Doublethink

From George Orwell’s 1984, doublethink is the concept that one can hold two contradictory opinions to be true. From the novel, the government would proffer that “WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”

I’m concerned that our communal sensemaking apparatus is failing to purge similar ideas from the public domain. I intend to collect examples here as I recognize them. Most of these are anti-left. I don’t want to be one-sided, but that’s where I seem to identify more contradictions (perhaps because the media has a general left-bias). Please share if you have other examples to provide better balance.

Identity Politics

Racial Identity Politics

  • Identity is a construct so you can change your sex, AND identity is a biological reality so you cannot change your race.
    • Such as support for transgenderism and disdain of transracialism (i.e. Rachel Dolezal).
    • This problem is amplified the fact that there is significantly more biological justification for sex to be static than there is for race.
  • Race and culture are inextricably linked, AND race and culture are not inextricably linked.
    • The former is exemplified in the claim that cultural appropriation is bad because that culture should be reserved for those of that race. The latter is used to discount the positive contributions of European enlightment to discount predominantly white progress.
  • Racism is prejudice plus power, AND empowered minorities who are prejudiced are still not racist.
  • Racism is prejudice based on skin color, racism is bad, AND prejudiced views against white people or for the benefit of minorities is good (or at least acceptable).
    • This could be like the 2020 Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone specifically banning white people from one of it’s parks, to relatively more innocuous examples of affirmative action. Essentially—it’s okay to be racist in the name of anti-racism. Rather than restorative justice, sometimes this contradiction can devolve into retributive justice.
  • We ought specifically celebrate minority history months, AND we ought not celebrate minority history months because doing so situates “white history” as the default narrative.
    • The latter view is taken by Critical Race Theorists like Robin DiAngelo in White Fragility.

Sexual Identity Politics

  • Men and women are equals or should be treated as equals, AND women are better than men.
    • Referencing any number of female empowerment memes that amplify those areas where women excel compared to men as a means of describing them as superior.
  • Women should have equitable representation in the fields that generally cater to men’s interests (engineering, math, military, etc.), AND men should not be treated as the default sex.
    • Women generally prefer more sociable fields. Nobody is insisting that we need more men in nursing, teaching, public relations, social work, or veterinary medicine. That some insist that women ought to be taking over certain predominantly male-interest fields is to treat men’s preferences as the default to which women should model their careers. I first heard this argument from Helen Pluckrose in The Grievance Studies Affair (00:03:55).
  • Men and women are not biological realities but social constructs, AND men and women need to biologically alter themselves to become the other sex.
    • If it’s just a social construct, why are hormones and surgeries needed?
  • Trans women are real women because they identify as such, AND trans women are not real women because they haven’t grown up with the lifetime of social and physical experiences of biological women.
    • As illustrated in the LGBT versus TERF divide.
  • Women and men are political equals, AND when a woman is interrupted in political debate it is the unique evil of mansplaining.
    • Reference the 2020 election debates. Trump and Biden interrupted each other non-stop. But when Pence would interrupt Harris, the Twittersphere would paint it as the product of sexism.

Morality

  • The progressive belief that morality is subjective, AND we ought judge our founding fathers, Churchill, conservatives, and others according to progressive standards.
    • The latter must obviously illustrated in the vandalization and tearing down of statues of once-revered people—such as George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and more.
  • Western countries are the worst because of how they oppress minorities, AND non-Western countries that are far more oppressive are somehow better or less in need of social critique.
    • People will heavily critique America for the insufficiency of progress on gay or women’s rights, for example, but will fail to levy the same judgment at far less progressive countries in the Middle East, Africa, or Asia.

Public Policy

  • The problem with gun violence is the guns, AND the problem with police gun violence is the police.
    • This may be an uncharitable interpretation—as most strident gun-reform advocates would (assumingly) not discount that murderers are still a problem. But the emphasis on the tool versus emphasis on the actor is still different in each case.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, that open-the-economy, pro-Trump, or other protests were unacceptable and unsafe, AND that the 2020 BLM protests (at dramatically increased scale) were acceptable and safe.

Religion

  • God is the basis for objective morality, AND acceptance of slavery and general maltreatment of people advocated for in Deuteronomy and Leviticus are subjective to their time.
    • My favorite reference is DEU13.6, where followers are demanded to stone to death their friends and family members that tell them to worship other Gods. Either (1) there is a morally correct answer to stoning your brother or daughter to death for apostasy or (2) it is subjective to the time and circumstances.
  • There is only one God, AND that God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
    • This seems largely a definitional problem. The Trinity Doctrine states that these three distinct persons are of one holy essence. The word God seems overloaded, to be describing two things: both the three persons and the single essence.

Anti-Trump Media

President Trump is a divisive figure, and his presidency has amplified hyperbole across the political spectrum. Because of his divisive nature, the desire to remove him seems to have created an at-any-cost incentive in the media—leading to a lot of hypocritical doublethink. I don’t intend to use this platform to bolster President Trump or his policies, but rather critique the poor and contradictory thinking that defines much of his media opposition.

  • Donald Trump should be castigated for failing to denounce white supremacy, AND Joe Biden is in the clear for failing to denounce Antifa.
    • This hypocrisy being aggravated by the fact that Trump has denounced white supremacy on multiple occasions, and further aggravated by the fact that Antifa was a more violent, destructive, and prolific organization in 2020, seemingly meaning the burden on Biden to denounce them should be higher.
  • Donald Trump failed in the COVID crisis by failing to use the Federal Government enough, AND Donald Trump is a fascist.
    • The fascist claim has always seemed empty to me—he has been more isolationist and republican (leaving power to the states) than any President in recent history.
  • Donald Trump and Michael Flynn were accused of undermining U.S. policy and violating the Logan Act by communicating with foreign leaders before Trump’s inauguration, AND it is good when Biden starts communicating with world leaders before his inauguration.
    • This article sums up the argument from the right.
  • Stacey Abrams not conceding her race in Georgia (post-electoral certification) was brave and powerful, AND Donald Trump failing to concede (pre-electoral certification) is a threat to democracy.