As a refresher on Orwell, “crimethink” is prohibited thoughts, which is easy enough to understand, and “crimestop” is the mental process by which crimethink is avoided.
A normal person understands crimethink perfectly well, and understands that certain ideas, facts, or truths must not be aired in any formal social situation, be it work, family gatherings, or any other place where all present are both like-minded and trusted. There is a special moment between two white men, when one first uses the “n” word, and it is met with a laugh.
This is not difficult, because it is simply an extension of basic social rules about appropriate matters of discussion and expressions of values and attitudes. There are things you don’t talk about around your mom, your sister, or even your uptight brother. You can talk about certain very delicate things with your dad, but maybe not others. Normal people generally have no trouble with this.
Why then is crimestop needed? And what is it, exactly? Orwell described it as- “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.”
People outside of the power structure are simply discreet, as theoretically are people at the top. People instructing and enforcing social rules however must really believe them on some level. Thus in “Nineteen eighty-four” the proles are barely spoken of, and the people at the top, the “Inner Party” make an appearance only at the climax.
People at the top need to understand where social reality ends and actual reality begins. This has been a topic of discussion at Ribbon Farm. This is what it means to be in the Inner Party. The Outer Party, to which Winston, the hapless protagonist of 1984 belongs, creates and reinforces social reality but does not know the difference.
Unless people from the Outer Party actually become the Inner Party, or the Inner Party can’t control the Outer Party, which I guess could happen.
Things are really, really out of control right now. And there is no reason for it. Peasant rebellions are easily dealt with. The king appears, or makes an announcement, that mistakes have been made, by incompetent bureaucrats, and he is really sorry for not keeping a closer eye on these people. They may or may not be publicly or actually punished, but this is implied. Some leaders are met with and some concessions are made. If they were really necessary, and the king is smart, the concessions stay. If he doesn’t think they are really necessary, he can slowly and quietly revoke them a few months later and have the peasant leaders quietly taken care of.
The other alternative is to brutally crush the rebellion. This may be the way to go- you get to be and stay a king by making judgments like this- or it may be dumb. No ruler has absolute power. Every ruler has to have at least some acquiescence.
Our current ruler haven’t so much made a misjudgment, as lost the capability to see that anything could be wrong. You may say “Anyone opposed to undocumented immigrants is a racist” but if you actually believe it, you have lost a great deal of ability to take action or change direction. You may say “Black people are oppressed by whites, and especially by police officers” but if you actually believe it, you have taken away from yourself a great deal of ability to act.
A calm and partial walk back on immigration last year would have calmed down most of the current anger. People say Trump talks more about trade than immigration, but it was immigration that he got a toehold. Moslem terrorism- closely related- cemented it.
George W. Bush burned these bridges long ago, but after eight years of a progressive Democrat, Republicans could have made a change. Democrats, after eight years of a progressive Democrat, could have made a change to shore up their vulnerable spots. It would have been the smart thing to do.
But they can’t. The people fronting the organization are pretty old- Hilary, Bernie and Trump are all old- but the people running things are pretty young, and they can’t even remember when anybody thought anything different.