“The Eleventh Edition is the definitive edition”, he said. “We’re getting the language into its final shape—the shape it’s going to have when nobody speaks anything else.”
- George Orwell, (Nineteen Eighty-Four, London, Secker & Warburg, 1966, p.54).
Our PM has acquired a reputation—or rather reputations—overseas, largely sympathetic and supportive. Her choice of words sometimes gives cause for concern though and has recently earned her a bit of a reputation as the “Don’t talk to your neighbour” PM. Whether extreme speech or just tough love, time will tell, but if your neighbour is fifteen or twenty feet away, then really? you shouldn’t greet them, or talk to them? Or is that not what she meant?
Twenty-three years ago, I wrote a little book entitled Mind Control, the result of a thesis on the subject of cults. It described a suite of ten practices characteristic of cult groups, including the use of fear and intimidation, relationship control, information control, reporting structures, and loaded language. If just some of the practices were present, then it could be called a group with cultic features. If most or all were present, then it was a full-blown cult. In passing I made some parallels with several places around the world, known to all, where it happens on a national scale. I also looked at how, if ex-cultists don’t resolve issues related to those practices, they run the risk of perpetuating them in other contexts.