3 Terms Liberty Lovers Need to Stop Using
George Orwell had a fine concept of political speech and it's purpose. He's no less right today than he was 60 years ago when he said it, and today's phrases carefully crafted for maximum political effect are no different. Here are three such phrases used to advance the interests of the state at the expense of the people.
1. National Security
National security can occasionally refer to classified military information that could actually threaten the citizenry of the United States. For instance, the codes that activate the US nuclear arsenal should be kept secret for national security reasons. The reasons are clear.
Lately, however, national security has been used as an excuse to keep embarrassing information away from the eyes and ears of the public. Of late, national security has come to mean the political security of state officials. The details of the Benghazi attack, for instance, are being kept secret, but represent no real security issue.
2. Keynesian Economics
Keynesian theory, as practiced these days, is the idea that government knows best and can reverse an economic downturn. In spite of being repeatedly shown to be totally wrong in every way, politicians find the concept of righting economic wrongs with printed money terribly tantalizing, and so Keynesian economics has been taught in state-controlled schools for decades.
The phrase "Keynesian economics" has come to mean "government employees are always right", and that complete control of the monetary system should be ceded to government employees, who in their great wisdom, will elevate us all from poverty. Predictably though, the newly printed money generally finds its way to friends of government, making the well-connected very rich. Not that anyone could have seen that coming.
To use a scientific-sounding term lends legitimacy to the theft writ large that Keynesian theory has come to represent. A more appropriate term would be possibly "state-controlled economics", or "centrally-planned economics", as this is a fairer representation of what is going on. Panels of bureaucrats deciding what the interest rate and money supply ought to be is a frankly Soviet tradition, and is no different from deciding the price of shoes or how much wheat ought to be farmed.
3. Public versus Private
The Cliven Bundy case, where armed agents of the federal government forcibly stole a man's cattle for "trespassing" on so-called public land is an illustration of just how public those lands really are. In this case the Bureau of Land Management had laid claim to the land, and charged rent. People who didn't pay evidently got guns stuck in their faces. Oftentimes, "public" goods are treated as the personal property of the state employees that administer them, even though they are forcibly funded by the public at large.
A better term might be "state-controlled" and "citizen-controlled". For instance, "public housing" has a friendly sound to it; one would like to imagine that anyone could live there free of charge. Calling something "public" tends to hide the cost, as state-controlled entities use taxpayer money to avoid charging door fees.
"Public schools" have a welcoming sound, while "private schools" sound closed off and elitist.
The truth of the matter is that a public school, far from being a creation of a community for the benefit of its children, is a state-controlled entity with increasingly little input from parents. Just take a look at "Common Core", which would more correctly be called the "State-Controlled Curriculum".
To call a fellow a "public" official is often unrepresentative of the truth, as that person is paid by the state and won't generally go to bat for the public. He is a state official, and when push comes to shove, will generally cleave unto the state.
As Confucius said, the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name. So long as people continue to use the language crafted by the state for its own benefit, the institutions directly opposed to the interests of the people will be protected.