In politics (and life in general) language is used in order not only to simply communicate, but also to shape and, yes, control thought. I'm not sure I know of anyone who has not at some point expressed frustration at what is commonly known as politician talk, aka political rhetoric that is either devoid of content or deflects or distorts the truth.
The problem is that in our everyday lives we do not pay all that much attention to the proper use of language. This leaves us particularly at a disadvantage for recognizing deceptive language because we often use it ourselves without awareness of it.
No one was more aware of the potential dangers of the misuse of language as a means of manipulation than George Orwell whose principles of Newspeak have escaped the confines of his dystopian book 1984 to take on a life of their own. Less known , though, is an essay written by Orwell entitled Politics and the English Language - which in my opininon should be a part of every citizens education - in which Orwell discussed the ability of vague and ambiguous language to corrupt thought. Orwell, the 20th century's most acute critic of the misuse of language, warned that "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." The advice he offered was to actively seek to improve your own use of language: "If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself."
With practice and concentrated effort it becomes easier to see through imprecise language; this is something that every citizen should always strive to be aware of since, afterall, "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."
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