ELDER MUSIC: 1931
Existentialism of Pancreatic Cancer

Trump Administration Tries to Ban 7 Words

Unless you're sensible enough to take the weekend off from Trump-related politics, you already know about this story: that the U.S. Centers for Disease (CDC) are now forbidden from using a certain seven words in reports and official budget documents:

Diversity
Entitlement
Fetus
Transgender
Vulnerable
Evidence-based
Science-based

As Newsweek reported, the CDC staff was told,

”...that rather than using the phrases evidence-based or science-based, they should instead say: 'The CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.'”

Oh, of course, wishes and science. They go together like salt and pepper - why didn't I think of that.

After the announcement on Friday, objections poured forth onto Twitter and elsewhere from scientists and concerned citizens far and wide. Bruce Y. Lee at Forbes:

To ban any of these 7 words would be absurd and frankly a gigantosaurus waste of time...Banning the word 'vulnerable' certainly won't make 28.2 million Americans under the age of 65 who are uninsured or the over 46 million who live in poverty go away.

“Similarly what exactly will prohibiting the words 'transgender' and 'entitlement' do besides force people to search their thesauruses or thesaurusi? Plus, 'entitlement' has other uses such as 'what sense of entitlement gives one the right to override science and reality'"?

And from the AP:

”Dr. Sandro Galea, dean of Boston University’s School of Public Health, says these things matter 'because the words that we use ultimately describe what we care about and what we think are priorities.'

“'If you are saying you cannot use words like ‘transgender’ and ‘diversity,’ it’s a clear statement that you cannot pay attention to these issues.'”

By Sunday, the volume of alarmed complaints had grown loud enough that the CDC or, rather, the Trump Administration was forced to backtrack saying that the new language was for use only in budget documents to help, as The New York Times put it: “when appealing for funding from Republican conservatives in Congress.”

The genesis of the seven-word ban remains in question and no one has been able to find out who issued the order. According to the Times:

There seemed to be confusion around the public health agencies about whether the ban originated at the agency’s parent department, Health and Human Services, or inside the C.D.C. itself; and whether such a ban would apply beyond budget documents.

“The Food and Drug Administration was quick to note that it had gotten no such instruction. An agency spokeswoman, Jennifer Rodriguez, said, 'We haven’t received, nor implemented, any directives with respect to the language used at F.D.A. to describe our policy or budget issues.' The National Institutes of Health referred inquiries to Health and Human Services.”

This isn't just another weird, little screw-up in the Trump administration. This is an attempt to censor. Other agencies are said to be subject to the ban of these seven words and such bans – books, movies, words, etc. - are always an attempt to control thought.

It is crucial to a democracy that all people are allowed free speech – that means saying anything they want whether anyone else likes it or not. This word ban is an attempt to thwart that right supposedly preserved in the Constitution but now under attack from many angles by the Trump administration.

Words are important and it is important to use the right words for what you mean to say. I keep a little quotation on my desk from Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts school in the “Harry Potter” series – in this case the book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone:

”Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”

True but don't be afraid of this authoritarian grab for control. Instead, don't let the government tell you what you can say. Ever.


Comments

Well, I did try to take a break from all things trumpily related but somehow these things get through. We have a very concerning situation that was not the will of the majority and yet it grinds on. We must resist.

Indicative of the mental capacity of our esteemed leaders.
Talk about an ostrich with it's head in the sand! If we don't say it, it will go away!

Hmmm. This is being brought from outside Trump himself as his command of language and its effects is beyond his realm, perhaps Bannon or Stephen Miller who are looking at the bigger picture. My immediate thought is that it sounded like an idea from Nazi propoganda, which I believe the above-named numbnuts have looked into.

The Administration is doing everything it can to eliminate any goodness left to us and doing it in a big hurry. It's items like this article you cited are hidden while stories about -Rump's tweets are given headline news. The fact that the press is being muzzled and dismissed as fake news and that the language itself is being altered is beginning to smell more and more like a complete takeover. \

Der Fuhrer has three more years to accomplish that goal aided by his Republican toady's in Congress if we don't stop this terrifying altering in our government by voting Democrat in every election.

I think this kind of word-choosing is common among scientists seeking federal funding. A late friend who did research on AIDS and behavioral risks told me that she and her co-workers never included the phrase "men having sex with men."

Sorry, that phrase should have read "altering OF our ---"

In my quarter century of working in a federal government organization, nothing as nefarious as this type of censorship was every attempted. I fully agree with your observation that this is serious stuff.

My immediate thought was that Trump was again trying to deny science and reality. And the suggested replacement phrase just confirms it. Science is science, fact is fact, regardless of "community standards and wishes."

This news really got to me. I get really antsy when people in power start messing with words, e.g. eliminating, forbidding them. This is indeed straight out of the fascist playbook. And George Orwell. And almost every single thing connected with German National Socialism. I have spent my life dealing with words, teaching them, thinking about them, writing about them -- and a step like this, in addition to dt's denial of science, etc., is deeply dangerous. I have been mulling this all over since I first read about it in the NYT. And it really drives me to despair.

All of us need to think more about what words mean. What they imply. How they thrill, cheer, but also harm. And what happens if they get banned, like this action by those I find unspeakable in DC. And elsewhere.

I found it very alarming that they are now attempting to interfere with the science affecting the health of the American people.

Amen!
That foul human in the White House has got go!

I kept stumbling over this story all weekend but didn't quite connect with it because it is so preposterous. How long, o Lord, how long!

I have no words to accurately describe The Orange Apparition and his sycophants--at least none that are appropriate for publication. "Deplorable", "despicable" and "detestable" really aren't up to the task!

I really wish I could send this sensible piece to my Congressmen. Link is to long for one thing.

Very dangerous indeed, this very ignorant would-be dictator and his sycophants. I can't help wondering how long it takes to turn a democracy (more or less........I've been calling it a plutocracy for some years now) into a dictatorship?

Bonnie...
You and anyone can quickly make a short url (link) at Bitly dot com.

The other attempt to silence speech they don't like is 1) the Justice Department publicizing communications between two of its employees (FBI folks who were using their work phones so DOJ had their texts) 2) and right wingers claiming that because these employees had quite ordinary political opinions, they were unable to do their jobs professionally. For goodness sakes, Trump own Secretary of State says he is a moron, but for all his faults, Rex Tillerson is not considered a subversive. I suspect that most law enforcement personnel don't think very highly of any politician; skepticism goes with the job. But they insulted Great Leader ...

When christian fundamentalism began to rise in the denomination I was working for in the late 80's, we in the editorial division received a list of words we were to edit out of any manuscript.

I stayed 2 more years to be able to get early (reduced) retirement benefits.

It always astounds me the lengths to which some "believers" will go to have everyone be just like them, clothes, life-style, acceptance of only "our kind", the whole enchilada--but never acknowledge, or know what they are actually doing in regard to "loving thy neighbor as thyself" or any of the teachings they say they follow.

Part of what is happening in our gov't is that kind of thinking and the using of religion-in-name only to hook and hold the 30ish%.

None of this should come as a surprise — our current administration is simply following the playbook documented in history — including during our lifetime — for converting our constitutional democratic republic into an authoritarian type of government.

The controlling congressional political party has sold their soul, naively believing they can prevail to safeguard the people’s freedom. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you ever wondered how a nation of people in the past could have allowed their country to be seduced by a leader who took control of their country — becoming a despot. — we are witnessing that now.

The efforts to control the language used, restricting/banning words is dangerous — is one of many steps followed in the systematic drive toward establishing just such a despotic autocracy — is part of the playbook. Subjugating all branches of government, undermining the people’s trust and confidence in our government, discounting the credibility of our intelligence community, feeding confusion between truth and lies, destroying legitimacy of our Fourth Estate — the Press — for reporting truth if it’s counter to government position ——- that’s all documented in history and is being deliberately repeated today. We must resist — we must not lose our freedom.


Language control is one of the first measures usually taken by would-be dictatorships in their efforts to take over a government. Thought control quickly follows. That this is happening in one of the largest and most powerful democracies in the world is very sobering and troubling. But hang on to your hats—more is coming!

Dear Ronni, thank you for expressing the worries and concerns of so many of us who live in the United States today. I feel that we are moving toward almost a dictatorship--an authoritarian state that has a president who is mentally ill and a Republican Congress that is so thirsty for power they have removed their backbones--if they ever had any. Yet, I remain hopeful, because of things like the response to sexual harassment, that we can come together and find ways to deal with the rampant racism and xenophobia we now see in our country. Peace.

They left me laughing. Do they really think they can do this> Facebook is full of fuss over this.

1984 may be 3 decades late but it seems to be coming to America.

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