My now standard disclaimer with every Facebook post, Orwell on the “genius” of the modern mind: that most people will stop short of any dangerous thought, cannot grasp analogies, fail to perceive logic (or logical error), misunderstand the simplest arguments if contrary to official narrative, and are bored or repelled by any thought that can lead in a heretical direction, that they practice “protective stupidity”:
In the Newspeak vocabulary, the word crimestop denotes the citizen’s self-awareness to immediately rid themselves of unwanted, incorrect thoughts (personal and political), the discovery of which, by the Thinkpol, would lead to detection and arrest, transport to and interrogation at the Miniluv (Ministry of Love). The protagonist, Winston Smith, describes crimestop as a conscious process of self-imposed cognitive dissonance:
The mind should develop a blind spot whenever a dangerous thought presented itself. The process should be automatic, instinctive. Crimestop, they called it in Newspeak. . . . He set to work to exercise himself in crimestop. He presented himself with propositions—’the Party says the Earth is flat’, ‘the Party says that ice is heavier than water’—and trained himself in not seeing or not understanding the arguments that contradicted them.
Moreover, from the perspective of Oceania’s principal enemy of the state, in the history book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, Emanuel Goldstein said that:
Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.
Robert Thorpe writes “So true. My experience is that people, particularly the bourgeoisie, simply refuse to consider, even for a moment, any ideas that contradict the ruling elite’s narrative of what is normal and good. Being educated, and capable of rational analysis, they are capable of considering dissenting ideas, but they are downright terrified to do so because such ideas are a huge threat to the notion of their personal security and position in the society. And they are delighted to exercise the notion of “I’m all right Jack”. It is only when their own security has been destroyed, say by being made redundant in their work, or unjustly targeted by the authorities that they can consider such points, but unfortunately for them – it is now too ate for them. Over the decades, I have watched one category after another fall while living in delusion. These falling dominoes, are of course, accelerating as we march into a jobless society and straight on fascism – and still they hold on to their delusions.”