Newspeak Glossary

The use of Newspeak is now so widespread that every informed reader (and writer) must be conversant in it. As a public service, the editors of the Apocalypse Review have decided to publish an excerpt from our Am Cap Newspeak Glossary, which is part of our Editor’s Guide. Additions and edits are welcome.

Laffer Curve. A graph of taxation income elasticity that claims to demonstrate how lowering taxes increases tax revenue. It was first graphed by Arthur Laffer in 1974 on a back of a napkin, during a meeting with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Since that time, the Laffer Curve has been used by conservatives to justify any fiscally irresponsible policy formulated on the back of a napkin, most notably the 2012 Kansas state budget.

Laffer is widely praised for his work by conservatives, who credit him with doing more to turn economics into a non-empirical discipline than any other living economist.

Trickle-down. An approach to social welfare in which the social safety net is replaced by tips. Please see Billionaires pledge to tip better.

Free-market economy. A modern rethinking of feudalism in which the manor house is replaced by the corporate campus, the nobility by a Board of Directors and the demesne by intellectual property monopolies and corporate combines. As with serfs under the medieval version of feudalism, the bargaining power of workers in a “free-market economy” is tightly controlled, though in “free-market economies” this is achieved through non-compete contracts and xenophobic immigration policies, rather than sheriffs wielding cudgels. In “free-market economies” all law is torte based, and centralized government, where it exists at all, is only empowered to muzzle dissent, garnish wages and imprison. In the “free-market economy” justice is meted out by a type of bailiff known as a company-appointed arbiter. This form of governance is not to be confused with an actual free=market economy (no scare quotes), such as is described by Adam Smith in his break-out best-seller The Wealth of Nations.

Spin. Lying. Example of usage: The Governor of Florida forced country medical examiners to not publish Coronavirus death figures so that he could spin the situation in a way that was acceptable to his political masters at the Federalist Society.

Politically Correct. An epithet applied to any phrase in which sensitivity is applied to discussions about race, religion, gender, ethnicity and/or sexual orientation. As is common in Newspeak, the phrase is used in a manner opposite to its traditional English meaning, in this case as a way of disparaging polite discourse.

Politically Incorrect. A phrase that celebrates racist, sexist, homophobic and/or other insensitive language. Example of usage: Because the joke was based on politically incorrect racist stereotypes, the man in the MAGA hat laughed uproariously.

Venezuala. Failed state. Example of usage: The United States is the Venezuala of Capitalism.

Choice in Health Care. A phrase commonly used by health insurance industry lobbyists, which refers to any practice that restricts access to doctors, hospitals or medical services. The American Health Care Act of 2017 is a prime example of the promotion of choice in health care. This legislation withdrew federal funding from rural clinics; allowed private hospital corporations to create regional monopolies; and promoted fee-for-no-service health insurance plans. It important to note that the ability of citizens in Western Europe and Canada to go to any doctor or hospital without penalty is not an example of choice in health care. This ability is referred to in Newspeak as socialism.

SocialismA derogatory term applied to any political system in which government policy encourages upward economic mobility, increases life expectancy, supports public education, invests in infrastructure, supports workers rights, adapts to climate change, promotes universal health care, discourages pollution and/or promotes happiness.

Moral hazard. In economics a moral hazard is any policy that creates an incentive for actors to take on an unacceptable level of risk (for example by off-loading it onto others) or engage in destabilizing behavior. In the AmCap dialect of Newspeak this definition is more narrowly applied to policies that alleviate the condition of middle-class and poor citizens (see socialism, above). Example of usage: By separating health care coverage from employment, the public option creates a moral hazard by allowing employees to leave jobs they hate without fearing the loss of health insurance coverage. Note that in the AmCap dialect of Newspeak the phrase moral hazard can never be applied to the activities of corporations. Statements such as the following have no meaning: By guaranteeing insurance company profits the Affordable Care Act created a moral hazard by eliminating incentives for insurance companies to control costs .

Pro-life. A political policy that promotes life from conception to birth, but not beyond. Example of usage: By cutting off funding to rural clinics whose views on birth control he opposes, Texas Governor Abbott ensured not only that more babies would be born, but that more mothers would die while giving birth.

Please see: Race to the Bottom Won Example of usage: Despite having by far the worst child-birth outcomes in the western world, pro-life Texas Republicans redirected health care spending to lobbyists

Family values (1) Any set of policies that uses children as an excuse to promote tax cuts for the wealthy, for example the The Child Tax Credit Act. (2) A moral framework which discriminates against citizens based on their sexual orientation. Example of usage: The family values promoting Republican Senator was so excited to vote against extending legal protection to the LGBTQ community that he solicited sex in the airport rest-room.

Free-trade. A trade regime that strengthens intellectual property monopolies and/or undermines environmental and labor regulations. Example of usage: The Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement was widely hailed by moderate Democrats and conservative Republicans alike because it increased the duration of patent monopolies while gutting the ability of governments to regulate polluting industries. The Newspeak use of the phrase free-trade should not be confused with the archaic use of the term found in 19th and 20th century texts, such as “On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation” by David Ricardo. Please see: Dead Economist Surprises Tourists in Tiananmen Square.

Deregulation. Any policy that increases the ability of corporations to externalize costs and / or reduce safety standards. Example of usage: As a result of deregulation, chemical factories in Texas are blowing up on a monthly basis.

Tax relief. Tax cuts for billionaires.

Since 1998. 1998 was an outlier, in terms of global temperature. As such conservatives like to use it as a baseline when promoting the claim that carbon dioxide is not a green house gas, typically beginning their arguments with the phrase since 1998. Example:Newspeak Afficiondo Senator Ted Cruz gives a master class in baseline manipulation.

Tax on Someone Else. First mooted by Canadian Economist Stephen Leacock, the tax on someone else is a policy goal promoted by fiscally responsible moderates and progressives alike, which seeks to pay for the universal programs they are promoting by taxing someone other than the person to whom they are speaking.

Common Sense. A type of policy (as well as the moral sensibility associated with that policy) that seeks to undermine public education, public health and/or the tax base. Common sense policies rely heavily on the work of Arthur Laffer (see Laffer Curve). Example of usage: The Premier of Ontario’s Common Sense Revolution in 1990 undid a century of fiscal probity in 1 budget. Public finances in Ontario have yet to recover.

Outsourcing. Rent-seeking.

Co-pays and Deductibles. A surcharge levied by health insurers to counter the moral hazard posed by comprehensive health insurance coverage. Example of usage: Deductibles on Bronze plans grew by 15% a year between 2016 – 2019. Please see – USCIS Announces Bronze Citizenship

Privatization. (1) A type of looting in the role of barbarian hordes is played by management consultants wearing silk ties and high thread-count suits. Although more nattily attired than their barbarian ancestors, modern looters are capable of inflicting much more damage, not simply to entire sectors of the economy but also to entire ecosystems. (2) Any policy that allows private sector actors to profit from the provision of public services, typically at the expense of tax payers.

Examples include: the privatization of Chicago’s parking meters; the privatization of water in Chile; and the privatization of pension plans in New Jersey and Florida, by Republican Governors Chris Christie and Jeb Bush.

Good, well-paying Job. Any job in the United States that pays up to 1/2 the Swiss minimum wage (but no more) and involves being perpetually monitored by a billionaire’s robots. Not to be confused with a good job.

Public-private partnership. An approach to governance in which profits from the provision of government services are privatized while costs are paid for by taxpayers. Public-private partnerships are similar to privatized government programs with the exception that in former the cost of risk is a priori borne by the public sector, whereas in the latter it is transferred to the public sector as a result of poorly negotiated contracts.

Market-based solution. (1) Any policy that replaces government services with those provide by political donors. – e.g. soda bottle test tubes. (2) … mention Bronze plans versus medicare.

Well paying job. Any employment that pays either minimum wage or is based on tips or commission. Example of usage: The White House today affirmed that unemployment had reached a record low because the private sector has been creating an abundance of well-paying jobs in retail. Please see https://www.jobqualityindex.com

Blue Lives Matter A synonym for the phrase Black lives don’t matter.

Meritocracy. A system of broad-based oligarchy in which the senior servants of plutocrats are richly rewarded because of any combination of the following: an ability to take tests; family connections; the suburb they live in; the schools they attend; unrestricted access to adderall and tutors. Example of usage: Although Supreme Court Justices in the United States are chosen based on merit, they must have a law degree from either Harvard or Yale.

Free-speech. Money. This phrase entered the Newspeak lexicon as a result of the majority opinion in the Supreme Court case Citizen’s United v. FEC which language scholars consider to be the first legal opinion written entirely in Newspeak.

The equivalence of money and free-speech is not exact in Newspeak, however, and should only be applied to billionaires and corporations, and not to the hoi polloi. This distinction is succinctly illustrated in the Supreme Court Case Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett. The majority opinion in this case, written entirely in Newspeak by Justice John Roberts, eloquently argues that campaign financing for underfunded political candidates is not free speech, and in fact violates the First Amendment right of billionaires to use money to purchase elections. Please see: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-politics-idUSTRE75Q46120110627.

Freedom. (1) The right of plutocrats to do whatever they want. (2) When the word freedom is applied to non-billionaires it typically refers to shopping. The Newspeak use of the word freedom should not be confused with the entirely unrelated concept described in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Second Amendment Rights / The Right to Bear Arms. The right of all, including sociopaths, psychopaths, villains and the insane to purchase machine guns for any reason whatsoever. This concept can be particularly confusing to novice students of Newspeak because it bears only a tangential relation to Second Amendment support of a “well regulated militia”. What this underscores is that Newspeak isn’t just about presenting an idea as its opposite, excluding unwanted ideas from discourse and using gas-lighting to redirect blame. It is also a powerful tool for presenting extreme positions as normal.

Conservatism. A type of fascist ideology in which the interests of church, state and business are considered to be identical. Conservatives support deficit financing, oppose the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, seek to remove all business taxes and argue that the Second Amendment support of “A well regulated militia” entitles insane people to buy machine guns. The use of conservative in Newspeak should not be confused with its archaic use, which describes those who support fiscal probity, competitive markets and the separation of church and state. Example of usage: The first piece of legislation passed by conservatives in the 115th session of Congress removed mental health restrictions on the purchase of assault weapons. See https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/3/14496774/congress-guns-mental-illness

Moderate. A moderate is a type of conservative whose views fall short of fascist. Moderates can be identified by their extreme aversion to substantive change; their policies are often characterized by capitulation and inaction. The favored social policy of moderates is welfare reform; their favorite policy tool is the tax credit and their typical excuse for inaction is that “The American people are not ready”. Moderates always support increases to the military budget and oppose universal healthcare coverage because it is unaffordable, preferring in its stead fee-for-no-service solutions such as “bronze level” health care plans. Moderates are always careful not to offend the billionaires who fund them. Example of usage: The moderate Democrat Senator Charles Schumer voted against the repeal of the carried interest tax loophole because the American people were not ready for hedge fund billionaires to have the same marginal rate of taxation as their secretaries. Please see Schumer Supports Billionaires

Qualified Immunity. Unqualified immunity as it pertains to all activities engaged in by Police officers, particularly vandalism and theft. Example of usage: Officer McClendon was unconcerned about the consequences of destroying the African American man’s Mercedes because he was protected by qualified immunity. Source. Second Source

Extra virgin – the culinary opposite of sort of pregnant.

Welfare reform. Any set of policies designed to ensure that the United States has a weak to non-existent social safety net. Example of usage: As a result of work requirements included in the 1996 welfare reforms signed into law by moderate Democrat Bill Clinton, single mothers in Milwaukee were forced to take 2 hour bus rides to minimum wage jobs, the income from which didn’t even cover the cost of their child care.

Reaching Across the Aisle. A political process in which both conservatives and moderates agree to pay for increases in military spending through cuts to social programs. The phrase is also sometimes used to describe agreements in which intellectual property monopolies are bolstered or the interests of the fossil fuel industry are served. Example of usage: Moderates in the House reached across the aisle to conservatives in the Senate to draft an interim budget. The agreement increased military spending by $84 billion while dropping funding for all progressive policies, including an attempt to reverse recent cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program. Source

Newspeak in the news – Fox news to broadcast in Newspeak. Roberts delivers first opinion written in Newspeak

The American dialect of Newspeak is alternatively called AmCap Newspeak, (or NuSpeak). An abbreviation of American Capitalism. A sub-dialect, called RepCon NuSpeak is widely used by conservative news outlets including Sinclair News, Fox News and Brietbart.

Fiscally Responsible Fiscally irresponsible. Example of usage: In the last years of the 1990s Governor Pataki of New York replaced MTA property tax revenue with debt because it was the fiscally responsible thing to do, given low interest rates. Wall Street donors to the Governor are estimated to have received over $85 million dollars in fees for this service. Source

… Please send your examples to editor@apocalypsereview.com with the subject heading NuSpeak.