A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the “new normal” that we are being conditioned to accept, and pointed out that each crisis brings with it new words, repeated again and again by those in government and media in an effort to frame the narrative around the entire experience.
The words we use matter—they mean things—and it’s important that we are aware of the way words are used to influence us. After all, those who choose the “new” words are most certainly aware of their effect.
I’ve noticed something in nearly every single article I read and news story I watch that relates in any way to the events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. I suspect that you’ve either noticed it also, or as soon as you read it here you will immediately recognize that you find it to be the case as well.
An article in Bloomberg opens by introducing us to the Michigan Maple Block Co., a family-owned company which “boasts of having invented the laminated butcher block [whose] products grace the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.” Pretty cool, right? But the article continues, “And yet by early July it will be shutting its Petoskey factory and cutting loose all 56 workers at one of the few year-round businesses in the Lake Michigan tourist town.” Oh man. Not cool.
And then, the line I’ve now come to expect: “The economic carnage caused by the coronavirus outbreak has torn through Michigan Maple’s already slim profit margins and made it impossible to continue as a viable business.” The president of the company goes on to say that, “My family has operated Michigan Maple Block through many adverse economic time periods including two world wars, the Great Depression, and multiple recessions. I am saddened that the mounting challenges the business faces today have compelled us to close the company.”
Read that line again: The economic carnage caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
How many times is this verbiage used to explain the devastating and life-altering effects of the government lockdown of the economy? Even those suffering the very effects of it aren’t comfortable calling it what it is.
COVID-19 didn’t cause the Michigan Maple Block Co. to shutter its factory. COVID-19 isn’t somehow a more devastating foe than WWI, WWII, and the Great Depression! No—the government’s one-size-fits-all, heavy-handed approach to centrally planning the response to a virus is what drove the final nail into the coffin of the Michigan Maple Block Co.
The words used to tell us stories are not just thrown together willy-nilly. They are carefully selected. They are thoughtfully chosen.
This would be more accurate: “The economic carnage caused by the government shutdown has torn through Michigan Maple’s already slim profit margins and made it impossible to continue as a viable business.” It’s a more accurate phrasing than what was used—so why blame the folding of this company on the boogeyman “COVID-19?”
I believe—in fact, I am certain—that it is because our minds are being directed toward a “common enemy” in the shape of a scary virus that has caused illness and uncertainty and, yes, even death, on a global scale. We are being purposefully conditioned to blame all the destruction of lives and irreparable damage to business and personal wealth as being “caused by COVID-19” before we can reason through what is happening and decide for ourselves where the blame (and accountability) should really lie.
This word-manipulation is a classic tool used by government propagandists. I talk about it in my book Feardom. In order for governments to control the narrative, they have to control the words we use, and thus the thoughts we formulate. And so far, they’ve done a really great job at it. I challenge you to read the news with an eye for where you are being directed to place the blame for whatever bad thing has happened—you’ll find that it is rarely where it belongs.
The Tuttle Twins and the Fate of the Future helps kids learn the important lesson that even governments founded on the noble principles of freedom, individual rights, liberty, and accountability to the people, often tend to become more authoritarian as time goes on. An analogy is given where the people give government power to protect them from harm, but government often ends up becoming predatory instead of protective.
We are witnessing a lot of this now with some governors wildly abusing even the most liberal interpretations of their power, and the people who “consented” to be governed by them finding themselves powerless to fight their predatory edicts. This article from all the way back in March (which seems like it was two years ago) gives a scathing rundown of totalitarian policies enacted by governors across the country.
Things certainly haven’t gotten any better since then.
And maybe that’s the overarching lesson in all of this—we’ve seen what carnage power-hungry central planners in government are capable of causing, we’ve seen the masterful way they attempt to manipulate us into blaming anyone or anything but them, and we know that once they establish policies that limit the very freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution they’re sworn to defend, we are hard-pressed to get them back.
There’s no quick fix to set any of this right, but there are small things we can do each day that will get us moving in the right direction.
We can remember that words matter, and we can choose ours carefully. We can point out to our children and to others the predatory nature of people meant to be acting as protectors, and we can remember the importance of protecting and defending our individual rights—and those of our neighbors—to live and to prosper and to pursue happiness free from government persecution.
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