Thursday, November 11, 2010




Governments in their grasp for power employ the language of pretense and deceit. Bind in subterfuge the citizens’ body, mind and heart and the inconveniences of rights in property, freedom and human dignity may be undermined by a reality that enshrines the myth as it destroys its substance.

As France’s Robespierre imbued a wild citizenry with the image of Freedom, Equality and Fraternity, he placed beneath the blade of the guillotine tens of thousands of citizens who mistook the image for reality. It is plain justice that Robespierre, as the image of human freedom revealed itself to be one more miserable and murderous tyranny, lost his head upon the same bloody machine.

Americans are privy to the government’s bastardization of words. A degree in English is not necessary to understand that the invention of the euphemisms, Overseas Contingency Operation and Man made Disaster is intended to obscure the fact of jihadist terrorism, the suicide bombing and slaughter of innocent, defenseless men, women and children. Islam, we are told in government lectures, is a religion of peace. Muslim fanatics, however, stormed an American embassy to hold American citizens captive and in Darfur engaged in genocide. They approached a battleship in harbor and killed 17 American sailors. They have trained their children to strap explosives to their body and kill Jews—on busses and in restaurants. They fire rockets into Israel in the hope that someone, anyone there might die.

Jihad is held out as a term describing the Muslim quest for spiritual enlightenment; and yet, in the name of Jihad, Americans find not peace but infamy, not Muslim enlightenment but immolation as the burning towers fell, as American soldiers were killed by Muslims disguised as citizens, as Muslims have sought the mass murder of Americans in planes, in New York’s Time Square, in churches and synagogues, at Ft. Hood, and when our attorney general Robert Kennedy was shot to death by Sirhan, Sirhan.

Sunday, on the eve of All Saints' Day, Nov. 1, 2010, the faithful gathered at the Assyrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad. As Father Wassim Sabih finished the mass, eight al-Qaida stormed in, began shooting and forced him to the floor. As the priest pleaded that his parishioners be spared, they executed him and began their mission of mass murder. When security forces broke in, the killers threw grenades to finish off the surviving Christians and detonated explosive-laden vests to kill the police. The toll was 46 parishioners and two priests killed, 78 others wounded, many in critical condition after losing limbs.[1]

For airline travelers, men and women, those who decline a virtual strip must submit to the groping of their genitals in the presence of long lines of passengers. The government calls this outrage enhanced search. The investment of billions in payoffs to union and corporate supporters and state governments whose criminal squander of tax payer money has driven their states to the brink of bankruptcy, goes by the name of stimulus. And everyone knows that the federal government’s loan of millions of dollars per day to finance California’s payment of unemployment payments is not a loan at all but an outright, printed gift. As the government will justify a vast increase in taxes, this in the name of austerity, it will continue to increase spending, the size of government and American dependency.

There is no outrage a cynical government may not clothe in noble sounding words. Bipartisan moral and fiscal corruption goes by the euphemism Compromise. The Patient Protection and Affordability Act, will exploit patients, diminish the quality of their care, raid Medicare of 500 billion dollars, unconscionably increase its costs and deprive Americans of their doctor, and any say in the insurance policy they may prefer. If they disobey, they will be severely punished. While President Obama attributes this mid term’s shellacking to his inability to explain the wonders of his plan to a dim witted American people, the truth is that we get it, he doesn’t get it—hence the shellacking.

The Obama administration lectures Americans that it is time to Move America Forward, to reduce the influence of interest groups he will not name, to achieve Comprehensive Immigration Reform he refuses to define or A Path to Citizenship, words that smack of the amnesty he so loudly decries is not its intent.

Sanctuary Cities, how noble is the image. A sanctuary for people must be good. The Sanctuary City, however, consists of a collection of politicians, who have placed themselves above the law. The sanctuary city, San Francisco for example, permits individuals who are not citizens to vote in local, state and national elections, consume welfare benefits and enjoy sanctuary against the operation of American law, its Constitution and national sovereignty.

Judges have made a mockery of the democratic process and the rule of law in their discovery in an American Constitution that the word marriage actually includes the joining of two men or two women or whatever in this ancient civil and religious wedding of one man and one woman in matrimony. They have transformed the word marriage into a new euphemism, which may well be extended to include other combinations Americans consider abhorrent. NAMBLA the man-boy association has coined the euphemism intergenerational marriage to color pedophilia with the dignity of marriage, that is, the marriage of an adult homosexual male to an adolescent or teenage boy.

As Americans accept the imposition of euphemisms, or are moved by the rabble rousing, often cretin language of political dissimulation—We are the ones we have been waiting for!— they are witnessing the corruption of their constitutional freedoms and the ascendance of a government that will by steps destroy the structure and restraints of American virtue and the Constitution that embodies it.

Let us instead embrace the advice of the late journalist and author, George Orwell. He writes that if we practice the disciplines of oral and written clarity we will avoid the mental vices of government language. Indeed, we will,

…Think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.

Orwell did not live to hear shouted at Americans vacuous slogans such as Yes we can (Yes we can what exactly)?, but he warned against the easy acceptance of lies packaged in sonorous and obfuscatory words. Orwell writes with his usual candor and subtle understatement that,

“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia.” Therefore, “If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy.” And remember that, “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind….” One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase [like Social Justice]— or other lump of verbal refuse — into the dustbin where it belongs.”[2]

Indeed, when listening to politicians, Orwell admitted, as we Americans might also admit,

“… to a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy…. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved, as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying…. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favorable to political conformity….”

What is to be done? Reject political language designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Robert Harkins’ new book will be published in January of 2011. You may find it at Amazon in e-book or hard cover, and at all major bookstores. Its title:

America, Sweet Land of Liberty. Of Thee I Sing.

[1] Pat Buchanan, Murderers of Christianity (Nov.9,2010)

1. George Orwell’s essay, Politics and the English Language.


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