23 March 2015

By George

By George! there's an insidious movement afoot in the United States to dissuade people from using terms like climate change, global warming, and sea-level rise.
In Senate testimony, top Rick Scott adviser won't say 'Climate Change'.
Historically fascists are the recognized masters of doublespeak. Doublespeak is
deliberately euphemistic, ambiguous, or obscure language
Doublespeak is the antecedent of today's Political Speak. Political Speak is the disingenuous practice of
changing two way discourse into one-way communication; sticking to the party message no matter what the other is saying.
Urban Dictionary
Having eschewed science, having angrily dismissed noble laureates and academicians, having willfully ignored data that conflict with deeply held notions, and having exhibited a diminished capacity for empathy, neocons and tea party conservatives, like the infamous fascists from our not-yet-banned history texts, are left with language manipulation as the sharpest arrow in their quiver.

Let's consult two Georges to explain.

New George

Cognitive linguist George Lakoff is the most eloquent contemporary author writing about how language is manipulated to frame political discourse. Lakoff makes the link between biology and perception.
We categorize as we do because we have the brains and bodies we have and because we interact in the world as we do.
George Lakoff, Philosophy in the Flesh
Lakoff chides progressives for political naiveté.
If you believe in the eighteenth century view of the mind, you will look and act wimpy. You will think that all you need to do is give people the facts and the figures and they will reach the right conclusion. You will think that all you need to do is point out where their interests lie, and they will act politically to maximize them.
George Lakoff, Don't Think of an Elephant
Old George

Lets not forget the futurist insights of George Orwell. The term doublespeak was popularized by Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty Four.
Prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.
George Orwell from the essay “Politics and the English Language”
Our Melons

Rapid news cycles stimulate the amygdala to condition us by fear. Fear is the basest of human instincts.
Facts are the sandbags we use to divert the flood of misinformation.
I am hopeful for an neurological adaptation favoring empathy.
The biology of empathy allows us to comprehend our connection to each other, to other living things, and to the physical world that supports life.
― George Lakoff
Gray's Anatomy, Plate 718


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