Donald Trump's Government Have Banned The C-Word...
The Debrief: No no...we mean 'climate change'
Most stories about democracy gone bad – whether in real life, history or fiction – tend to begin with the censoring, limiting and corrupting of language. Language is, after all, the mood powerful tool any politician has. It’s how they make laws, communicate with allies and enemies and send messages to the citizens they represent. It may seem less deadly than a weapon of mass destruction, but don’t be fooled, it’s just as powerful.
Language can, also, turn also turn on the politicians who try to control it. It can catch them out, prove them wrong and hang them out to dry. See Nick Clegg’s broken promise, David Cameron’s convenient misunderstanding of LOL or Theresa May’s insistence that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ even though nobody really knows what Brexit actually means beyond the obvious. See also the fact the our government didn't use the phrase 'housing crisis' up until quite recently. If you don't acknowledge a problem then you don't have to fix it! Genius!
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Language is a means of control in politics, that’s why North Korea’s founding father Kim Il-sung banned all declarations of love in books, film and music. He was able to change the meaning of the word and ensure that public declarations of affection were only to him.
When it comes to censorship or selectively speaking, the old adage out of sight out of mind definitely applies. If you remove a word from a country’s vocabulary or change its meaning then, in theory, it no longer poses a threat to your position in power.
With this in mind, it is not surprising that Donald Trump is trying to control language. The Guardian has revealed that the President has sanctioned the United States Department of Agriculture’s decision to ban the term ‘climate change’ from use. Instead, officials have been asked to refer to ‘weather extremes’ instead. Ok sure, because 'weather extremes' definitely aren't caused by climate change....
As George Orwell wrote in Politics and the English Language, ‘political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible’, the US government’s shifting lexicon when it comes to the environment is perhaps the best contemporary examples of this. Orwell also said that just as ‘thought corrupts language’ it’s true that ‘language can also corrupt thought’. Can Donald Trump really convince the citizens of America that climate change, a very well establish ed phenomenon, is nothing to worry about?
You can’t really tackle global warming if you refuse to acknowledge its existence which, if you think about it, is rather fitting for Trump’s administration who seem to think that a return to relying on fossils fuels which, as we all know, will one day run out is a far better strategy than investing in green energy. By denying climate change, Trump can also gradually vindicate himself for pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement which pretty much everyone everywhere in the entire world thinks was a disastrous move.
Top marks to the President for effort. You can't knock a guy for trying.
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