Pensée unique  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Pensée unique" (French for "single thought") is a pejorative expression for mainstream ideological conformism of any kind, almost always opposed to that of the speaker. Originally, it is a French expression and referred to claims that neoliberalism is the only correct way to structure society. The phrase implies that mainstream discussion is limited by ideological assumptions of what is possible. One example of pensée unique given by critics was the motto of Margaret Thatcher (former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom): TINA ("There is no alternative"), which was picked up word-for-word in translation by Gerhard Schröder (former Chancellor of Germany) as "Es gibt keine Alternative...".

The expression was coined by Jean-François Kahn, editor-in-chief of L'Evenement du Jeudi, in an editorial in January 1992. The phrase pensée unique is often used by political parties and organisations and in criticism.

The term has been used regarding prohibitionism of marijuana, with some commenters saying that pensée unique is a barrier to legalization.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Pensée unique" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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