the defence of the indefencible
It’ll come as no secret, to find a certain degree of spin in the realm of politics. Political parties and figureheads have always taken sanctuary behind the English language, using a wide range of debased and euphimistic words. Worryingly however, this trend has influenced the way we percieve and understand these words. Take the following quote from Noam Chomsky:
‘A standard example is ‘defense’. In the United States up until 1947, we used to have something called the ‘War Department’. Since 1947, we haven’t had a ‘War Department’, we’ve had a ‘Defense Department’. Anyone who had his head screwed on realized in 1947 that we were not going to be involved in defense any more, we were only going to be involved in war, and thats why the War Department has to be renamed the ‘Defense Department’- because ‘defense’ means ‘aggression’.
The re-appropriation of language for political gain, while not surprising, is a huge concern amongst linguists who believe its presence further dilutes the aims of the individuals who use it.