President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)
Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America [CC BY-SA 2.0 ]

Beware of President Trump’s Nefarious Language Games

The strongman knows that it starts with words. He uses them early on to test out his plans to expand and personalize executive power on political elites, the press and the public, watching their reactions as they arrange into the timeless categories of allies, enemies and those who help him by remaining silent. Some say the strongman is all bluster, but he takes words seriously, including the issue of which ones should be banned.

That’s why those who study authoritarian regimes or have had the misfortune to live under one may find something deeply familiar about the Trump administration’s decision to bar officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from using certain words (“vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based”). The administration’s refusal to give any rationale for the order, and the pressure it places on CDC employees, have a political meaning that transcends its specific content and context. The decision as a whole links to a larger history of how language is used as a tool of state repression.

Read the entire essay at The Atlantic

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pocket
Share on email
Share on print
This website uses first or third-party tools that store cookies on your device to allow the site to run properly and ensure you get the best experience on our website. Read our privacy policy.