Saturday, December 16, 2017

Forbidden Words

These are the words we must not say:

The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “fetus” and “transgender” — in official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.
Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

I curl up in a *banned word #5* position, because I feel *banned word #1.*

It's an Orwellian world (1984).  We only live in it.

The proposed alternatives to the banned words shed some light on the purpose of this, though banning "evidence-based" and "science-based" in the context of actual writing about science and evidence might also hint at the real reason:

Instead of “science-based” or ­“evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered.
 The banned words are selected based on the kinds of things Trump voters are assumed to detest:  Education, science, people of other races or from other ethnic groups, people who don't easily fit into Biblical sex categories, people who refuse to call a developing fetus a baby. 

The things Trump voters are assumed to like are what the "community standards and wishes" refers to.  If a particular community doesn't believe in global climate change, then the scientific reports on global climate change should take that into account, should weigh scientific evidence against the disapproval of such evidence by some, and then do — what?

It's as if the Trump administration plans to use government censorship to erase aspects of the world they'd rather didn't exist.  This seems linked to the recent survey by the department of Health and Human Services (HHS),  where questions about sexual preference and gender identity were omitted:

In March, for example, HHS dropped questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in two surveys of elderly people.
HHS has also removed information about LGBT Americans from its website. The department’s Administration for Children and Families, for example, archived a page that outlined federal services that are available for LGBT people and their families, including how they can adopt and receive help if they are the victims of sex trafficking.
Erasure by silence!  Silence by censorship!  It doesn't work.