Talk:Thoughtcrime

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Involuntary commitment and affirmative action[edit]

I'm not sure how Affirmative Action is related to any thoughtcrime concept.

People should consider that mental health/mental hygiene/involuntary commitment laws are actually providing for Thoughtcrimes. --Daniel C. Boyer 16:47 Sep 18, 2002 (UTC)

China[edit]

Interesting article by John Derbyshire claiming that China (PRC) formerly sought to restrict thoughtcrimes but no longer does http://www.olimu.com/WebJournalism/Texts/Commentary/OderintDumMetuant.htm

Chemical behavior restraint[edit]

What crime is more a Thoughtcrime than taking illegal drugs?
See Defending the boundaries of human identity and The War on Drugs and the Holocaust -Second Cousins

This is highly debatable. --Daniel C. Boyer 18:33, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Crimethink[edit]

labelling unapproved thoughts with the Newspeak term thoughtcrime. The [Newspeak] term is "crimethink". --Random|832 13:42, 20 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Although the characters in 1984 refer to "thoughtcrime" when they're speaking in regular Oldspeak (English). --Ojuice5001 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.185.121.104 (talk) 15:07, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Democratic socialist[edit]

The remarks on whether Orwell was a democratic socialist in the section on thought crime are not particularly balanced and are in any case out of place here - a reference across to the main Orwell article would serve better. I may edit Linuxlad 09:52, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)

As the person who put some of this detail in I suppose I had better defend it. I felt some kind of perspective was needed on where the idea came from over and above saying 'it is from 1984'. Also the scope of the term is important as Orwell was careful to try and limit his political language and avoid making very broad generalisations. He probaby did not mean thoughtcrime to be compared directly with religious heresy although it is right to show how the term has grown. My aim was to show that he probably thought of thoughtcrime because he was accused of it himself. MeltBanana 11:36, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Not clear to me that we are on the same wavelength here - I generally agree with the tenor of what you've written above

BUT my issue is whether the statement that Orwell considered himself to be a democratic socialist is a) relevant here; and b) especially whether it needs to be linked HERE to his strong criticism of the Stalinist model (and its sympathisers) and whether that criticism strengthens or weakens that claim to be democratic socialist. The line taken is unnecessarily contentious, and issue is much better treated in the main Orwell article.

Linuxlad 12:43, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I see what you mean, unnecessary information when the real matter is thoughtcrime. I'm uncertain if it simply better to do away with the sentence starting Although... or to emphasise his opposition to Stalin. You do get some very strange views about Orwell on the net an I probably go off the deep end sometimes seeing him misrepresented.MeltBanana 14:13, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Unexplained deletion[edit]

A section called "Religious thoughtcrime", consisting of the single sentence:

The Christian concept of Internal sin, analogous to "thoughtcrime", started with Jesus's teaching in Matthew's gospel.

...was deleted here without explanation. It's not an unreasonable assertion being made, though I suppose it's debatable, and might constitute original research... Comments? GTBacchus 19:49, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Indeed unexplained, as I came to the discussion page wondering why no religious thoughtcrime is mentioned in the article. I think it should be re-included.

If someone can find an essay on the use of religion as a method of 'thought police' then I think it should be included, until then, I think it is a delicate enough topic to leave alone. 121.90.75.250 08:21, 10 October 2007 (UTC) It ranges from telling little children they will burn for eternity up to advertising Rastafarian's to be psychopaths. To ask not to include this is thought moderation in it self. Or not?(84.104.135.195 (talk) 14:29, 27 November 2007 (UTC))

Thought police[edit]

For some strange reason, the thought police article was deleted and wrapped into this article, despite the fact that thoughtcrime is a far less commonly used term. The latter garners four times the number of goofle hits as the latter. Perhaps this oddity of suppression can be explained by politically correct bias? Ombudsman 21:53, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

copyright issue?[edit]

the last section of the article (in the section concerning the Canadian researcher), some of the source text is copied verbatim. is there a copyright issue with this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.125.168.193 (talk)

Theology/Thoughtcrime[edit]

This is a fascinating passage:

In the New Testament, Jesus states, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28).

Could/should it be expanded upon? Maerk 13:34, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

I think so, but not in this article. I think that the term "thoughtcrime" lends itself to creating false prejudgements on the part of the reader and could easilt be seen as implying something offensive. 72.179.144.152 16:35, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
If not in this article then where ? Thougthcrime like many other coneptions first come from some work of art but then it's meaning is broadened to real life - i think that is the power of Orwell's book. In many religions there is possible to commit a thoughtcrime because religions nearly always assume that there is an all knowing entity (or multiple of it) that can see neuron firings in every human head simultaneous and make decisions and judgments concerning particulate people according to some code of desirable behavior and put those decisions in effect in this or other life after death. In real life it is not possible because we do not have such a technology (yet) to look with necessary precision inside people's brains. But maybe some day it will become reality. I think the first group of people to undergo such procedure of thought controlling would be pedophiles because there always is strong social acquiescence in these matters. pwjbbb (talk) 17:40, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Modern accusations[edit]

I fixed the incorect information about Doe v. City of Lafayette. The 7th Circuit ultimately upheld the ban. Ocap8

Negative role played by some wiki contributors and sysops[edit]

Although wiki articles are extremely exposed and vulnerable to contributors acting in the role of the Thought Police the real danger lies in the power of system operators who can block any contributor for any reason including their own bias and inability to tolerate a different, opposing or independent point of view or do so simply to indulge in ego based power trips. The Thought Police serve as the icon of oppression, intolerance and as the supreme enemy of free speech.

Parallel in history[edit]

One interesting parallel is the treatment of badges of chairman Mao during the Maoist era. Citizens were told to keep their badges clean and well represented. A portrait of Mao had to be presented in residences. Inspections of whether the portrait of Mao was presented correctly were enforced on citizens. Some chinese reported the infliction of psychological pressure was making them think they were actually guilty of "thought crime" against Mao.

Drug Laws and Thoughtcrime[edit]

As mentioned above, some argue that the ultimate motivation of some drug laws against relatively innocuous drugs like cannabis is to prevent one thinking differently from the ruling government, in effect getting high or altered states of consciousness become a form of thoughtcrime.

Meaning ? Context?[edit]

The article doesn't define thoughtcrime. It wd be a good idea to define it in the context of the book. --Gurubrahma 06:24, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

In the Media[edit]

The statement about Minority Report is wrong...The "precogs" convict people of "future crime" based entirely on foretelling. The book/movie is actually contrary to thoughtcrime. In fact the implicit moral is that precognition can show the appearance of a crime when intent is not evident. It didn't matter if you were thinking about it, only that the precog saw you perform the act.

Purported instances[edit]

The lengthy essay weakly tries to label some unpopular government restrictions, in the West, to "thoughtcrime". First of all, this is not what Orwell was talking about. He meant trying to control the way people actually think. Secondly, the analogy between the Purported Instances and 1984 is not clarified. This is original research, at best. --Uncle Ed 22:41, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Criticism section[edit]

In Canada[edit]

In Canada certain credentialed medical practitioners may, apparently at their sole discretion, make state sanctioned investigations into and diagnosis of "mental illness" that can involve or result in involuntary detainment and "treatment" of the investigated persons. These diagnoses appear to be based at least in part, and in some cases entirely upon, the investigator's perceptions of the subject's thoughts and beliefs. This aspect of diagnosis is manifest in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) glossary definition of "delusion" which begins; "A false belief based on...", and is found on page 821 of the DSM-IV-TR. Significantly the presence of "delusions" seem to form a primary criterion for the diagnosis of the majority of DSM-IV-TR "psychotic" disorders including Schizophrenia and Scizoaffective Disorder (Criterion A1 in the case of Schizophrenia). The DSM-IV-TR also states that "No laboratory findings have been identified that are diagnostic of Schizophrenia". This statement is also applied to Major Depressive episodes and Manic episodes.

The application of DSM-IV-TR criteria to the various pieces of federal health and provincial mental health law in Canada seems to still occur in spite of their conflict in this respect with Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which guarantees the "fundamental" "freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression". Part VII -- General, of the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982 states that "any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution "...(which contains the Charter)..."is, to the extent of the inconsistency, of no force or effect".

The potential for state sanctioned involuntary detainment and treatment exists pursuant to these health acts. The Ontario Mental Health Act for example contains references to circumstances under which involuntary admission to psychiatric "hospitals" can occur as a result of such diagnosis.

Incidentally legal involvement and involuntary detainment and treatment is not fundamental to the DSM-IV-TR nor are implications of violent behavior at frequencies exceeding that of the general population attributed to those diagnosed. To a significant degree courts are in fact cautioned against the use of DSM-IV diagnosis in the DSM-IV introduction itself in its introductory section entitled Use of DSM-IV in Forensic Settings.

Indeed the position of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, stated in The Confidentiality of Psychiatric Records and the Patient's Right to Privacy(2000-21S), holds that "in recent years, serious incursions have been made by governments, powerful commercial interests, law enforcement agencies, and the courts on the rights of persons to their privacy."

In the Canadian criminal justice system, again, in spite of the Charter freedoms, individuals continue to be subjected to discrimination based on DSM IV diagnosis within the context of part XX.1of the Criminal Code of Canada. This part sets out provisions for, among other things, court ordered attempts at "treatment" before individuals receive a trial as described in section 672.58 of the Criminal Code.

Also provided for are external court ordered "psychiatric assessments" that may involve detention and the selective procurement of anecdotal accounts, psychiatric records, and records of past diagnosis and treatment. This process as it occurs in the Canadian Province of Ontario is illustrated in The Forensic Mental Health System In Ontario published by The Centre For Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

With a finding of "Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder" as described in section 672.34 of the Criminal Code lifelong restrictions on freedom, mandatory "treatment", and indefinite detention subject to periodic non-judicial review are possible well beyond the scope of set limits for detention for those found to be criminally responsible for the same or even much more serious offenses. Section 672.12 of the Criminal Code states "The court may make an assessment order at any stage of proceedings against the accused of its own motion, on application of the accused or, subject to subsections (2)and (3), on application of the prosecutor" implying that the test is not universally applied.


I cut the entire section above, because it is not about "thoughtcrime" but about alleged abuses of psychiatric diagnoses in Canada. None of the abuses document any political aspects, so I conclude this diatribe is in opposition to the use of psychiatric power to label people "crazy" because of false beliefs in general.

Perhaps a better place for this information would be an article entitled Psychiatry in Canada, or more generally Psychiatric abuse. --Uncle Ed 19:45, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree this whole Canadian section just doesn't look right for this article and needs to be in its own article. Most (if not all) countries in the world have mechanisms for "sectioning" (a UK term) under some Mental health act and I would imagine that Canada is no different. Thoughtcrime is about identifying that which challenges the ruling authority so the Soviet era section is more relevant and the Canadian section less relevant unless we have cites that show that the certification of people was for the purposes of maintaining the political status quo. That doesn't really seem to be the case with Canada whereas it does with the Soviets.Ttiotsw 23:32, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

thoughtcrime ≠ speechcrime[edit]

Editors should cease attempting to list things such as Karson VA Tech or the prosecution of Holocaust denial in this article. Regrettable as such censorship may be, it represents the criminalization of speech acts, not of thought per se. There are three levels here:

  1. Thought
  2. Advocacy
  3. Practice

Just as outlawing the third should not be confused with outlawing the second, outlawing the second should not be confused with outlawing the first. —SlamDiego←T 09:56, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

The fact that at present there is no other way to gauge someones thoughts other then by his or hers expressions makes your argument specious.Indeed, one could argue that in the spirit of the law, restrictions posed on speech implicitly imply restrictions on thought. 145.97.222.121 (talk) 19:22, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

I disagree.Thought can jail you. Is holocaust denial in thought the same as publishing a book on the subject? I think it is. Publishing a book will at this time in certain European countries get you prison time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 151.204.24.9 (talk) 23:40, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

In the media - Calvin and Hobbes[edit]

The article states "One episode in the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes finds Calvin once again objecting to compulsory education. In the middle of one of Miss Wormwood's lectures, Calvin cries out: "This is a big fat waste of my time!" The final panel shows Calvin trying to escape the room, screaming "HELP! IT'S THE THOUGHT POLICE!"", can someone give a source to this? wich calvin and hobbes book contains that strip? -- 87.184.85.180 —Preceding signed but undated comment was added at 22:36, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Ironic commentary "In the media - Frank Zappa"[edit]

Most ironic, how do we determine New Left? Any movement once established in government and thus seeking to retain hegemony power, will seek to persecute dissent and dissenters rather than reason the criticism from the Dissenting Party, sounds like David Horowitz indulging in Campus Watch -style witch hunts, solution: call the 'persecuted' 'persecutionist' and the problem is solved, doesn't Daniel Pipes employ this method to justify himself? Well, isn't this glorified academic bullying to silence critics.

Was Frank Zappa an artists or politician, how did you arrived at the conclusion that Frank Zappa had counter-cultural descendants in Politics? Is this a form of 'Guilt by Association'?. How did he get to have New Left political descendants any way?

--220.239.179.128 (talk) 02:32, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

In the media - Frank Zappa[edit]

Re: the reference to Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention ("Who Are the Brain Police"). I find it incredibly ironic that the counter-cultural descendants of Frank Zappa (the "New Left?") are the most zealous enforcers of ideological purity and conformity of thought. I wonder what old Frank would have made of it? GuyInCT (talk) 01:42, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

The American Abuses's Section[edit]

When did American "society" declare that communist THOUGHTS were criminal? How does a society even do such a thing? Surely this ridiculous section must be alluding to the state and even than I do not recall a law banning communist THOUGHT. Nor do I recall anyone being fired or imprisoned for communist THOUGHT! And you people wonder why everyone distrusts this craptacular encyclopedia. DukePatton (talk) 02:57, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

The Levering Act was the expression of what society wanted with respect to communist sentiment. Last time I checked America was a democracy thus whatever laws are (or were) in place because the society wanted them (it needn't be a clear majority). America is also a free country in that people are not coerced into a political position. Thus any communist is a voluntary point of view. Such voluntary acts are your thoughts rather than an imposition from the State. The history of the Loyalty Oath at the University of California shows how laws were attempted and used to ban communists (the issue of "thought" is given for my reasons before) though in the end the best examples of people who lost jobs were supporting their constitutional rights (John Beecher for example), rather than for any communist sentiment. The Levering Act called for 1-14 years for perjury. If you have a problem with this encyclopedia, you could always try Conservapedia ! Ttiotsw (talk) 04:21, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Im not even sure what you are talking about. The point here is that a law against certain thoughts, like any other law is imposed by the state not by society. Democracy or dictatorship. And this section simply does not belong on this page because it offers nothing to the topic. And by the way Im not a conservative, I just happen to get upset when folks try to place the blame of historical ills on society rather than government where it clearly belongs. I also hate to see people trying to make marxists into martyrs when communists could give two shits about freedom of speech. DukePatton (talk) 05:33, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

I looked at the word "society" and the problem I had was that the authority of the state in a democracy comes from the people so it is valid to use "society" in that case, whereas it has less meaning on say an example from North Korea. In democracies what the state legislates for is generally what society wants. The government isn't going to put forward a law unless it has a reasonable chance of ensuring successful re-election. You can't distance society from the state in the US the same way as say in a dictatorship. Read about John Beecher here where he tried many times to get the law struck down on constitutional grounds; "A suit was filed and efforts were undertaken through the Legislature to repeal the Levering Act. Both failed. The anti-Communist mood of the nation swept them aside. ". He is quoted in that interview: "The hysteria was irrational and my reputation had been damaged severely beyond California. When a nation goes paranoid there is nothing you can do."
If it was a theocracy, absolute monarchy or dictatorship then I'd agree with you on "society" but the post-war US was a democracy (albeit a very late one with universal suffrage for women in only 1920) so blame still lies with society if there is blame at all, as these events took place during a time of universal suffrage. Ttiotsw (talk) 06:57, 1 June 2008 (UTC)


The "American abuses" section is ridiculous. Agreed, McCarthyism had its excesses, but nobody was unjustly executed, and those few who were jailed had done something illegal. Comparisons with Orwell's Oceania or the real-world Soviet Union are mendacious. This section should be deleted —Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.33.158.121 (talk) 20:49, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Agreed additionally that the section is garbage. McCarthy, Nixon, and others persecuted people for their membership in groups alleged to be sympathetic to the Soviet Union; whether or not they were right to do so, joining any group implies action, not just thought. I've gone ahead and deleted the section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Krazychris81 (talkcontribs) 22:33, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

I've removed the section on the Soviet Union - the discussion of the medicalisation of dissent. I agree it's tangentially relevant - the concept that dissent is a sickness to be treated, but at the same time, it's all a bit WP:OR. Regards, Ben Aveling 11:00, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Removed irrelevant text[edit]

The article is about Orwell's thoughtcrime, not other people's interpretation of what it is or its other implications. Have therefore been bold and removed the following:

— a number of technologies have been developed to try to detect thought and emotional states. There are attempts to create image-recognition software that detects possible wrongdoers by looking for signs of anxiety. Other technologies range from lie detectors,(ref>Albanese, Jay S.; Justice, Privacy, and Crime Control, p.18, 1984; University Press of America</ref) the penile plethysmograph which was used to try to detect "homosexual or pedophile thoughts", and more modern attempts to use magnetic resonance imaging to try to detect brain chemical activity supposedly corresponding to memory or thoughts.

I dare say that it could be developed as another article - something along the lines of "Influence of Orwell's Thoughtcrime in modern society" - but it smacks too much of original research, even if individual cases are referenced.--Technopat (talk) 06:21, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Internal sin[edit]

The Christian concept of internal sin is the idea that sin (a crime of religion) may be committed not only by outward deeds but also by the inner activity of the mind, quite apart from any external manifestation. Thought crimes were as old as heresy, but the Reformation's alarms received new emphasis at the Council of Trent (Session XIV, chapter. v). ADM (talk) 19:56, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

"Apostrophic possession"[edit]

I was wondering what exactly is wrong with the saxon genitives that were removed here. I suppose the paragraph works all the same (although it does seem to me the meaning changes a little), but what was wrong with the way it was originally?

LjL (talk) 13:08, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

"Laws against holocaust denial"[edit]

I don`t think is belongs on a page dealing with the orwellian concept of thoughtcrime. The "Thought" is not forbidden at all. This is about the persecution of neonazi propaganda, relativation of mass murder and historical counterfeit. I feel more than uncomfortable with the political implication of this labeled "thought crime". I feel very uncomfortable with the political implication of this labeled thoughtcrime.

I agree, and I'm removing it. A racist has apparently inserted that. 92.45.233.120 (talk) 18:42, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Someone doesn't agree with me, they must be racist. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.60.182.203 (talk) 23:32, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Being respectful to minorities? THOUGHTCRIME IN TEH 21st CENTURY![edit]

Political Correctness - it is a thought crime apparently. Can we just edit it out?--66.233.55.145 (talk) 13:18, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Wannabe jihadist gets 27 years[edit]

Here [1]. I feel little sympathy for this kind of men, but i think that such a verdict itself makes a dangerous precedent. Anybody can be sentenced now based on his alleged "intentions" and confessions extorted under torture. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.32.12.194 (talk) 02:16, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

The word "illegal"[edit]

Geez, is this a wiki or Ron Paul's message board? Anyway, I deleted the word "illegal" from the intro. I quote from the book: "The thing that he was about to do was to open a diary. This was not illegal (nothing was illegal, since there were no longer any laws)..." - thus the word "illegal" never comes into play here. Also, it's clear from the book that thoughtcrime is the criminal act of thinking crimethink, and the wording has been changed accordingly. Ataru (talk) 02:34, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

UK to become first country to introduce thoughtcrime[edit]

>”For some, the written word is more powerful than the pictures. For some, the written word promotes a graphic image in their mind.” - Sir Paul Beresford

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19574487 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.66.89.131 (talk) 16:53, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

And they've actually gone through with it... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-27683240 - 88.104.72.80 (talk) 15:40, 4 June 2014 (UTC)