So, the Trump Administration has banned the use of certain words by the nation’s Centers for Disease Control. We’re not talkin’ George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words here. All the same, the list does begin the anti-abortion movement’s “F” word: “fetus.” It rolls on from there to bury “vulnerable,” “transgender,” and “diversity,” along with the phrases “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
How are scientists and medical researchers supposed to do their jobs if they can’t use such words? After all, it’s a fact that fetuses exist, and that some of them develop into babies who later become transgender people. It’s a fact that transgender people are vulnerable to attack by blockheads who refuse to recognize their full humanity. It’s also true that blockheads are, regrettably, part of the diversity of humanity.
Evidence shows that they represent that portion of people who are vulnerable to propaganda that persuades them to vote for a fascist strongman who then hands over their interests to a rapacious business elite while distracting the masses with tethered scapegoats. It happened in Italy in the 1920s, in Germany in the 1930s, in Russia in 2000, and it happened here in the United States in 2016.
Once in power, fascists always seek to dominate the media and stamp out free expression. To be sure, this is as true of fascists of the left as it is of the right, but the most exalted office that any censor on the left holds in the U.S. is that of college president. Even the most egregious of these has only local effects.
The Trump Administration, by contrast, is bent on subjecting science to lexical genocide. Who’s going to stop them?
First, they came for the EPA, and I did not speak out, because I am not a climate scientist. Then, they came for the USDA. And I did not speak out, because I am not a farmer. Now, they’ve come for the medical researchers, but, hey. What can I do? I’m no doctor.
Well, I can at least pass on this advice: take a tip from Monty Python. In a classic sketch, the British comedy troupe invites us to imagine that Adolph Hitler and his top aides Joachim von Ribbentrop and Heinrich Himmler took refuge after World War II not in Argentina, as some suppose, but in rural England.
There, they manage to evade detection through a subtle alteration of their names. Thus, as the sketch unfolds, Mr. Hilter is intent on running for Parliament in the Minehead district, with the help of his friends Ron Vibbentrop and Heinrich Bimmler. A worrisome aspect of Hilter’s platform is his plan for Boncentration Bamps. You gotta see it.
Meantime, here is my Monty Python list of words for government scientists to freely use:
- Clibate change (Sounds like you have a cold.)
- Transslender (Ooh, have you lost weight?)
- Fleetus (Come, your word is safe with us.)
- Venerable (The least powerful among us deserve honor, too.)
- Diverstity (Not sure you can say it on TV, but it should fly in print.)
- Elegance-Based (Sounds too tempting to overlook.)
And last but most important of all...
- Silence-Based (to remind us that we’re fighting against government censorship of science.)
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