Henry Giroux argues that George Orwell's nightmare vision is our reality. Language has been twisted to seduce, trick, and undermine our capacity to think clearly.

Language has become unmoored from critical reason, informed debate and the weight of scientific evidence, and is now being reconfigured within new relations of power tied to pageantry, political theater and a deep-seated anti-intellectualism, increasingly shaped by the widespread banality of celebrity culture, the celebration of ignorance over intelligence, a culture of rancid consumerism, and a corporate-controlled media that revels in commodification, spectacles of violence, the spirit of unchecked self-interest and a "survival of the fittest" ethos.

New York Times writer Peter Baker adds to this charge by arguing that Trump -- buoyed by an infatuation with absolute power and an admiration for authoritarians -- uses language and the power of the presidency as a potent weapon in his attacks on the First Amendment, the courts and responsible governing.

Challenging Trump's Language of Fascism

image source, text from article

Reading Giroux's entire article will be worth your time.

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Re Giroux’s remark: ...undermine our capacity to think clearly.

I read long ago that language is unable to express all the mind can conceive.

Having fewer words would result in more ambiguity.

Giroux might have more correctly said “...undermine our capacity to think unambiguously.”

A haiku I wrote: English, our language, / has two excellent uses: / Poetry and fraud.

From the article:

"Trump’s language is not his alone. It is the language of a nascent fascism that has been brewing in the US for some time. It is a language that is comfortable viewing the world as a combat zone, a world that exists to be plundered. It is a view of those deemed different as a threat to be feared, if not eliminated....

Language is not simply an instrument of fear, violence and intimidation; it is also a vehicle for critique, civic courage, resistance, and engaged and informed agency....

Progressives need to formulate a new language, alternative cultural spheres and fresh narratives about freedom, the power of collective struggle, empathy, solidarity and the promise of a real socialist democracy.... We need a language, vision and understanding of power to enable the conditions in which education is linked to social change and the capacity to promote human agency through the registers of cooperation, compassion, care, love, equality and a respect for difference....

In the end, there is no democracy without informed citizens and no justice without a language critical of injustice."

(Bolding and ellipses mine.)

"No democracy without informed citizens" reminds me of Isaac Asimov's "A Cult of Ignorance", the op-ed containing his famous quote about the "false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is as good as your knowledge.'" What he wrote almost four decades ago is still true: "What we badly need is social approval of learning and social rewards for learning. We can all be members of the intellectual elite and then, and only then, will... any true concept of democracy have any meaning."


GC, many thanx for the reference to Asimov.

It will help me with an essay I’m doing about consent of the governed.

Good points, Grinning Cat. Thanks.




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