“If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” — George Orwell
In 1946, George Orwell wrote “Politics and the English Language,” an essay in which he criticizes the use of language by politicians to obscure rather than to clarify ideas. Asserting that our language has declined as our civilization has also declined, Orwell suggests that a speaker’s inaccuracy with language makes it easy for listeners to form foolish or misguided thoughts because of careless or indifferent oratory.
I would suggest that progressives, who are frequently “inaccurate” in their speech, are neither careless nor indifferent in their choice of words. In fact, they choose their words carefully and deliberately for the sole purpose of concealing their true intent.
Joe Biden’s presidential campaign was built on this strategy. Biden, who had been a moderate Democrat for decades, continued to describe himself in this way during his campaign despite the fact that his policy platform was written almost entirely by Bernie Sanders and other progressives. What voters heard for months was that Biden was a “moderate.” What they didn’t hear was what kind of policies he would enact if elected.
President Biden wasted no time showing voters exactly what his policies were just hours after his inauguration. In a matter of minutes, he signed an executive order that shut down the Keystone XL pipeline and terminated thousands of jobs attached to this project. He also signed an executive order that opened up our southern border and allowed tens of thousands of immigrants to enter and be released into our country without any vetting process to check their health status or criminal history.
So much for moderate Joe.
When the number of immigrants coming in began to rise dramatically, the Biden administration went into language lockdown, refusing to use the word “crisis” to describe what was clearly becoming a crisis. The situation was called a “challenge,” but never a “crisis,” even as existing facilities were rapidly running out of room to house people. President Biden, in a moment of accidental honesty, finally used the forbidden word when speaking to reporters in Delaware in mid-April. It has not been used in his administration since and has probably been banished to the same dustbin where the word “moderate” resides.
Biden, who had been a moderate Democrat for decades, continued to describe himself in this way during his campaign despite the fact that his policy platform was written almost entirely by Bernie Sanders and other progressives.
Progressives have interesting relationships with other words as well. The word “infrastructure” has undergone a dizzying metamorphosis of late. Traditionally, this word refers to things like roads and bridges, but in the brave, new world of the radical left, “infrastructure” can be almost anything. In Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill, only about 25% at the most goes toward what is generally considered infrastructure — roads, public transit systems, and bridges. The remaining 75% is for climate change initiatives and social programs, which, for some unknown reason, are considered infrastructure.
If the Senate passes this bill, the money used to repair a suspension bridge in your state and the money used for your grandmother’s in-home nursing care will come from the same pot. Let’s just hope the employees assigned to do these jobs never get their work orders mixed up.
Finally, let’s look at the word “unity.” President Biden used this word countless times during his campaign and eight times in his inauguration speech. He promised that, unlike President Trump, he would be a uniter and not a divider. In the short time that Biden has been in office, he has united us. He has united the Democrats against the Republicans and the Republicans against the Democrats. He has united half of America in the belief that our nation is much better off now that Trump is out of office, and the other half in the belief that the Biden administration has no shortage of bad policies that will destroy this country.
At least progressives are consistent in their abuse of language. At this point, we can assume that any words they speak are meant to conceal, not reveal, their true intent. And if we are ever foolish enough to believe any of their rhetoric, we should remember Orwell’s warning that “political language…is designed to make lies sound truthful.”
Progressives may be many things, but truthful isn’t one of them.