Doublespeak does live. It is vibrant and alive. It permeates every conceivable level ofsociety. Much is spoken about theprosperity of our society. This is voicedagainst a backdrop of cities where thousands roam the asphalt and concrete landscapehomeless and desperate and the hungry queue up at food banks for the basiccommodities. Prosperity is alluded towith a deep and abiding reverence. Thecondominium and estate dwellers carry this notion with them like anall-embracing mantra. Yet, they are buta small minority, while the overwhelming majority struggle to either survive ormaintain a level of economic well-being that is ever at the brink of bankruptcyand destitution.
The spokesman for superiority of this society refer toa nation with the greatest health care system in the world, while fifty millionindividuals lack basic health insurance a realtiy that translates into the factthat they are denied adequate access to health care of any kind. This reality is dutifully ignored though itis a very substantial fact. These numbersare simply subtracted from consideration or concern. Those whose health is exquisitely cared for arethe affluent, exactly the ones who vociferously applaud the quality of thesystem as it exists. The rest stand tolose any financial stability they may enjoy if they should get seriouslyill. For them the health care system isfine, if they remain healthy. Gettingill is another matter entirely. And yet,we hold up this marvelously inequitable system as a model for the entire worldto emulate.
We are a people that love our children so well and socompletely that one-quarter of all children in the country live inpoverty. We claim to care for thewell-being of our future generations, yet we ignore their plight, provide themwith little if any relief from their misery and yet condone their free accessto and use of all manner of deadly firearms. When those adolescents who happen to be disturbed (which is not terriblyunusual for that stage of life) and use weapons that are so readily available,the society shows its concern about the welfare of children, by demandingretribution and, would, if allowed, place ten year olds on death row. No connection is made between the level ofdeadly violence in the society and the accessibility of firearms. Children who are raised deprived of thosebasic amenities we speak so highly about, and who live lives of desperationare, of course, expected to behave both wisely and well. If they, however, behave badly, then thewrath of society falls heavily upon them. The nation takes no responsibility for these outcomes. This is not merely hypocrisy, for hypocrisyis a disguise and obfuscation of truth. It is, in fact, a purposeful distortion of reality. Doublespeak is far more insidious for itproudly proclaims harmony when all around there is imbalance.
Racism is an area where Doublespeak truly shines. In a country that only one hundred and fiftyyears ago condoned the outright ownership of other human beings and totalexploitation of their labor, and only forty years ago denied black people equalaccess to restaurants, restrooms, housing, employment, and every conceivablebasic amenity, today speaks of itself as color blind. This is the very same culture that condonedthe lynching of black men for the innocuous act of merely looking at whitewomen. Somehow, we have magically curedourselves of this barbarism. Yetstrangely enough, most of the menial labor in the society, most of theunskilled menial jobs are performed by people of color. An inordinate proportion of the population ofprisons is represented by black males. Theinner cities are segregated and the schools and social services that serveminorities are abysmal. In spite ofthese obvious realities, affirmative action is ridiculed and blacks are expectedto compete on an equal basis with the more privileged sectors of whitesociety. It is a pretend game of suchstaggering proportions as to be almost comic, if the ramifications were not so horrific.
The War on Drugs continues. There is apparently no end to the police,weapons and prison resources available to interdict the flow of drugs andpunish users, mostly represented by the poor. This strategy is carried out in spite of the obvious awareness that theproblem lies with demand. These drugsessentially serve as an escape mechanism for those who live in conditions thatare deplorable and seemingly hopeless. Yet the beat goes on.
Doublespeak lives. The media are intimately involved in the “art” of Doublespeak. They are its champions, admirers and ultimatepractitioners. They report and emphasizesensational stories as so-called newsworthy events being sure to exaggeratetheir emotional content without making any reference to their context orhistorical perspective. They play the deviousgame of political distraction with consummate skill. The media, essentially owned and controlled bycorporate conglomerates, for the most part parrot the views and interests ofthe powerful, for, that is the group, after all, that controls the directionand actions of the society at large. Itis no surprise that this group would benefit immensely from molding the viewsand aspirations of the general population.
Doublespeak lives on in the area of armaments. It is quite interesting that the UnitedStates - the nation that holds the greatest nuclear arsenal and the onlysovereignty that unleashed nuclear weapons on human beings - is the samecountry that always appears so appalled and outraged when less powerful statesmove to arm themselves in the same way. This nation also happens to be the greatest arms seller in the communityof nations. For that reason, it profitsmaterially from the violent conflicts that erupt in much of the impoverishedworld. It is the distinct quality of Doublespeakthat remarkable contradictions between pronouncements and reality are neveracknowledged and vociferously denied when referred to. It is the hallmark of Doublespeak that povertybecomes prosperity, empty becomes full and night becomes day.
The greatest masters of Doublespeak and all itsexquisite nuances are not so much the politicians as the foreign policyexperts, for they can make ignorance seem like enlightenment, can make a tyrantseem like a prince of democracy and most importantly make evil seem somehowmagically good. There are many splendidexamples of this. The State of Israel thathas forces of occupation throughout its neighboring region and rules the“territories” by shear brute force and state terror calls itself a democracyand is even referred to as a democracy by other nations. Of course the question may come to mind,“Democracy for whom?” The Palestinianrefugees whose squalid camps are surrounded by armed troops certainly do notlive under a democratic umbrella.
Israel is a nation that uses the same tactics thatapartheid South Africa once used to deny the basic civil rights and freedoms ofthe majority black population by herding them into so-called “homelands.” This is a nation that blows up and demolisheshomes of Arabs to make way for Jewish settlers and shoots young boys who havethe audacity to throw rocks at the forces of occupation that constantly harassand contain them. This is a nation thatuses fascist methods to maintain so-called order. Ironically, the Israelis emulate thestrategies and policies of those whose demonic behavior they insist the worldmust never forget. Yet, somehow, miraculouslyIsrael is a democracy to be admired and celebrated. Doublespeak lives.
There are many past examples of leaders of nations whohave received lavish praise for their industry and labors in spite of theiractual behavior towards the populations that were subjected to their rule. The Shah of Iran, Batista of Cuba, Samoza ofNicaragua, The French in Indochina, Suharto of Indonesia, Marcos of thePhilippines are the names of just a few. These were the agents who served both themselves and Western Capitalistsexceedingly well at the expense of their own people. Nonetheless, they were to be praised for theirleadership and statecraft. Their evilpropensities were forged into good works and farsighted and enlightened policies.
Part of the masterful agenda of Doublespeak is the creationof an almost continual need for enemies. As both a distraction from societal ills and as a means of finding acohesive focus for the entire culture, an enemy or enemies of the State seem tobe required. If they do not truly exist,which is often the case, they can be readily fabricated thanks in large measureto the genius of the media. Whenever thetrue economic interests of the powerful corporate interests are threatened orthe rise of a popular movement questions the supremacy of the capitalistphilosophy, it is then that enemies are called upon . The propaganda machinery of governmenttogether with their cohorts in the media focus their attention on moldingpublic opinion in the direction of that newest enemy or enemies of theState. The newest term in the formidablevocabulary of Doublespeak is the so-called “Terrorist State.” At such times, the overweening priorities ofnational interest is invoked, although it is rather inconceivable to imaginehow a third world power can pose a significant threat against the world’s onlysuperpower. Doublespeak lives.
Since Doublespeak calls upon and relies upon theimmense resources of the State, it is an essential tool for the implementationof the agenda of the powerful. It isonly through education and organized resistance that this practice can beexposed, undermined and defeated. Doublespeaklives because the people feed upon it. Doublespeakthrives on ignorance and apathy. Doublespeaklives because the truth is not demanded. Sick is not well, empty is not full, evil is not goodness.