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Reality-Denying Language

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By Kerby Anderson

Earlier this month President Obama met with the French president. When talking about the terrorist actions in Paris, Brussels, and San Bernardino, he referred to the violence as “Islamist terrorism.” The White House deleted the phrase but then restored it when questioned about the apparent censorship.

Down the street from the White House, something similar was taking place at the Library of Congress. The library’s administrators banned the term “illegal alien” in subject headings about immigration. There is no word on what you would call someone who is in this country who did not go through legal channels to enter this country.

Victor Davis Hanson writes about the reality-denying language being used in our world today. He laments that these administration heads “have airbrushed out Islamic terrorism by referring to it with such phrases as ‘man-caused disaster.’ The effort to combat terrorism was called an ‘overseas contingency operation,’ perhaps like Haitian earthquake relief.”

The U.S. Attorney General has been using the term “justice-involved youth” to describe young criminals arrested and charged with crimes. This is obviously an attempt to avoid using the word criminal, but it is so confusing as to imply that the term 
“justice-involved” youth is describing a young parole officer. Once again this is an obvious attempt to deny reality by using Orwellian doublespeak.

Another example is the phrase “climate change.” We used to hear about “global warming” until it became obvious to just about everyone that the earth has not been warming for the better part of two decades. No problem, we will just change to the term to “climate change.” Nobody can deny that the weather is changing, and thus the climate is changing as well.

It’s time to put an end to reality-denying language. We are not well served when we cannot even speak clear and precise English.

Viewpoints by Kerby Anderson

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