Thought Crime

In the story NineteenEightyFour, "thought crime" is an even more serious offense than committing an actual crime: It's the act of thinking about committing a crime.

(Reality is stranger than fiction: There have been accusations that the United States treats conspiracy (planning a crime) as more serious than actual crime. -- Seen in a news report about the "war on drugs.")

Isn't this because conspiracy proves forethought, and thus malice? It's possible I could kill someone and make it seem accidental or a crime of passion, but if I've discussed it with someone, that means that a) I planned, and b) they had a chance to prevent it and didn't.

In fact, in NineteenEightyFour it is the only crime. It's not thinking about committing a crime; rather it means that you have thoughts that conflict with the Party line, like thinking "BigBrother is ungood".


The previous discussion lists conspiracy and WarOnDrugs? as instances of thoughtcrimes. However, probably the best model for ThoughtCrime in the western world is deviant sexual desires. While sexual assaults (particularly on children) are real crimes, and should absolutely be treated as such, the direction of recent legislation and public policy has been increasingly towards making the thoughts criminal as well.

Two cases in point: the powers of CivilCommitment? are expanding greatly, and are often used to run around the time limitations of sentencing from the criminal court system. The concept here is that some people are so dangerous that their release to society should be deferred, perhaps indefinitely, past the end of the actual criminal sentence. The basis for this dangerousness is, of course, mental abnormality, or thoughts.

While not familiar with this legally, is there not something to be said for keeping incarcerated those people who have shown a lack of control when it comes to acting on their so-called deviant thoughts? I mean, I think it is perverse for a 60 year old man to be turned on by the idea of sex with 10 year old girls, but as long as the man is only thinking, society is not harmed. However, if that man has shown that he cannot stop the progression from thoughts to deeds, is he not then a proven danger to society? -- Pete Hardie

Second, there have been efforts to broaden the laws against ChildPornography? to ridiculous extremes. The Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 covers images that "convey the impression of a minor engaged in sexually explicit activity." This definition arguably covers a lot of what would be considered mainstream movies, artworks, including many renditions of Romeo and Juliet, the Kubric remake of Lolita, etc. The law is not holding up well in court, but that is not holding its proponents back.

I am not arguing that these laws have reached ThoughtCrime status yet, but it does make sense to think of them as a BetaTest?.

[Speaking of tests, this is something of a test to see how this Wiki does on discussion of highly controversial topics.]

Isn't ThoughtCrime the theme for the movie "Minority Report"? No; pretty much all of the crimes dealt with were acts of passion - the perpetrator hadn't thought them through. When a premeditated crime was predicted it caused great consternation even before the perpetrator was identified. You were perfectly free to daydream about butchering your boss (offensive though it may be), but the cops wouldn't be kicking down your door unless you were going to go through with it.


It is an old concept - Jesus said (and I'm not preaching here just pointing it out) - if you think certain thoughts of another woman, you've already sinned in your heart (but he didn't say "if your heart offends thee, pluck it out."). Our outward actions and character stem from our inner world. Hopefully we will never reach the stage where thoughts can be monitored and judged by others but we should evaluate our own thought life it is a component of our LifeVectors.


As we all know, the only remedy for ThoughtCrime is PoliticalCorrectness. Since SpeechGovernsThought?, all we have to do is moderate how people speak (hi, my name's Orwell) and we can eliminate ThoughtCrime. However, since the PowerOfWords? (and the labels they create) can cut both ways, we can use PoliticallyCorrectEpithets? to chastise those who don't conform.

Hell, we'll introduce a study question in our high school English classes to encourage the idea that our current spoken and written language is somehow "prejudiced" and "biased" and "unfair" (I'm not making this up) as a wedge to creating widespread acceptance for the modifications we require.

This will help us eliminate the current morality so we can install our own.

People who disagree with us will be labelled. Gender Biased. Homophobes. Racist. Fascist. Reactionary. Mentally Ill. And those things that we can't get declared as "crimes" we'll get declared as "illnesses" and either way we get to lock up (or medicate into submission) any who oppose our mission.

In the end, people will think as we tell them to! There will be no more crime!

And in this way, Pinky, we can TakeOverTheWorld?! Bwahh hah hah hah hah!


Yes, I've been where speaking the wrong words can wreck your career.

You can steal from people as long as you don't call them names.


"high school English classes"

That should be "high school communications arts classes," shouldn't it?


Big Brother is watching. In the book it appears Big Brother is Dead, or at least the main character has doubts. This would be similar to "rumors" about Fidel Castro and perhaps to a lesser extent Paul McCartney? (The Beatles). ThoughtCrime [[ Thought Crime ]] in the world of 1984 would be anti-GroupThink. In 1984 the government creates history and truth.
 Cam Resu CamResu

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