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forest defense | government

The Real Speech Problem

Bush's ministry of propaganda is sinister -- deceptively labeling policies like; Healthy Forests, Clear Skies, Patriotism -- only to construct those policies to the opposite of what is implied.
President's doublespeak requires that voters become language police
Guy Reel, Winthrop University, Aug. 04, 2003

Recently a gentleman from the Cabarrus Libertarian Party published a column that amounted to a diatribe against "political correctness" ("Beware of political correctness," June 5).

His argument, succinctly stated, opposed the wrongful censorship of ordinary words by what amounts to language police. For example, he said that passages harmlessly describing lawyers as men have been cut out of textbooks because of the vague idea that these concepts might offend someone.

His point is conceded, although today's youth are exposed through music, film and television to so many examples of sexist, classist, racist and stereotypical language that it seems unlikely that a few attempts to counterbalance those notions would be a very harmful thing.

His main argument, that language is decaying in society, is well worth addressing. However, his ire is misplaced. If he's really worried about language, why not attack the doublespeak of George W. Bush?

The president's language is so deceptive that the term "Orwellian" has become a bit of a cliché in describing his administration. Unlike most p.c. speech, which is mostly just silly, Bush's misuse of language actually makes a difference in people's lives. Just a few examples:

* Bush's "Clear Skies Initiative" encourages greater pollution by allowing heavily polluting facilities to operate indefinitely with few or no environmental controls.

* Bush's "Healthy Forests Initiative" proposes restricting public, judicial and environmental review of forest-thinning projects (read: logging) in order to give timber companies a carte blanche in national forests.

* Bush's U.S.A. Patriot Act defiles patriotism by allowing authorities to trample on civil rights by giving investigators the power to detain suspects without trials or lawyers just as long as they say it's a terrorism investigation.

* The administration claims there is a "judicial crisis" in judgeship nominees when the federal judge vacancies are at their lowest in 13 years. The administration creates a "Department of Homeland Security" and Republican politicians use it to track down Democrats who have run out on a state legislative debate.

The list could go on and on.

The abuse of language has long been a presidential tradition. But most presidents will say one thing to get elected, then later backtrack, claiming they didn't really mean what they said. Bill Clinton famously lied about sexual escapades, and was impeached for it.

Bush's ministry of propaganda is more sinister. He labels his deceptions as things that people want -- healthy forests, clear skies, patriotism -- then writes policies that do the opposite of what he says. Orwell's Big Brother would have been proud. Maybe it's time for a new kind of language police -- an informed public that holds the president accountable for what he says.

homepage: homepage: http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/news/6452668.htm

Good piece of work 04.Aug.2003 19:50


I'm from North Carolina, home of Jesse Helms, and I've got to tell you that if stuff like that is appearing in the Charlotte Observer, Bush is on the way out.

My mother, who was a hard line Bush supporter doesn't believe him anymore. She used to think that I became heathenized and radicalized in little Beirot because I fell in with bad company. Now she wonders about him herself.

I know people in Washington who work in the military and they don't protest much, but they are not pleased to be sent to Iraq on a wild goose chase. People are over there getting shot at when they expected to be treated like big heros. They are cut off from their families and they are figuring out that they were sent there for bullshit reasons.

Sometimes war is nessasary, but this last one was just an oil grab and everybody knows it. Look at North Korea. Bush created that situation. He could have defused it just by talking to them and giving them an non-agression pack. The two of them are spoiled rich boys trying to play tough guy. If Bush doesn't get off his ass soon we're going to have a lot of people dying over there.