The Politics of Language

By: Gillian Davis

Published On: 2022-03-29

Every day we watch and listen as language gets politicized, meanings of words changed, and people silenced through “cancel culture”.  One starts to wonder if we are living in a 1984 “Newspeak” world?  Are we intentionally being deceived? Is Mainstream and social media dividing people on purpose? Are the facts being manipulated to fit an agenda? What happened to our liberal ideals of free expression and sovereignty of the individual?  Are we losing our humanity to a digital world?

Intentional Deception

I spoke with Andy Brooke, retired RCMP officer who was part of the National Counterterrorist Team and helped train the JTF.  He is an expert in deceptive language techniques – “Detecting language-based deception in written and oral statements using linguistic text analysis. Linguistic text analysis involves studying the language, grammar and syntax a subject uses to describe an event to detect any anomalies which may possibly indicated deceptive messaging. “

Mr. Brooke has been working closely with the family of victims of Ukrainian Airline’s Flight PS 752, which was shot down by Iran in January of 2020.  He points out some of the language used by RCMP Commissioner, Brenda Lucki and other government officials including PM Justin Trudeau. 

Mr. Brooke asserts that in Ms. Lucki’s letter to the families, she makes several statements that trigger his suspicion that political interference was involved in the decision making to pursue a criminal investigation into the matter.

She used the following statement:

“Indeed it is the RCMP’s responsibility though we consult with legal counsel and–other advisors”

Which begs the question –who are the other advisors?  Mr. Brooke has a flurry of twitter responses to this case as he seeks to assist the families in their quest to find justice.  The group has gone so far as to launch a formal complaint with the CRCC against Commissioner Lucki.  They feel that it was a dereliction of duty in refusing to pursue a criminal investigation.

This is only one example of unanswered questions and a lack of transparency coming from authorities. 

Media Manipulation

Noam Chomsky has done extensive work in linguistics, political discourse and media manipulation.  His most relevant effort is ‘Manufacturing Consent’, with both  a book and documentary on this seminal work.  He lays out the model for propaganda used by Mainstream Media as follows:

  • Sound bite
  • Operative SOUNDBITE
  • Time (think of news being ‘dropped’ at the start of a long weekend)
  • Selection of topics
  • Distribution of concerns
  • Emphasis
  • Framing of issues
  • Filtering of information
  • Bounding of debate into certain limits; determine, shape, restrict, select – All to serve the interests of dominant elite groups, those paying for advertising on networks, for example.

Chomsky further asserts that “propaganda is to democracy what violence is to a dictatorship”. 

To the intelligentsia, the whole line of thinking is that indoctrination is the essence of a democracy.  When the state loses the bludgeon in a feudalistic or totalitarian state (violence), they must implement another form of control over the masses.  The fear is that if the voices of the people can be heard, it may make the people so curious and so arrogant that they don’t have the humility to submit to civil rule.  Therefore, you must control what people think and the best way to do this is, in more honest terms, through propaganda.  In the western world, propaganda is distributed through educational institutions, social and mainstream media.

The Trucker’s Convoy was a perfect example of the people’s voices getting loud enough to hear.  Those that had been stuck in their houses under lockdowns, those being forced to have a medical procedure done or have their rights stripped from them, finally had a vehicle to be heard.  As the trucks pulled through small towns across this country, thousands of people came out to wave and cheer them on.  Many became curious and realized they were not alone.  They became emboldened and refused to comply with the ‘new civil rules’ which had been forced upon them over the past two years.  This caused the political class, the intelligencia to become fearful that they were losing control of the people and so the Government under Justin Trudeau implemented the Emergencies Act.  The Emergencies Act was a way of asserting control and shutting down the voices of the people.  The complicit ‘main stream’ or ‘elite’ media fabricated and manipulated what was happening in Ottawa over the course of the protest.  They used inflammatory and derogatory language, ignored the thousands of hours of livestreams on social media which told a very different story.  The fact that crime plummeted in the Capitol, homeless were fed and cared for and those businesses who were willing to stay open made record profits from the supportive truckers…weren’t even mentioned. 

It is the creation of necessary illusions reducing the general public to apathy or marginalizing them from common discourse.  80% of people are considered the ‘general population’, these are the ignorant workers whose main function is to follow orders.  You have to ask yourself who is in a position to make policy in this condescending way?  That would be the lobbyists – Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), corporations, Not-For-Profit Organizations (NFPs), and others who are often referred to as elites.  These are the money players with financial interests in what happens in our society.

So if 80% of the population are the working class/general public, who are the other 20%?  They are the ‘political class’, the educated, information workers that must be convinced of the necessity of the policies these lobbyist/elites want.  Convince them, and they will, through accepted social norms, convince the general population – who, incidentally are usually the ones who wind up paying for it. 

Although lacking in considerable self-awareness, the CBC put out a decent documentary expressing how the media has been instrumental in dividing the population into different ‘camps’.  In this CBC Gem Presentation, they show how several journalists have left what Chomsky refers to as the “elite media” to pursue a more honest, independent distribution model.  Being forced to sensationalize divisions and highlight the worst in public behaviour, just couldn’t be stomached by these journalists any longer.

Much has been written and there have been several excellent documentaries highlighting the siloing of people through social media platforms.  It’s been shown that by liking, sharing and engaging with certain types of information, the platform algorithms will give you more of the same.  The result is that people form polarized views and can’t understand the other side of an argument, simply because they never see any differing opinions.  What has happened is that people are operating from completely different sets of information which leads them to believe that there is only one correct conclusion.  The saddest part of this was eloquently expressed by Dr. Jordan B. Peterson in his video entitled ‘A Wing and a Prayer’.  Each ‘side’, which has been created over time, believes the other ‘side’ is out to get them.  This misunderstanding and paranoia must stop and we must get back to what we have in common. 

Classical Liberal Ideals Have Made Us Great

The Classical Liberal tenants of freedom of expression, sovereignty of the individual, free movement, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free market and laissez-faire economics; civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on limited government, economic freedom, and political freedom, are what have made our western society the envy of the world.  Because of these ideals, more people have been lifted out of poverty and oppression than ever before. 

The biggest problem with Critical Race Theory, cancel culture, censorship, manipulation of information, etc… is that they rob us of our ability to speak freely and that, in turn, prevents us from being able to think.  If we cannot speak, we cannot think and if we cannot think we cannot progress our selves and our society. 

Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”

~ Lao Tzu

The damage being done to our society through the politicization of speech and language will have severe consequences, both in the short and long term.  Do we control our character and our destiny if we do not control our words? Our thoughts?

Loosing Our Humanity

Andy Brooke gave me an example of the de-humanizing language in a perpetrator’s statement.  He told me a story about someone who had murdered a six-month old baby.  The statement included the last few hours of the child’s life.  The perpetrator stated that they had fed ‘him’, then gave ‘it’ a bath and put ‘it’ to bed.  As soon as the child stopped being a him and became an it – they knew when the child had been killed.  Mr. Brooke said “As soon as the child was depersonalized and became an ‘it’ instead of ‘him’, we knew the child was dead.”

Could it be that gender pronouns, compelled speech, forbidding the use of ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’ in favour of ‘Parent 1” and “Parent 2”, the categorisation of people based on race, religious affiliation etc… are having the same effect on our society? 

Humans need touch and personal interaction to survive and thrive – this has been proven again and again.  Yet, there is a push toward a ‘Metaverse’, where some believe our online relationships will become more important than in person.  In Ayn Rand’s work “Anthem” the main character learns the importance of the simple statement “I AM”. 

The language that is being used for political reasons is changing our society and not for the better.  It is de-humanizing us, dividing us, and isolating us.  The question remains, is this being done on purpose for some kind of political agenda?  William Shakespeare wrote “The truth will out”, meaning that the truth will become public eventually, but will it be too late by the time it does?

What YOU Can Do Now:

1) Be curious, find information and decide for yourself what the truth is. Call your political representatives and ask questions,

2) Get involved with groups of like-minded people. Put pressure on corporations, politicians at every level and the bureaucracy if you don’t agree with what they are doing – there is strength in numbers,

3) Build those in-person relationships and give someone you care about a hug,

4) And, as always – support independent media, like Diverge Media, who bring you real information you can use to make-up your own mind.