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Giving evil a pleasant label

We must resist the doublethink and newspeak of our day


Pro-abortion supporters gather outside the state Capitol in Phoenix, Ariz., on April 17. Associated Press/Photo by Matt York

Giving evil a pleasant label
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George Orwell coined the terms “doublethink” and “newspeak” in his classic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Thousands of years before Orwell, the Bible pronounced woe to “those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). Consider three contemporary examples of this ancient phenomenon of inverting the meaning of words to promote evil—“pro-choice,” “anti-racism,” and “gender-affirming care.”

To be “pro” something is, at the very least, to not seek to reduce or end that something. One cannot simultaneously claim to be pro-North Atlantic Right Whale, for example, while simultaneously roving the seas to entangle, strike, or harpoon these magnificent water beasts.

After the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision in 2022, the abortion question has turned back to the states. Here is why words matter as we seek to win the minds of our fellow citizens to protect human life at all stages. How many choices have been cancelled out, rendered impossible, precluded by the so-called “pro-choice” movement? Take an extremely conservative figure and say an average human being, if his or her life is not terminated in utero, makes a total of 1,000 choices over the course of an average lifetime. According to the World Health Organization there are an estimated 73 million induced abortions around the world annually. Assume next that in each of those 73 million cases, the mother involved made a free choice to terminate her pregnancy (a naïve assumption given hard evidence that a majority of women felt pressured by others to have an abortion).

So assuming, contrary to evidence, that each woman’s choice to abort is a free choice, then what are we left with? We would then have 73 million choices to eliminate all future choices for 73 million developing choice-makers, each with a unique body, DNA code, and future. On this scheme, the pro-choice movement is responsible for preventing 73 billion choices that would have otherwise occurred in the world, a net loss of 72,927,000,000 choices. No movement—including Nazism and Communism, each with staggering 20th century death tolls—comes close to the “pro-choice” movement in preventing more human choices that would have otherwise been made.

Next consider the doublespeak term “anti-racism,” championed by Ibram X. Kendi and others who hold tremendous, disproportionate power in Western education, entertainment, and corporate culture today. Kendi’s “anti-racism” champions the dogma that “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

Gender-affirming care necessarily includes sex-rejecting harm.

Voices within the anti-racist ideological stream can utter things like “#CancelWhitePeople” (Sarah Jeong), and “whites are incapable of making any valid judgements about human existence” (James Cone). Ekimini Uwan, who brands herself “an anti-racist public theologian” can declare that “whiteness is wickedness.” So-called “anti-racism” explicitly advocates for prejudging people on the basis of pigmentation—the very definition of racism. Color, in this ideology, determines who is the oppressed and who is the oppressor, along with who can speak and who “are like babies who … must be told when to speak and what to say” (namely, “whites” according to Cone). As many states have been embroiled in debates over anti-racism and its sister ideology “Critical Race Theory,” again, words matter.

As a third case-in-point of Orwellian doublethink and newspeak we are now confronted with the euphemism “gender-affirming care.” The unspoken worldview premise of such care is the idea, crafted by pedophile rights activists and ideologues, that one’s “gender” refers to a subjective mental state that may vary independently of one’s biological sex. On such a scheme, gender-affirming care necessarily includes sex-rejecting harm. Sex-rejecting harm is an accurate term to describe efforts like social transitioning, puberty blockers, hormone therapies, double mastectomies, gender reassignment surgeries, and other processes aimed deliberately at masking or nullifying the expression of one’s biological sex.

Like those who call evil good and good evil, there are powerful people in our society who call the precluding of billions of choices “pro-choice,” the perpetuation of race-based discrimination “anti-racism,” and procedures to attempt to make men into woman and women into men as “gender-affirming.” In his remarkable essay “Live Not By Lies,” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn signals our way forward:

…. we find, neglected by us, the simplest, the most accessible key to our liberation: a personal nonparticipation in lies!... Never knowingly support lies! And thus, overcoming our timidity, let each man choose: Will he remain a witting servant of the lies … or has the time come for him to stand straight as an honest man, worthy of the respect of his children and contemporaries?


Thaddeus Williams

Thaddeus Williams is the author of the best-selling book Confronting Injustice Without Compromising Truth: 12 Questions Christians Should Ask About Social Justice (Zondervan/HarperCollins, 2020). He serves as associate professor of systematic theology for the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University and resides in Orange County, Calif., with his wife and four kids.


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