Language, Literature, Media, politics

Language as a weapon

war-is-peace-freedom-is-slavery-ignorance-is-strength

Lets look at language in politics and media. Language that filters into everyday conversation and thought – thought influenced by the thinking behind the language.

Language can become a powerful tool when you’re trying to brainwash the citizenry. We’ve seen this laid out systematically in Orwell’s 1984. When you’re doing something sinister, use opposite meanings. The Ministries of Truth, Peace, Love and Plenty were actually ministries of lies, war, torture and austerity. Orwell called this doublethink.

In the real world, we’ve seen words attacked over time in coordinated effort and great effect. The word “liberal” has become a dirty word. So successfully, that it nearly has the venom of a racial slur. The embarassment of being called a liberal developed over a 30+ year period of sustained attack.

Perhaps the most sinister language assasination is the demonization of “socialism.” This distortion becomes subtle due to different kinds of socialism, which become important when you see the foodstamp program equated to Communism.  Socialism is an essential part of any organized society. We all depend on one another, and nobody more so than the very wealthy. Corporations don’t exist on desert islands (unless a tax haven.) The wealth of the .01% is entirely dependant on large numbers of people – that is, dependant on socialism. Without all of us, they are left as Thurston Howell III. The demonization of socialism is being directly used to push an extremist agenda, by those who have another form of socialism in mind.

Another twisted word is “reform.” The very people who want to destroy public programs talk about wanting to reform them. A reformer has the best interest of a program at heart, these “reformers” are looking to bring a wrecking ball. The contrast is everything.

Now, how about if we re-reversed doublethink, and somehow the truth crept out from the shadows. What if the media and politicians just spoke the straight-forward honest truth? What would that look like?

How about, instead of the term “liberal” being used to describe Obama, Hillary and the democratic establishment, they used the term “neoliberal.” This would be truthful instead of dead wrong. Neoliberalism being a far right-wing ideology.

How about instead of calling republicans “conservatives” they were called “corporatists.” Its what they really are, and there’s nothing conservative about the republican corporatist agenda.

So we have the neoliberals versus the corporatists (no tangible difference really) battling-it-out over who’s donors get the bigger piece of our pie. Sounds pretty grim, but at least it more accurately describes our current political reality.

Its time we demand our media speak the truth, and reflect that in actual language. If they don’t they need to be replaced with media and politicians that do. Language and media are effectively used to mask the truth of our time, and this is a crime.

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One thought on “Language as a weapon

  1. terminalpissant says:

    Nice post. Followed you over here from NPR. I was beginning to suspect that I was the only person in America who knew what “socialism” actually means. Thankfully, I’m not alone.

    Like

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