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Assault on Language precedes Assault on Liberties and Identity
by peptide Wednesday, Jan 24 2007, 12:46pm
international / human rights / commentary

Effective attacks on cultural consciousness necessarily include attacks on language. These assaults are both overt and covert. The absurd new stock exchange expression, “profit taking”, which displaced the accurate and sensible word, “selling”, was implemented to eliminate negative connotations associated with the word “selling” in a stock exchange context. However, the replacement term “profit taking” is intentionally deceptive as it is obvious that selling is not always associated with profit taking; many divestments incur huge losses. It is revealing that the appropriate regulatory authorities have not challenged the widespread use of the new misleading (replacement) expression. The covert introduction of the less volatile phrase in the world of stock market trading reflects the deceptive and secretive machinations and manipulations of international finance.

John Howard -- the least likely!
John Howard -- the least likely!

Renowned racist and xenophobic, John Howard, recently renamed an Australian Ministerial Department from the “Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs” to the “Department of Immigration and Citizenship”! It would seem that John Howard is pursuing an ultra-conservative agenda by attempting to narrow the range of defining characteristics that would identify what it is to be ‘Australian’. [It should not be forgotten that historically the Australian identity has proven to be the most elusive of all national identities.] Howard has seized upon the proven method of manipulating cultural consciousness by attacking language. The following statement by Howard is noteworthy for its ambiguity: “The premium must be upon, the emphasis must be upon, the dominant consideration, must be the integration of people into the Australian family”. Without qualifying definitions this statement would only 'indicate something other than what it is meant to suggest' -- the scope for future abuse is enormous.

Howard’s explanation, while addressing issues of ‘dominant culture’, does not adequately define the characteristics of the elusive Australian identity. Howard is fully aware that the racial and ethnic composition of present day Australia reflects a huge ethnic and cultural diversity. The previously dominant Anglo group now constitutes less than fifty percent of the population, for example, Melbourne is known as one of the largest ‘Greek cities’ in the world! Half the Australian population is of non-Anglo background, a fact that does not escape Howard’s advisers. What possible advantage would the community derive from Howard’s re-naming strategy or who is it that actually stands to benefit from this strategy?

In view of the fact that John Howard is responsible for destroying more traditional values than any other person in Australian history it would be safe to assume that values are not the criteria determining the Australian identity. Consider the intentional deception of the first example (stock exchange) and Howard’s action begins to make sense. Howard’s actions cannot hope to target real values or ethnic diversity, however, he is able to opportunistically target minorities and exploit negative human characteristics while simultaneously capturing/manipulating present and future content on the mass media.

Howard excels in diversionary and distracting tactics. As distasteful as these tactics appear to citizens they are ‘stock-in-trade’ for politicians. ‘The world belongs to those who are able to take it and sheep are fit for slaughter’, becomes the ‘new’ ideology. The clarity and practicality of the ‘new’ pragmatism subsumes all religions, left-right politics and various other failed worldviews. A fitting response to humanists and social philosophers alike is; I am my brother’s keeper, it is not my concern if my brother prefers slavery to the uncertainty of freedom.

To what do we attribute Howard’s apparent immunity to war crimes allegations? Who recalls the last instance the media made such allegations?

Should we be expected to follow laws that only apply to the feeble minded and weak?

What is good for you is even better for me!


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