The Arrogance of Might, Newspeak and Spin

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Democracy is founded on there being an ongoing dialogue between the people and the elected representatives and the latter remaining in power solely on the mandate of the people.

One element of the arrogance of power is the phenomenon of Newspeak. The term was coined by George Orwell in his novel 1984. Newspeak is the kind of language that blurs the actual meaning of words. Newspeak makes it possible to spread a layer of linguistic cosmetics over political messages so no-one notices what is really being said. One such example is a term like "zero growth"; it sounds pretty harmless but it means "stagnation", which is something bad.

Another example is much simpler, namely just ignoring the facts and instead saying what one wants people to hear.

To help with this Newspeak, it has become popular among politicians to hire spin doctors. As the issues that politicians must consider become more complex and more difficult to explain and relate to, it is only natural that top politicians have personal advisers and help from experts. Personal advisers, and also media advisers, have always existed and they are not a problem in themselves. However, the spin doctors' role often seems unclear, and they begin to constitute a problem at the moment that they actually begin to make policy and are not just advisers to the elected representatives.

Finally, spin doctors are a problem in relation to the dialogue between the voters and elected representatives; a real conversation is hindered when one side mainly expresses itself with help from intermediaries, especially when the intermediaries are employed to reformulate most of it in Newspeak.

Perhaps we as voters should consider whether politicians who make use of spin doctors are competent enough to perform their tasks?

Next chapter: Politics Turned into Legalities and Economic Considerations