The Corrupting Influence of meaningless Verbiage in Politics and the English Language
In his famous essay "Politics and the English Language", George Orwell argued that "thoughts corrupted language and vice versa". In other words, there is a symbiotic relationship between our thoughts and the language we use to express them. This is because, as Orwell famously put it, "language is a map of our actual thoughts".
Orwell was right about "thoughts corrupted language" and "language corrupted thoughts". In our age of linguistic inflation and political correctness, this symbiotic relationship has never been more evident. The constant stream of fashionable buzzwords and phrases that pour forth from the mouths of politicians, commentators and pundits is a clear manifestation of this phenomenon.
These buzzwords and phrases are often empty of any real meaning. They are used to give the impression of knowledge and sophistication, when in reality they convey nothing more than shallow posturing. This is because the people who use them have no genuine thoughts or ideas to express. Their minds are filled with nothing but smart-sounding words and phrases.
The result is a kind of political gibberish that is utterly devoid of content. It is the language of thoughtless conformity, designed to lull us into complacency and compliance. It is the enemy of critical thinking and independent thought.
So what can we do about it? How can we protect ourselves from the corrupting influence of this meaningless verbiage?
One way is to simply refuse to use these words and phrases ourselves. Another is to call out those who do use them, whenever we hear them spouting off their empty rhetoric.
But perhaps the most effective way to combat this problem is to educate ourselves about the origins and history of these words and phrases. By understanding where they come from, we can see through their facade of respectability and see them for what they really are: tools of manipulation and control.
Here are just a few examples:
1) "Artificial intelligence" is a phrase that has been used for centuries, but only became popular in recent years due to the advancement of technology. It refers to the ability of machines to mimic human intelligence. However, it is now often used as a synonym for "machine learning", which is a much narrower field of study.
2) "Collective bargaining" is a term that was first used in the early 20th century, but only became popular after World War II. It refers to the process by which workers negotiate with employers over wages and working conditions. However, it is now often used as a synonym for "trade unions", which are only one type of collective bargaining organization.
3) "Connected with II World War" – This phrase appears in many history books but its origins are actually much more recent. It was first used by Nazi propagandists in the 1940s to connect Hitler and the Nazi regime with the Second World War. However, it is now often used by historians to describe any connection between Hitler and the war, regardless of whether or not he was responsible for it.
4) "Megomaniacal" is a word that was first used in the 18th century, but only became popular in the 20th century. It refers to a person who is excessively self-centered and obsessed with power. However, it is now often used as a synonym for "tyrannical" or "dictatorial", which are much more specific terms.
5) "Underappreciation" is a word that was first used in the early 20th century, but only became popular in recent years. It refers to the condition of being inadequately appreciated or valued. However, it is now often used as a synonym for "neglect" or "mistreatment", which are much more specific terms.
As you can see, many of these words and phrases have been hijacked and given new meanings that are often far removed from their original intent. By understanding the true origins and history of these terms, we can see through the facade of respectability that has been placed on them and recognize them for what they really are: tools of manipulation and control.
So the next time you hear someone spouting off some empty rhetoric, don’t just roll your eyes and tune them out. Take a moment to consider the history and origins of the words they’re using. You may be surprised at what you learn.
And who knows, you may even find yourself becoming a little more critical of the language you use yourself.