How interesting that the point of conflict between Henry and Sts John and Thomas was “marriage”. In reality both John and Thomas understood that the King wanted to usurp the place of God, practically speaking the issue was that Henry wanted to take control of men’s consciences.
In the case of Thomas especially his crime was a “thought crime”, daring to think differently from the King and the government. St Thomas had deliberately kept silent on the matter whilst St John had quite simply said that what the King intended to call “marriage” to Ann Boleyn was in reality “adultery”. Henry used the Law and the death penalty to force men to think his adultery was “marriage”, he made “obedience to conscience” mean “treachery”. By the Law sin was made virtue and virtue vice.
We see again, in our own age, governments wanting to take control of consciences, governments taking control of language, changing fundamental words. As in the days of Moore and Fisher the issue is still about the definition of “marriage”.
There will be no way to define any longer what we had previously understood by that word “marriage”, the redefinition will colour and redefine our whole culture, our appreciation of history, our understanding of human relationships, our education.
Both the UK and the US the government is using all its muscle not just to change society but how we think and understand ourselves. We stand on the brink of something truly frightening, truly sinister. Having started where will it end?
Here is a little extract from Orwell’s 1984:
‘Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Already, in the Eleventh Edition, we’re not far from that point. But the process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there’s no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. It’s merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won’t be any need even for that. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak,’ he added with a sort of mystical satisfaction. ‘Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?’
‘Except-’ began Winston doubtfully, and he stopped.
It had been on the tip of his tongue to say ‘Except the proles,’ but he checked himself, not feeling fully certain that this remark was not in some way unorthodox. Syme, however, had divined what he was about to say.
‘The proles are not human beings,’ he said carelessly. ‘By 2050 earlier, probably — all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron — they’ll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like “freedom is slavery” when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking — not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.’