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Bush Doublespeak. "Prosperity and Peace are in the Balance"

George Orwell did not actually coin the word 'doublespeak'. The word doublespeak was coined in the early 1950s. It is often incorrectly attributed to George Orwell and his dystopian, bleak novel 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'. The word actually never appears in that novel; Orwell did, however, coin newspeak, oldspeak, and doublethink (holding simultaneously two opinions which cancel each other out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them) i.e. "Peace is War. War is Peace".

No one seems to epitomize doublethink or doublespeak more than our inimitable president who said yesterday. "Soon we'll have a nominee who will carry a conservative banner into this election and beyond. Listen, the stakes in November are high. This is an important election. Prosperity and peace are in the balance."

"Really? Does George W. Bush seriously want to argue that the nation should follow his direction in order to maintain "prosperity and peace"?

Where is this elusive "prosperity and peace"? And why is it hiding so well?''

This from the self-confessed 'war president' who wants to pass the baton on to John McCain whose 'straight talk' message is "there's going to be other wars". As to prosperity..the nation's retailers have just turned in their worst January in almost four decades, coming off the last quarter of 2007 which saw almost zero growth, 0.15% (0.6% annually adjusted). Former Federal Chairman Alan Greenspan says it is '50/50 or slightly more", that we have a recession this year.. To quote George Orwell in his 1946 essay "Politics and Language":

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation, even among people who should and do know better..his words, like cavalry horses answering the bugle, group themselves automatically into the familiar dreary pattern. This invasion of one's mind by ready-made phrases ('freedom is on the march' 'prosperity and peace are in the balance') can only be prevented if one is constantly on guard against them, and every such phrase anaesthetizes a portion of one's brain.

That sums up listening to George W. Bush for seven years, the brains' of both the listerner and the speaker have become so anaesthetized to his repetitious 'global war on terror' and other vogue phrases that listener and speaker can no longer bother to discriminate. But doublespeak has caught on with other supine officials of the Bush administration..

This footnote from Friday's Washington Post,

Seems the Energy Department's Web site used to say that the Weatherization Assistance Program -- which helps low-income folks reduce their energy costs by weatherproofing their homes -- "is this country's longest running, and perhaps most successful energy efficiency program."

That's how things stood on Monday, when President Bush's budget was released and the program was eliminated. By Wednesday, an alert Energy Department aide had cut the "most successful" sentence. But committee staffers already had taken a screen grab of the old text and compared the two versions on a large graphic.

Committee Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) held up the graphic at the hearing, telling (Energy Secretary) Bodman it seemed that the department "instead of insulating the poor against high energy costs . . . is more concerned with insulating themselves against embarrassment."

Bodman said other programs simply "had higher rates of return" than that one.

Maybe if they'd just changed the "is" to "was" (which would have been more honest), no one would have noticed?



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Comments (2)

Bill Lutz:

The word "doublespeak" was coined in November 1971 at the annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English. The word was invented for use in a resolution on "The Dishonest and Inhumane Use of Public Language." I've written three books on doublespeak and for 14 years I edited the Quarterly Review of Doublespeak (now defunct). Just thought you'd like to know.

Steve Crickmore:

Now I know...Thanks for your contribution Bill. Further, there are many examples of doublespeak or Bushspeak besides "prosperity and peace" which for a majority of Americans describe a looming recession and intractable war in Iraq. From a comprehensive article-The Fog of War Talk- on AlterNet (you probably know it, since you were quoted as an authority)..

We went into Iraq because of their so-called "weapons of mass destruction" if someone else owned them - are described as "the U.S. nuclear deterrent", or 'a war of liberation' versus 'death squads' and 'the coalition of the willing' versus 'the axis of evil'.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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