the police service in their high heels and painted finger nails.

Jane 70

16th August 2019 at 4:19 pm

Very well said and some most welcome common sense.

The influence of trans dogma in schools is also very worrying: a friend’s grand daughters are in the same class as a boy of seven who now self-identifies as a girl, with the apparent consent of teachers and parents.

Where will all this lead and why is basic biological evidence being discarded ?

Most of us are now reluctant to use changing rooms or ‘gender-fluid’ public loos.

XX = female.

Jane 70

16th August 2019 at 4:34 pm

Meant as reply to Dr Ashby

Marvin Jones

23rd August 2019 at 1:07 pm

Where is it going? can’t be long now when a thing walks into school or work with a lead on it’s neck and demands that today ” I am a bitch”.

Gerard Barry

16th August 2019 at 3:57 pm

“Bizarrely, the College of Policing’s guidelines say that ‘a hate incident is any incident that a police officer or another member of the public considers to be motivated by hate’. It also says, ‘no evidence of hate is required’.”

I find this is more than just “bizarre” – it’s downright disturbing.

Pernille Dahl Johnsen

17th August 2019 at 11:47 am

It is terrifying.

The upside is that this can be used against the claims that hate-crime is on the rise. One should demand specified numbers detailing whether what is rising is just self-reported-incidents-that-were-not-criminal-and-where-there-was-no-hate.

Gerard Barry

17th August 2019 at 2:38 pm

The whole idea of criminalising “hate” is absurd. Most people hate someone or something, and sometimes with good reason. The only speech that should be criminal is perhaps incitement to violence or genuine harassment of someone. Everything else should be tolerated.

Danny Rees

18th August 2019 at 9:40 pm

Ok Gerard how about hate against white straight men?

Pediculosis pubis

16th August 2019 at 2:08 pm

So, if I were to point out that the word “transphobia”, formed as it is from a Latin word meaning “across” and a Greek work meaning “fear” from which has been derived “phobia”, a medical term meaning “an extreme or irrational behaviour-affecting fear”, quite evidently means “an extreme fear of bridges or level-crossings”; would that be “hate speech”?

Jane 70

16th August 2019 at 4:36 pm

And arachnophobia, which many of us experience. Is this speciesist and therefore a hate crime against 8 legged critters?

Jane 70

16th August 2019 at 4:40 pm

Actually on reflection, now that some universities are no longer requiring maths at A level for aspiring engineering students, your version of transphobia might well be fully justified in the near future.
Engineers who can’t do maths ; don’t think so.

Marvin Jones

23rd August 2019 at 2:06 pm

You will be totally safe. Can you imagine the cops figuring that one out?

Winston Stanley

16th August 2019 at 1:59 pm

Britain has never been a liberal country with a commitment to free speech, things have just got worse. It even had a blasphemy law until 2008. “Liberalism” is now understood in Britain as control rather than freedom, like pick a new dogma to enshrine in law. Really that is the opposite of liberalism, illiberalism.

The authoritarian dogmatism is really no different to IS, the dogmas just happen to be different. Both are authoritarian set ups that think that it is “good and righteous” to control what people say, and both are dangerous places to voice opinions. The state wants control over your brain, and definitely over your mouth.

Britain is about as “free” as it is “democratic”, both are just a pretence for state power over society and the individual. Ironic, UK uses “freedom and democracy” as a pretext to legitimise military interventions in other countries. This society is based around pretence and pretext rather than realities. An aggressive twist to Plato’s “foundational myth”.

Winston Stanley

16th August 2019 at 3:07 pm

Slavery is freedom – Orwell got the slogan the wrong way round.

Dr Peter R Ashby

16th August 2019 at 1:46 pm

I am a published Biomedical scientist. ALL the features claimed to define male or female brains have been thoroughly and statistically debunked. The one about women having more connections between the hemispheres (Thicker corpus callosum) disappeared when the smaller size, on average, of female vs male brains (because body size differences, on average) were properly taken into account.

So the police claim otherwise contradicts the current best science. As a Biomedical scientist who understands a lot about sex determination in development (I know what Sry does to dna, do the police?) NOBODY without a large statistically and genetically valid corpus of data is going to persuade me of biological reality.

Am I against Trans people? No. Though I think the psychological data that a lot of it is based on gay people who are or are raised in a homophobic environment seems valid.

The safeguarding of girls and women is being thrown wholesale under a bus to appease a bunch of self entitled Male Bodied Persons. I’m brother to 3 sisters, a husband, father to two daughters and uncle to 5 nieces and 5 nephews. I have a vested interest therefore in this fight and I’m not going to shut up.

I would also like very much to ask the police why calling someone a TERF is not hate speech? Why tweeting pictures of you with your pink studded baseball bat and threatening to beat up TERFs with it is not hate speech or threatening behaviour?

Feminists are being assaulted by TRA’s and often the police do nothing from fear of political repercussions. And if a TRA is prosecuted they will insist on being sent to a prison according to their claimed gender regardless of their sexual orientation. Prisons are full of vulnerable women and we are sending potential predators with violent tendencies in there. Where is the duty to safeguard women prisoners?

Winston Stanley

16th August 2019 at 2:19 pm

Why does the state take sides and apply different rules? Britain aims its policy at conformity, not at freedom. The pressure of the mob is seen as facilitating conformity. That is seen as a normal way that society functions to enforce conformity. Britain is an authoritarian society, it has never been a liberal society, so it would be a mistake to expect the state to act in a principled liberal manner. “Liberalism” is a gloss on authoritarianism in Britain, never was anything else.

steve moxon

16th August 2019 at 5:02 pm

If you imagine there are no differences between male and female brains then you appear to be a self-confessed scientific ignoramus (and haven’t been keeping up with not only all sorts of research across disciplines but whole fields, such as the ‘paradigm shift’ in research into stress response mechanism to treat it as sex-dichotomous), “published biomedical scientist” or not.
I’m just about the last person to support rather than contest anything ‘PC’ or re ‘identity politics’, but this is a strange wicket on which to choose to bat against all the nonsense, for the reason that albeit in tiny numbers — far fewer than are usually claimed — there indeed are some individuals who are outwardly (somatically, as it were) of one sex, but — presumably as a result of one of a number of possible in-embryo malfunctions that average out to a steady statistical prevalence — possess ‘brain patterning’ that is of the opposite sex. Not all of those claiming to be ‘trans-sexual’ are phoney in some way. Some really do feel — and feel about as strongly as it is possible to feel — that they are ‘in the wrong body’, as it were. These individuals hardly can be dismissed. To be dismissed by feminists of all people — who are amongst if not leading the crowd of the most scientifically, historically and culturally illiterate folk on the planet — is quite a joke. Sure the whole ‘TERF’ war is ridiculous, but the feminists are getting back their own boomerang.

Hana Jinks

16th August 2019 at 10:55 pm

Presumably….not. Homosexuality is an evil spirit, Steve.

Marvin Jones

23rd August 2019 at 1:56 pm

The problem is Steve, how do we separate the real from the freaks.

Hana Jinks

16th August 2019 at 10:53 pm

Peter.

So you understand that it’s God alone that determines a person’s sex, right?

Danny Rees

18th August 2019 at 11:33 am

What God?

Hana Jinks

18th August 2019 at 12:30 pm

The God that made us, Danny.

Winston Stanley

18th August 2019 at 10:33 pm

Oh, you mean the GREEK gods.

Marvin Jones

23rd August 2019 at 2:02 pm

A medieval primate just had to bring up this crap. Do you know how many god’s the illiterate and ignorant so called two legged imbeciles have invented?

Rob Jessel

16th August 2019 at 10:46 am

You can help change the law by supporting Harry’s crowdfunder: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/challenging-thought-crime/

Jane 70

16th August 2019 at 11:05 am

Done; thanks for the link.

Danny Rees

16th August 2019 at 1:39 pm

You mean to tell me if I tweet something that offends some people I can then use that to get support and rake in donations?

Cor blimey I’ll get straight on it.

Paul Carlin

16th August 2019 at 1:43 pm

Done, and thanks.

cliff resnick

16th August 2019 at 10:46 am

“Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad”!

Winston Stanley

16th August 2019 at 2:10 pm

Some people may feel that Britain is basically over now anyway, so the state can now go as crazy as it likes. We can all scream and rage into the abyss. A semblance of sanity is now neither here nor there. /s

Marvin Jones

23rd August 2019 at 2:04 pm

God committed suicide when Eve took that apple from the talking serpent.

Paul Carlin

16th August 2019 at 10:27 am

I feel so oppressed by this. Where can I claim some compensation?

Amelia Cantor

16th August 2019 at 10:19 am

I cannot understand Spiked’s obsessive transphobia. The transgender community are seeking to expand human freedom and smash the bonds of history and of so-called biology. What could be more progressive and humanist than that?

Hana Jinks

16th August 2019 at 10:44 pm

Gilf clap.

Pernille Dahl Johnsen

17th August 2019 at 11:52 am

It is not expanding anyone’s freedom when one is forcing people to think and feel a certain way. That is precisly what the transactivists are doing. They are also taking away our children’s right to have a natural ans sound relationship to their own bodies and sexuality. Noone is born with the “wrong body”, that is abuse and cruel. Most of them are just gay, or masculine girls or feminine boys, and that it what we need to convey to children: That every type og boy and girl is ok, and is still aboy and still a girl. What is too nrrow are the genderroles, not biology.

Jerry Owen

17th August 2019 at 3:52 pm

Along pops A Cantor of.. ‘Neil Farage’ fame !
Why take any notice of such a dimwit ?

Marvin Jones

23rd August 2019 at 1:09 pm

Insanity and suicide.

fret slider

16th August 2019 at 9:55 am

To join the police, the Met for example, you need nothing more than a Grade C GSCE in English

They’ve probably read Spot the dog.

Belinda Edwards

16th August 2019 at 10:26 am

That’s not a problem. I’d prefer police officers to have common sense over academic qualifications. This idiocy comes from the direct entry graduates who uncritically imbibe this woke nonsense.

Jonnie Henly

16th August 2019 at 6:27 pm

“This idiocy comes from the direct entry graduates who uncritically imbibe this woke nonsense.”

Can you prove that, or is it just a load of unsubstantiated BS?

RedHot Scot

16th August 2019 at 8:12 pm

@JONNIE HENLY

As an ex copper, I can confirm it.

Neil John

16th August 2019 at 12:05 pm

The Met has long had a problem with staff turnover due to the lower qualification requirements, a lot join to become police officers and once they have sufficient experience to qualify for transfer move back to their home areas. It also leads to other problems with officers, the ‘disbanded’ SPG, now TSG, attracting some of the most violent individuals in the job.

Marvin Jones

23rd August 2019 at 1:10 pm

Didn’t Spot get a B?

Tim Hare

16th August 2019 at 8:52 am

The police should be asking transgender people why they want to stop the expression of opinions which they disagree with. Stopping the expression of such opinions does not stop those opinions from being held. They have not changed the minds of people only their capacity to express their minds. Whatever ‘hate’ existed before its expression became a crime still exists in those who disagree with transgender ideology.

The police should be asking what can possibly achieved by silencing people. How does this work for transgender people? It is just putting their hands over their ears in the hope that the hate will go away.

The rest of us should be asking the same questions of the police. What can they possibly achieve by simply silencing people? It doesn’t change anything. It is a futile pursuit and the risk is that by silencing people they might eventually explode into violence and that would be a problem the police have a responsibility to deal with.

Jane 70

16th August 2019 at 10:59 am

Absolutely; what I call the pressure cooker effect: Brexit was the most significant example of hitherto silent public resentment and discontent, and we’re still waiting!
Those of us who occupy the real world with 2 equal sexes-enough for me -,and who value our supposed freedom of thought and opinion cannot be gagged by the thought police, the various ‘activists’ and SJWs indefinitely.

H McLean

16th August 2019 at 1:24 pm

As Jordan B Peterson has pointed out many time, most trans people just want to quietly get on with their lives. It’s the trans-activists – who are outraged on behalf of trans people and feel it their duty to put their stamp of social justice dogma on society – who push their ideology to manipulate politicians and the law that cause all the trouble. ALL of this has originated in the academy, which has embraced this Orwellian power-grab with gusto. There’s a reason they’re called the regressive left.

Danny Rees

16th August 2019 at 1:44 pm

In this instance all it does is allow blokes to go “cor ya can’t say anything these days”.

Pub bores.

Danny Rees

16th August 2019 at 8:41 am

Trans critical tweets…

“Citing 30 potentially offensive tweets, the PC singled out a limerick Mr Miller had retweeted which questioned whether transgender women are biological women. It included the lines: “Your breasts are made of silicone, your vagina goes nowhere.”

Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/24/man-investigated-police-retweeting-transgender-limerick/

Can Spiked tell the difference between criticism and pejoratives?

JPM Culligan

16th August 2019 at 6:44 pm

Well, he would have had the defence of telling the truth had he been prosecuted for slander or libel…

RedHot Scot

16th August 2019 at 8:15 pm

Do you understand the concept of fact?

Robert Spowart

16th August 2019 at 8:36 am

“I asked if that was the official definition of trans? And he said, ‘Yes, I’ve been on a course’.”

Ah! The foul cancer of Common Purpose raises its ugly head again.

Jonnie Henly

16th August 2019 at 6:26 pm

Such a simplistic response.

christopher barnard

16th August 2019 at 8:26 am

The police are now infected with the disease of political correctness just as much as other state controlled organisations such as councils and the BBC.

Mr Miller is a victim of this, but others have suffered more, for example the child abuse victims of Rochdale and Rotherham.

Gregory Buswell

16th August 2019 at 8:38 am

Those young girls are collateral damage as far as the pseudo-liberals are concerned.

Danny Rees

16th August 2019 at 8:43 am

It was no the police who were guilty of political correctness re the rape gangs, it was the social services and social workers.

Danny Rees

16th August 2019 at 8:44 am

NOT the police I mean

Jim Lawrie

16th August 2019 at 9:40 am

The crimes were reported to the Police and they refused to take action.

The Police now behave like privateers, deciding their own targets.

The above incidents will be logged and ticked off as successfully dealt with. Then presented as part of their statistics on their successful, “robust” action against bigotry, as defined by them.

The latest Greta Thunberg will add further to The Police’s record of success.

Danny Rees

16th August 2019 at 1:41 pm

The police refused to take action but not due to PC but not believing victims of men who sexually abuse and assault young women/girls.

This needs to be tackled not so called PC.

Jane 70

16th August 2019 at 5:54 am

“Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Enough said: the cognition cops are on their way.

Philip Humphrey

16th August 2019 at 7:34 am

The section at the end of 1984 on Newspeak is even more chilling when you read it now. The idea that by controlling language, you can control thought has been adopted by leftists worldwide. And they control much of the media and big-tech firms. And yet when leftists read 1984 somehow they don’t get that Orwell had them in mind when he wrote the book. When President Trump was elected, sales of the book went up. And yet Big Brother is much closer to the leftists than right wing libertarians.

Jane 70

16th August 2019 at 10:53 am

How right you are. Recently, I read Orwell’s ‘The Road To Wigan Pier’ in which he takes a very critical aim at the middle class socialists of his day.
Plus ca change…..

Jonathan Marshall

16th August 2019 at 4:20 pm

“The idea that by controlling language, you can control thought” is central to Orwell’s 1984; one of the characters in that book enthuses over the idea that before too long “Thoughtcrime” would be impossible as people simply would no longer have the language to do so.

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