Political Language, Brought to You by Corporate America

By and large, language is a tool to conceal the truth – George Carlin



The amplified political hyperbole that is increasing as the end of the political season winds its way towards the November elections leaves little to the imagination and with hardly any substance for critical thinking.  This art form, that has been mastered by the Republicans for the last three decades, has taught Democrats that they too must incorporate emotional language and over-the-top rhetoric to persuade voters to choose a side.

The claims by extremes on both sides of the political divide that generate bitter feelings become verbal daggers that injure and rupture the civil dialogue that struggles to get some footing in a conversation that should be helping us move forward as a nation in the 21st century.   But who and what motivates this form of communication, to what extent and to what end?

George Carlin sums it up pretty well


Carlin makes two cogent points that all of us need to assimilate into our thinking as we decide how we will vote later this year.

  1. “Politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice.  You don’t”
  2. What the “real owners” of this country (wealthy, corporate special interests) don’t want is “a population of citizens capable of critical thinking …”

Both political Parties appeal to the average American but both have too many deep ties to wealthy special interests.  Yet one more than the other has gone out of its way to serve this wealthy special interests above and beyond what seems sane.  Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows this comment is aimed at the GOP, the Party that’s lost their traditional ties with the values and ideas of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and climbed on board the gravy train of the Koch Brothers, Goldman-Sachs, Rupert Murdoch, Exxon-Mobil and Richard Mellon Scaife.  Men and financial institutions who serve their profits and investors over the needs of a public left to fend for themselves when economic hard times hit us.  These are the people who foster the notion that “trickle down” economics really works and who put their vast wealth behind people and organizations who aid them in spreading this message.

Be very cautious then of those who use language that unflinchingly supports corporate special interests in the guise of being “free market” champions while denouncing government as an evil that needs to be shrunk to a size that can be drowned in a bath tub.  Claims by some of an out of control government are more likely to be fostered by those who would create a smoke screen to avert attention from those who themselves benefit greatly from government largess, such as the oil, coal and natural gas industries and many top financial institutions.

Honest application of free market principles along with reasonable restraints and some government oversight is the best combination to ensure greed will be kept in check and opportunity limited only by the people’s lack of energy and drive.  For those who would praise the business model as one by which we should all be governed, keep in mind that besides the fact that many businesses fail, such models do not seek to create a broad consensus but one that benefits and enhances the fortunes of just a few –  their owners and their investors.  Consumers only have a voice after the fact when enough of them come together as a force to prevent corporations from practices detrimental to their health and well-being, making the business model a reactive one rather than a proactive force.


Our Constitution does not, contrary to fanatical points of view, countenance unrestrained free markets, nor did the father of capitalism, Adam Smith.  There is no guiding “invisible hand” of the markets that can constrain the insatiable greed of those who monopolize our natural resources and the elected officials who do their bidding.

It is true that capitalistic doctrines do not guarantee that all of us will share wealth equally but it does hold that when the rules are applied honestly and within a reasonable competitive framework, there will be equality of opportunity for all who strive to earn a measure of wealth that sustains them and their family.

Many of those who claim to want to “take our country back” have made a pact with the self-serving interests of Ayn Rand-style, laissez-faire free marketers such as the astro-turf front groups Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works that are heavily funded by Koch Industries.  They have allowed themselves to be enticed to relive an era that may have been simpler in so many ways but forget that it was a time when women  were considered second class citizens, blacks were still in bondage almost exclusively and only white, male property owners could vote.  They use the Constitution as a bludgeon to beat down those people who would argue that it is a living document.  Not as something that was etched in granite, but intended to “form a more perfect union” over time, implying that as the dynamics of our economy and culture changed, the flexibility of the law would adapt to the necessary changes to move forward in the future.

When you’re finished changing, you’re finished – Ben Franklin


The Constitution of the U.S. is worded in a broad defining language so as not to inhibit our future growth.  To presume that what it doesn’t specifically say can be interpreted as a statement that disallows a rationale look at issues unforeseen by the men of that time is to imply that the framers were troglodytes rather than the Renaissance men of vision they were  All of us need to be on alert from being lulled into an anti-government state of mind by people who promote the self-interest of a few over the general welfare of all people.


8 responses to “Political Language, Brought to You by Corporate America

  1. Greed is one of the worst human traits and government serves us well by restraining it. The people who want to shrink government only want to shrink the parts that help others who are less fortunate. They’re fine with government that protects their investments and their money. The corporations are people fallacy will destroy us all. This election cycle is proof that government – the other kind of government – is only affordable by the very rich and powerful. Did our founders really mean for that to happen? I doubt it.

    • “They’re fine with government that protects their investments and their money.”

      It should strike every thinking person as odd that the right is fixated on how taxes are “wasted” on social programs that keep people out of poverty while the corporate welfare that far exceeds that which helps the elderly, the poor and children gets little attention from so-called “patriots”.

  2. Larry, I do not think that there are that many ‘thinking Americans’ anymore….I am taklinmg bout both sides of that political aisle that we aslways hear about….someone explain to me…..that we whack $240+ million from food stampos but yet we are willing to pay Afghanistan $2.5 billion a year after we leave…..there is NO one that can make me believe that it is in the country’s best interest…

    • “Larry, I do not think that there are that many ‘thinking Americans’ anymore”

      Maybe Dr. Chuq but I think it may be more a factor of lost trust in the institutions that gave us common purpose and overcame the excesses of the powerful and wealthy individuals. Radical views are always pervasive in times of uncertainty and as we change from a 20th century economy into something different, the old methods are not working. The leadership in this country is failing us and most of them are riding with the monied interests that is short term, rather than working for change that will rebuild us as a collective whole in the future.

  3. Very well stated, Lb, I couldn’t agree more. It terrifies and infuriates me to hear conservatives, and now too often liberals, falling for the incendiary hyperbolic rhetoric so clearly intended to foster blind panic and discourage rational thinking. Another thing tea partiers and others longing for a return to the “golden age” always conveniently forget is that the tax rates for folks like the brothers Koch would have been in the 80%-90% range. It is disingenuous and/or naive to insist that some sort of unregulated free-market nirvana even existed back then, let alone that it was the progenitor of a healthy middle class. Corporations are not in the business of promoting the general welfare or the pursuit of life, liberty or happiness. There is no profit in that.

    • “Another thing tea partiers and others longing for a return to the “golden age” always conveniently forget is that the tax rates for folks like the brothers Koch would have been in the 80%-90% range”

      Great point Cerridwen that I had forgotten. Thanks. It’s amazing too that even with those high tax rates for the rich we still prospered as a nation and the middle glass grew tremendously.

  4. Carlin was more believable because he was one of us and spoke frankly, not mincing words. I play this Carlin segment several times a year just to help me keep perspective Hans.

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