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Thought police
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Thought police

The Thought Police were the secret police (thinkpol in Newspeak) of the fictional totalitarian regime in George Orwell's dystopic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). By extension, the term has come to refer to real or perceived enforcers of ideological correctness in any modern milieu.

To extend the concept of Thought Police to Early Christian obsession with extirpating heresy is anachronistic. Nevertheless, the Christian concept of a thought crime was introduced in the mid 16th century, largely with the not wholly new category of Internal sin, 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). The session, while reiterating that all mortal sins must be confessed, singled out the unspoken ones that "sometimes more grievously wound the soul and are more dangerous than sins which are openly committed".

Three kinds of internal sin are usually distinguished by Catholics:

Orwell's Thought Police were based on the unfolding revelations of the totalitarian structures of Stalinism that came to light after World War II.

see also Heresy, Orthodoxy, Cathar. Inquisition.