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Friday, September 26, 2008
As George Orwell points out in "Politics and the English Language," one need not take on the responsibility of thinking when composing sentences:You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent — and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.
Look at what we have here — ready-made phrases, stray bits of language, as if pulled together from some desperate cramming for an exam: back on the right track, health care reform, job creation, one in five jobs, opportunity, reform that is needed, reducing taxes, reining in spending, shore up our economy, tax reductions, tax relief, the trade sector, the umbrella of job creation.