It is still George Orwell's century

It's hard to escape George Orwell.  There's  "double-speak" everywhere I look, and I think of Orwell's warning:  that if language loses precision, we're on the road to being manipulated by it.  It's hard to advance freedom when we lack clarity.  

Cases in point: 

I am bored by the Hallmark-card "pro-life" vs. "pro-choice."  Everyone loves life, everyone loves choice, right?  But this one's about a particular choice- specifically the right to choose to abort an unwanted fetus. Call me pro-abortion, I won't mind.   

Let's stop arguing about "Black Lives Matter" vs. "All Lives Matter."  The former was meant to oppose the denigration of black lives versus others -- i.e, black lives matter as much as white lives.  A counter-punch to police bias. In this context, the otherwise anodyne "all lives matter" seems downright bizarre: does anyone think that cops are biased against whites?  

There's the Orwellian fight over how we label terrorism-- extremist, Islamic, Jihadist, whatever. Some argue that if you can't name the problem, you can't fight it.  Really?  As I write, our administration has bombing missions over Libya.  If you review the countries we've recently attacked, they're all in the Mideast, and they all are Muslim majority.  Would a different label change that?  Hmm, probably not.

But I think Republicans have a point about the immigration label-- whether we call those who move across borders without proper documents, "illegal"  vs  "undocumented."  If I drive my car without my license, it's called "illegal"  -- although, yes, I am driving "undocumented."  People think a term like "undocumented" is fishy.     

Freedom, Orwell says, "is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." If there's a ever a time that we needed journalists to be clear and spell out facts, it is now.  




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