Let’s get these words into print right at the top here while we still have the chance. Once the government starts banning language, there’s no telling when the banning will stop.
“Vulnerable.” “Entitlement.” “Diversity.” “Transgender.” “Fetus.” “Evidence-based.” “Science-based.”
Did you hear about this? The Trump Administration has told officials at the CDC (the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that these seven words and phrases must NOT — repeat NOT — be mentioned in the agency’s 2018 budget request.
The word-banning isn’t stopping there. “Affordable Care Act” and “ACA” were banned at a second federal health agency, whose employees were told to always say “Obamacare”—presumably with a sneer. And the State Department got an even creepier directive. No more “sex education” programs abroad. Now it’s “sexual risk avoidance,” a tortured euphemism for the “abstinence-only” programs that have long been discredited by “evidence-based” and “science-based” studies.
Oops. Sorry about that.
There is, of course, a word for this kind of censorship and thought control, a word that, thankfully, has not been banned yet. The word is “dumb.”
For one thing, it’s counterproductive. Whenever people are told not to say something, it only makes them want to say it louder. Just ask any 3-year-old who knows about “poo-poo.”
At the same time, all this word banning isn’t just ignorant. It can cost lives. Do we really want America’s public-health docs to move away from “evidence-based” and “science-based” cures? What would be better? Leeches? Faith-healing? More trips to the Trump International day spa?
None of this should come as a surprise, I suppose. Donald Trump’s national security advisers have learned to avoid mentioning Russia around the president. Otherwise, the Washington Post reports, the daily intel briefings go totally “off the rails.”
They should probably also avoid Mueller, Flynn, Manafort, Gates and Papadopoulos — the special counsel and the first batch of Trump aides to plead guilty or be indicted in the Russia probe.
Oh, and one other word is best avoided. I won’t even write it here, but you’ll be hearing more of it. It starts with an I.
Metro columnist Ellis Henican is the best-selling author of a dozen books, including “TRUMPITUDE: The Secret Confessions of Donald’s Brain.” Follow him on Twitter @henican.