Source – internationalman.com
- “…Words shape thoughts, and thoughts shape beliefs. That was a major theme in Orwell’s book 1984. The government consistently changed the meaning of words, labeling some as “bad think” or “thought crime.” 1984 is the ultimate evolution of cancel culture, PC, wokeism, and the like”
Doug Casey on Propaganda, Changing Language, and Thought Crimes
by Doug Casey
International Man: Recently, the Biden administration tried to change the traditional definition of a recession which is “two consecutive quarters of decline in a country’s GDP.”
The new definition of a recession is more vague and is “a significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and lasts more than a few months.”
What’s your take on this?
Doug Casey: Odd. It sounds like the definition of a depression, not a recession that I’ve used for years.
Words shape thoughts, and thoughts shape beliefs. That was a major theme in Orwell’s book 1984. The government consistently changed the meaning of words, labeling some as “bad think” or “thought crime.” 1984 is the ultimate evolution of cancel culture, PC, wokeism, and the like.
It’s critical that words be defined and used precisely. If definitions are nebulous and can be changed at will, it becomes hard to communicate. The closer we come to redefining “blue” as “red,” or “war” as “peace,” or “recession” as “prosperity,” the closer we come to literally not knowing what we’re talking about.
Politicos don’t like the word “recession.” You may recall when Alfred Kahn, Jimmy Carter’s chief economic advisor, joked he’d rename a recession a “banana” because the word wouldn’t scare people so much. During the last depression, Roosevelt said that “All we have to fear is fear itself.” But that was totally untrue. What the country really had to fear was his destructive policies.
As for the definition of a recession, their previous “two-quarters of decline in GDP” was arbitrary—but at least it allowed everyone who juggled economic numbers to use a meaningful shorthand. Though frankly, who can even be sure what the GDP even is with trillions of new fiat dollars injected into the economy? And the value of the currency fluctuating wildly against everything?
Even by the government’s own inaccurate figures, the currency is losing value at nearly 10% per year. It’s hard for even an honest observer to put his finger on what a recession is when a currency is dropping radically by an indeterminate amount.
Who can trust any of the stats that the government comes up with these days? For instance, how many of the millions employed directly by the State, and millions more indirectly as contractors, are doing something truly productive, something that’s actually needed and wanted?
Many of them are just pointlessly digging ditches during the day and filling those ditches up at night.
Their costs and income are credited to GDP, but their product is economically marginal or worthless. In fact, creating regulations and shuffling paper, their main “product,” often creates negative value. Actually, digging ditches and then filling them up might at least be neutral.
Let’s forget about a recession. We’re in the early stages of a severe depression. I define that as a period of time when most people’s standard of living drops substantially.
International Man: The roll-out of the COVID vaccine has led to the CDC changing its definition of a vaccine—eliminating the point about it “producing immunity from a specific disease.”
The new definition states that a vaccine is “a preparation that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases.”
What are the implications of something like this?
Doug Casey: Everybody has to favor Edward Jenner’s invention of a smallpox vaccine 200 years ago.
It was a major medical breakthrough.
I am not anti-vaccine, but the fact is that children are now given 65 or 70 vaccines before they’re six years old. Many of them are given in batches. Apart from the fact that many or most of these vaccines may not be efficacious or necessary. There’s always risk with injections; putting that many foreign substances in young kids’ bodies that quickly is unlikely to be a good idea. It may take decades to tell what the effects may be.
Controversy correctly surrounds conditions like autism. These things ought to be investigated, not automatically dismissed as hysteria. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of vaccines today are unnecessary.
Good nutrition, cleanliness, and a general high standard of living—not widespread inoculations—have eliminated most causes of disease. The current mania to vaccinate everybody for everything is unnecessary and probably dangerous. Perhaps very dangerous.
There’s a moral dimension to this too.
The fact is, your primary possession is your body. If you can’t control your own body, you don’t control anything. Anything a person does with his body is their own decision. That includes taking drugs and vaccines—another word where the definition has recently been changed.
From a moral point of view, anybody should have the right to take any drug: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD, or a thousand others that are illegal. It’s rather odd that you’re totally prohibited under penalty of long-term imprisonment or death to take some drugs and at the same time forced to take others. In medicine, the Hippocratic Oath is being replaced by the Statist rule “Anything that’s not mandatory is prohibited.” It’s a huge moral violation. Borderline insane, actually.
A vaccine, if it works, should be there to safeguard you and your health. If you’re afraid of catching some disease—smallpox, polio, the flu, or hundreds of others—it’s your business how you want to balance the risk of taking a vaccine against the risk of getting the disease.
International Man: From its founding in 1828, Webster’s Dictionary has always defined inflation as an increase in the money supply. Then in 2003, it changed the definition to mean a rise in the general price level.
Today, most are unaware of the traditional definition of inflation.
What is going on here?
Doug Casey: Definitions of words are absolutely critical because if we don’t understand precisely and exactly what words mean, we cannot communicate with each other.
Changing definitions subtly and over time can only lead to a lack of understanding and confusion. What amounts to enforced stupidity.
Economics, the study of how the world of human action works, has turned into a pseudo-religion, and Ph.D. economists been have turned into a priesthood. People have come to believe these secular priests are needed to interpret statistics—most of which are unreliable—and formulate policies, most of which are unrealistic at best. Garbage in, garbage out, GIGO. From the night watchman who writes down whatever he wants in order to report something to the computer programmed this way or that way with abstruse academic notions.
The fact of the matter is that everybody should be an economist, not just a designated priesthood that have received an arcane and largely irrelevant education focused on mathematics with little to do with how the world actually works. It’s important to understand how people go about producing, consuming, and trading with each other.
One of the most misunderstood words in economics is “inflation,” which, as you pointed out, used to mean something very different than it does today.
Misdefining inflation confuses cause and effect. That’s devastating to clear thinking in any area of interpreting reality.
So what is inflation? Inflation is a verb, not a noun. In brief, it’s an increase of purchasing media, which lessens its value. In today’s world, dominated by central banks, it’s the active debasement of the value of a currency.
Anybody should be able to understand most of what they need to know about economics simply by asking questions and demanding precise answers. But that’s impossible when words can mean anything or nothing.
International Man: Currently, the EU is attempting to change the definition of “green energy” to help serve their interests.
With a full-blown energy crisis in Europe looming, the EU is set to reverse its stance on natural gas and anoint it as “green.”
What is your take on this?
Doug Casey: Everyone wants clean water and clean air. That makes sense. But what started out as a simple desire to avoid corruption of one’s environment has, like economics, developed into a religion. Its main denomination is Greenism. Their path to salvation is guided by laws and regulations, which are not only costly but arbitrarily interpreted and applied by bureaucracies.
In a free market world, if somebody corrupts your water or air, the matter would wind up as a tort suit before an arbitration agency. That would dispense with the gigantic and counterproductive superstructure that we have today. Being against pollution has evolved into a war against the periodic table.
Sulfur was considered a demon element, then uranium, then lead was the enemy. Then coal. From there, the jihad moved to more obscure things like cadmium and arsenic. Then plastics became the enemy, then petroleum. Then, as you pointed out, natural gas became the new naughty compound. Even though, perversely, it has “natural” in its name. Trying to dispense with coal, uranium, petroleum, and natural gas is tantamount to destroying civilization.
Greens, especially in Europe, have found themselves in a self-created crisis. At the moment, they’re looking to reform the reputation of natural gas because they don’t want to freeze in the dark.
I’m all for natural gas. It’s a simple and very clean fuel; it’s primarily methane. There are a few problems with methane, the chemical symbol CH4. But there are problems with absolutely everything. The solution lies with economics—trading risk for reward—and property rights. Not passing laws and regulations. Why not? I recall one interviewer very successfully asking members of the public to sign a petition banning dihydrogen oxide because it was causing scores of thousands of deaths per year. They had no idea it’s also known as water.
But back to natural gas. Weight-wise, it’s mostly carbon, the current enemy element, supposed to cause global warming. Methane is said to be 50 times more inducive to global warming than carbon dioxide. It’s a hugely overrated hysteria.
When you drill for natural gas, some winds up being released into the atmosphere at the wellhead and more is released through unsightly and dangerous pipelines, which lead to large and dangerous storage and processing facilities. Natural gas is a fossil fuel like oil. In the US, most is generated through fracking, which is another no-no.
The Greens view natural gas as a stop-gap, an improvement over evil petroleum. But the ultimate solution in the back of these people’s minds is to reduce the population so that less of Gaia’s natural resources are used.
That’s their ultimate solution to the non-problem of global warming—less energy, less power, and a lot less people. Human sacrifice is a tenet of the Green religion. If conversion to the dogma becomes too widespread, it will result in the collapse of civilization. But not to worry. This civilization will be replaced by… something.
International Man: What will happen to people who commit so-called “thought crimes” and don’t go along with the government and media’s new definition of words?
Doug Casey: We’re reverting to acting like primitive people with taboos like South Pacific natives who dare not say certain words because it will bring down the wrath of the gods. Primitive? In Europe and the US, you still can’t discuss COVID skeptically without risk. How many people actually get sick with it? How serious is it? How many people die from it? Exactly why do they die? Exactly what are its origins? And what cures are there other than the vaccine? What are the dangers of the vaccine itself?
These things are basically not allowed to be discussed in the public media or even scientific forums. If you do, and if you’re a medical professional, you risk losing your license, your livelihood, and being ostracized as a “conspiracy theorist.”
The same is true of discussing global warming. It’s insane. Not long ago, the safest and most innocuous subject of conversation was the weather. Not now.
Neither can you discuss the differences between races. Human races are the equivalent of breeds of dogs. Rottweilers are protective, border collies are smart, and labs are friendly. With humans, I’ll generally want West Africans on my track team, Icelanders on my weight lifting team, and Jews on my chess team. But you’re not allowed to say that. I say to hell with these self-appointed censors.
Opinions on these things have turned into religious heresies. If you say, or even think, something unorthodox that the priesthood doesn’t affirm, bad things can happen to you. It’s created a very toxic atmosphere. If you can’t discuss, explore, and debate what’s right and wrong, true and false, real or imaginary, the result is ignorance. And ignorance creates fear. And fear leads to violence.
The solution is totally free speech on everything and anything, including “hate speech.”
A big redeeming factor to “hate speech” is that only by allowing people to express themselves can you find out what’s really on somebody’s mind. It’s nice to know what kind of person you’re dealing with, rather than having to guess because everyone is afraid to talk. If you can’t broach touchy subjects, then you can’t be sure of the character and the nature of the person you’re dealing with.
Hate speech is prohibited, and now there’s mandatory “love speech” as well. It’s equally destructive.
For instance, talk about the military today must always make obeisance to its selfless devotion to the country. A cynical observer might say the military is just a heavily armed version of the Post Office. There are a myriad of reasons soldiers join up. But how often is the military just robotically serving the government as opposed to the country? The government and the country are two different things. Imprecise thinking combined with emotive words is very dangerous.
There’s a thesaurus of words for new concepts recently ginned up out of nothing, like ESG, which stands for environmental, social, and corporate governance. That and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) are used to psychologically and verbally sanitize the melding of business and government.
Leftists, progressives, and wokesters are succeeding in concretizing views that are not only inaccurate but, in some cases, purposefully misleading. It’s dangerous and destructive. We owe it to ourselves to challenge the misuse of words at every opportunity.
Editor’s Note: It’s clear there are some ominous social, political, cultural, and economic trends playing out right now. Many of which seem to point to an unfortunate decline of the West.