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Ruling by might

Published:Saturday | December 15, 2012 | 12:00 AM


The whole political atmosphere can be considered a game, if looked at in a euphemistic manner. For one, the game of global politics is that the mighty play to hold their influence over the weak nations and the global affairs of the world to seek a writ that 'might is right'.

As George Orwell pointed out in 'Politics and the English Language', an essay written in 1946 but often cited during the wars in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Iraq, "Political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. ... Thus, political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness."

Orwell's warning that clutter is not just a nuisance but a deadly tool came true in recent decades of American military adventurism. It was during George W. Bush's presidency that "civilian casualties" in Iraq became "collateral damage".

going against party line

Another example can be seen in England, where three Treasury ministers, including the chancellor of the exchequer, resigned from Harold MacMillan's government in 1958. MacMillan described the crisis as "a little local difficulty". Then, when David Davis resigned to fight a by-election on the issue of 42-day detention, tearing asunder the shadow Cabinet and going against the party line, David Cameron described the decision as "brave and courageous".

This is why, to many, the game of politics can be seen as very frustrating. It is part of politics to make things look better than they really are. And these politicians use euphemisms to justify their actions simply to other people, or to themselves as well.

But it's not that they are fooling many of the persons out there, but it's quite evident that there are a lot of gullible persons who believe everything that comes out of the mouths of these politicians.


Russell Heights