"Progressive doublethink—which has grown worse in reaction to the right-wing kind—creates a more insidious unreality because it operates in the name of all that is good."
Doublethink produces cognitive dissonance, confusion, and ultimately, emotional distress. A healthy, free and rational human being will reject the contradictions and throw it all on the trash heap. But tyranny makes you pay a high price for doing so, be it a boot to the face from a 1984-style dictatorial regime, or from today's social media pile-ons and banishment from the Woke Hive.
So, we develop coping mechanisms, and Packer's cogent description is brilliant:
Some people who register […] doublethink might be privately troubled, but they don’t say so publicly. Then self-censorship turns into self-deception, until the recognition itself disappears—a lie you accept becomes a lie you forget. In this way, intelligent people do the work of eliminating their own unorthodoxy without the Thought Police.He sums up the dangers of this in his penultimate two paragraphs. Please comprehend them and tell us what you think in the comments.
Orthodoxy is also enforced by social pressure, nowhere more intensely than on Twitter, where the specter of being shamed or “canceled” produces conformity as much as the prospect of adding to your tribe of followers does. This pressure can be more powerful than a party or state, because it speaks in the name of the people and in the language of moral outrage, against which there is, in a way, no defense. Certain commissars with large followings patrol the precincts of social media and punish thought criminals, but most progressives assent without difficulty to the stifling consensus of the moment and the intolerance it breeds—not out of fear, but because they want to be counted on the side of justice.
This willing constriction of intellectual freedom will do lasting damage. It corrupts the ability to think clearly, and it undermines both culture and progress. Good art doesn’t come from wokeness, and social problems starved of debate can’t find real solutions. “Nothing is gained by teaching a parrot a new word,” Orwell wrote in 1946. “What is needed is the right to print what one believes to be true, without having to fear bullying or blackmail from any side.” Not much has changed since the 1940s. The will to power still passes through hatred on the right and virtue on the left.