Friday, January 16, 2004

Gore on Bush: Orwellian language

NYT, Herbert: Masters of Deception
...Amid cheers, he [Gore] made it clear that the broad interests of the American public are consistently betrayed by the policies and practices of President Bush and his administration. 'They devise their policies with as much secrecy as possible,' he said, 'and in close cooperation with the most powerful special interests that have a monetary stake in what happens. In each case, the public interest is not only ignored, but actively undermined. In each case, they devote considerable attention to a clever strategy of deception that appears designed to prevent the American people from discerning what it is they are actually doing.

'Indeed, they often use Orwellian language to disguise their true purposes. For example, a policy that opens national forests to destructive logging of old-growth trees is labeled Healthy Forest Initiative. A policy that vastly increases the amount of pollution that can be dumped into the air is called the Clear Skies Initiative.

Orwellian language has been a strong feature of the Republican party since Gingrich. Stalinists and Nazis were past masters of the art; it's important for any power structure where self deception is critical.

Krugman compares the Bush administration to Nixon. I think Bush is a curious blend of Nixon and Reagan; a fascinating combination of a sharp mind, extraordinary discipline, unbounded arrogance, and a total lack of curiousity about the world.

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