Episode 357 – Language is a Weapon

by | Jun 14, 2019 | Podcasts | 38 comments

“In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing” wrote George Orwell 70 years ago, and the observation remains true today. But bad writing is not just bad writing; the language employed by politicians (and their string pullers) can literally be a matter of life and death. Join James today on the podcast as he delves into the tyrants’ linguistic weapons and how we can arm ourselves against them.

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Politics and the English Language, by George Orwell (text)

Politics and the English Language, by George Orwell  (video)

Corbett Report Radio 186 – Politics and Language with Andrew Gavin Marshall

“Enemy Combatants” and drone killings

The Phoenix Program by Douglas Valentine

Interview 1248 – Douglas Valentine on the Resurrection of the Phoenix Program

The Tyranny of Words by Stuart Chase

Episode 350 – History Is Written By The Winners

The WWI Conspiracy

re:publica 2012 – Rick Falkvinge – Working swarm-wise

Swarmwise by Rick Falkvinge


  1. Without a doubt, week after week, The Corbett Report is the acid test producing the effect of gleaning the ever elusive shred of sincerity from the melting pot that is the mainstream media, selflessly undertaking the grueling task of deciphering its mostly sinister intentions, like traversing a hostile hotbed, a veritable inferno of newspeak, but which promises to be the Achilles’ heel of the global jackboot fascist society, so that the true individual triumphs at the end of the day. 😯 😉

  2. Thought provoking topic. One example that comes to mind of words being used as weapons is the live news coverage of Waco as events were unfolding there. The media repeatedly called the building where the Branch Davidians we’re living, a ‘compound’, rather than a home, a building, or some other word to describe it.

    • No worries, alexandre, I was actually going to comment on your post anyway and say, “great post!” Extremely important topic. I haven’t seen much written or podcasted on this topic. It would be a great one to explore more and see where else in the world these types of language changes are happening. Informally at least, here in the U.S. there is a lot of slang from music that gets used in the place of ‘real’ words. Then of course there are the broad/vague concepts used, like ‘environmental justice’, ‘sustainable communities’, etc. that we are supposed to feel good about but don’t quite understand what they entail.

    • Alexandre–VERY interesting and informative post. We can always use firsthand insight into what is happening in other countries and how other cultures are receiving and translating the Narrative. Keep posting, please. Thanks.

    • Manbearpig-

      Your mention of The Simplified Man reminded me of an article I saw somewhere, and this may be just tangentially related to your point, about how the increasing sophistication of airliners is having a negative effect on the hands-on flying skills of commercial pilots, which naturally atrophy as the planes practically fly themselves. A single example of the bigger picture, how by accident and also more importantly by design, our physical and intellectual skills are being eroded.

    • Speaking of music, Alexandre, I’ve put off far too long my wanting to express how impressed I was by your talent. Back in early May you left a great comment which prompted me to explore your website, eventually leading me to the excellent short film of Ayn Rand’s “The Simplest Thing in the World” in which you composed the suspenseful background music – Bravo!! I hope your work expands to great heights.

      I don’t mean to embarrass you by including the link here, but as I’m more inclined toward Ayn Rand’s philosophy than Neo-Platonism so pervasive in our world, the film’s message portraying the tragic reality of how fear suppresses one’s creative self meant a great deal to me:


    • It was new to me as well! Truly a great film and cautionary tale, so well made.

    • Alexandre, you have translated the visual to the audio. I knew you had something to say and I hope people would listen. Very beautiful music. Thank you. And you too Pearl.

    • Thanks for pointing that out, Ukdavec. I’ve added both the book and the interview to the show notes.

  3. The word is double edged… as is the Word.
    We can use words like sonar to test reality with echo or we can use them like a smoke to hide it…. the Word can either save people or condemn them when they allow their own desires to drop them into strong delusion so they destroy themselves.

    • “….Orwell used the term ‘doublethink’ for the use of words to serve self contradicting meanings….”
      Its been a long time since I read it but I believe doublethink was the act of holding an idea and believing it even when the subject KNOWS it to be false… this needed (if i recall…) and “endless series of victories over your own memory” the Words used mattered less then the ability to selectively edit your own memory and understanding to keep in line with official dictats of what reality was.
      and creepily it pretty much describes the ACTUAL state of many regular people today who really are so double minded that they can believe Iraq had WMD EVEN AFTER YOU SHOW THEM ITS NOT TRUE… new info leaks out of such peoples brains really quickly because its painful for them to think too much outside the group think

  4. Sadly the only reason false words have power is because people are too scared to see the world as it is. Thats why most people have never and will never be free to choose- they are scared to go against whatever they think most people think.
    Like CS Lewis said is screwtape raises a toast the great sinners and the great saints are made of similar material in that that can go against consensus opinion and behavior. It kinda reminds me of Mr Corbetts comment about how there will always be backdoors for criminal actions because those in power need them to do their own will. I guess that there will always be a rat, just a ‘stainless steel rat’ (lol fun books..) but the reduction of most humans to almost robotic levels of media programing is rather depressing

  5. I and my colleagues wrote much about language and critical thinking in an Encyclopedia of Critical Thinking, back in 2004.

    Critical Dialogue and Learning to suspend judgment

    People might find it interesting


    Learning to engage in learning conversations is an example of how to use language positively and critically.

    When asking people to define terms and asking oneself to do the same:

    1. Ask for examples of what a person means by what they say
    2. Ask for metaphors for clarification
    3. Ask yourself and others what they mean in light of what others mean

    These are only three ways to become sensitive to how one is using language and how others are using it.

    It is also called metacognition

    It is also a shield against manipulation by sophists and charlatans.

    Al this requires learning to suspend judgment, a difficult task indeed.

    • “…1. Ask for examples of what a person means by what they say…”
      If you dont say what you mean you cant mean what you say… and a gentleman ALWAYS means what he says.
      Your actually dead on though, most people struggle to define what they are actually saying, and as Corbett points out few are really going to say “Yeah… got kill THESE people wholesale so i can have cheep consumer goods”. Willful and educationally caused blindness are a curse on the modern world- olde tyme farmers could sit around and discuss the gold standard vs cheep silver money. People who complain about the jews or the illuminati dont see that really WE have become weak minded and easily swayed by pretty words

  6. Yes, well said. Language is thinking, thinking is language and sophistry is as old as at least Ancient Greece or older.

  7. Sherry
    Its sad to live at a time on the cusp of a dark age which, unless we have an uncharacteristic change in human behaviour we are at. However, even in a dark age some people keep the light of civilization alive. Their lives are just kinda dull as they miss out on the fun of doing more then copy and pass on a text that anyone but they care about. we COULD be at the edge of a great age of discovery and art and such but sadly human nature is…well..human nature 😉
    Wellonion… true, sophistry is old, I think that its just an outgrowth of people wishing to show off. On the other hand socrates IS kinda the father of technocracy if the ‘Republic’ is a guide to what he wanted. As I get older I more and more believe that our human weakness and inability to see our will worked in the world may be actually a GOOD thing… lol…. posting after beer makes me glum

  8. I am glad that Corbett covered “words” and their definitions, along with demonstrating how we can communicate ideas to others within the realm of their own reality.


    Generally speaking, I feel like knowing the definitions of words are vitally important.
    In fact, “The Powers That Should Not Be” often will warp the true definition of a word in order to manipulate folks.

    Learning hinges on knowing what the terms mean, on knowing the meanings of the words in the text.
    If schools would emphasize the use of a good dictionary, I believe that many kids would benefit.

    I think that one of the aspects which makes Corbett so sharp is his command of the English language. He readily absorbs the imagery of the text, and also is able to communicate it in a variety of ways to different audiences.

    With Corbett, I also notice that he is very good about describing the “backstory” or painting an overall summary of a topic for new CorbettReport visitors. I appreciate this. It puts clarity to what comes next.

    Sometimes, I miss the old dictionary book-tomes.
    Some words can have many different definitions. Occasionally, when online, some of these definitions are missing.

    Hoi Polloi
    About a month ago, from one of Corbett’s articles, I had to re-lookup this word, “hoi polloi”.
    It impacted me.
    Of course, there can be different contexts for the use that term.

    Currently categorized in this “hoi polloi” class compared to many of the folks living in the nearby affluent suburbs, I well understand how some of my fellow “hoi polloi” workers feel ‘when they are disrespected’ by the more affluent.

    • I really do enjoy my dictionaries. I’d love to get an 1800s edition to have on a podium in the library I need to get built to house my collection of books.

      I briefly brought up this matter of words being weaponized in my new video, made from a presentation I gave in my local area a couple weeks ago on the food topic, how the words stores like my local food co-op use, non-GMO, sustainable, they are being used to get these frankenfoods on the shelves, and it’s working! The last response I got after speaking to the Board of Directors was that the products “are consistent with the product statement as it is written.”

      Please Stop the Ride to a Biotech Food Takeover

      The topic I’m moving on to next also deals with the meanings of words, how we are being manipulated because we are using different definitions than “they” are. That one is still in the planning stages.

      The new video has a link in the notes to a transcript and the source links. Please feel free to reuse any or all of it if you can. This issue of synthetic biology goes so far beyond food and it needs to be stopped ASAP.

      Thanks for pointing out “hoi polloi”, I’d missed that.

      • Thanks for posting the video Camille.

        I often follow the market news.
        For example: Beyond Meat Rallies As Fake Meat Rival Impossible Burger Struggles To Meet Demand

        A couple things I have noticed.
        ~~ These “fake food” companies get a lot of press in the financial markets. A lot of press, a lot of hype, comparatively speaking to other companies and industrial sectors…especially when their initial stock offerings were about to happen.
        ~~ Rarely, if ever, do I see any print within an article about the supposed health benefits of ‘meatless fake food’. Profit is the name of the game. The focus is all about the fad and hype and money. Health is rarely mentioned.

        When ‘money motivation’ trumps ‘healthy & beneficial motivation’ it becomes easy to see what caliber of product a corporation will sell.

        • Aggh!…during posting my comment, I got distracted on what I originally wanted to say…

          In my opinion…
          The Biotech Food Takeover could serve as the epitome of “Language As A Weapon”.

          • I think that another one of the benefits, for them, of switching hoi polloi over to brewed up bio-goop, is that they can add all of their “micronutrients,” like fluoride, and who would even know? Maybe lithium could be a micronutrient! JUST chill out and eat your eggs.”

            Thanks for watching and for telling people about this insanity, HomeRemedySupply!

      • Thank you for watching, Alexandre! I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Brazil is all over this nightmare.

        ‘This is the year things will change’: GFI feels positive about Brazil’s plant-based potential
        January 2019

        Brazilian School Districts Make Historic Switch to 100% Plant-Based Meals
        March 2018
        **They say this was backed by Humane Society International, the international division of The Humane Society of the US, which has investments in Beyond Meat.**

        Bezos-backed startup partners with Brazil retailer GPA to sell plant-based products
        March 2019

        South America’s largest egg producer debuts plant-based egg
        March 2019

        I’ve not seen any of Rima Laibow’s presentations. I will check it out. Thanks. The Codex has come up several times in what I’ve been looking at, but I’ve not focused on it.

        Please tell your friends and neighbors that this is happening!

  9. Heard of the “Ice Bucket Challenge” or the “Whatever the next one Was Challenge”?

    Meet the “Chase Challenge” in which you choose any political speech (preferably in English) and “Chasify” it by replacing the fluffy with “blab”.

    Publish here (or wherever you wish).

    Bonus points for doing both sides of any debate or for interviewer and interviewee. Super special bonus points for doing a “percentage of blab” score for any of the above.

    Have fun and Good luck!

    PS: I note that Chase chose to blab ‘forever’. I think that’s a bit rough. It clearly means “without end”. So, no inflating your “percentage of blab” scores by blabing the unblabable.

  10. “After the Coop that took place on November 22, 1963 and the clever swap of Federal Reserve Notes (Fiat money) in place of U.S. Dollars (which are defined as a specific weight in Silver), the owners of the Fed were able to create unlimited amounts of money. Only a portion of the money that the Fed creates is transparent. (a partial audit of the Fed by the GAO revealed nearly $16 Trillion created in secret over 27 months. 2007-2009). Since that time it has been discovered that upwards of $21 Trillion is unaccounted for at the Pentagon. It seems to me that the private owners of the Fed are creating money in secrete which they are laundering through the Pentagon. This would be $21 Trillion up and above what Congress appropriates to them (the largest military spending in history)…”

    Most likely what’s been happening.
    It’s one thing to pollute and inflate your own money supply, until it becomes worthless…
    It’s another to pollute and inflate money supplies in countries the world over who for the most part can’t seem to get enough of Uncle Sam’s funny money. 🙁

    Is this what we are supposed to tell people we interview on the street, when we ask “Where does money come from?”.

  11. Just how does the Fed go about numbering their bills?
    Is it public knowledge? Would we know the last legit numbers?
    Would they be so bold as to duplicate numbers?

    • Fawlty Towers
      “..Just how does the Fed go about numbering their bills?,,,”
      As I understand it MOST of the money they issue is now electronic- a book keeping entry that they paid x amount to some entity so the vast majority of money they issue (as far as I know) is not even physically touchable and thus doesn’t have a serial number…. double fake money…lol
      The theft of the VALUE of the money people have is like magic as inflation eats their purchasing power

  12. mbp,
    This was a nice, well written read. Thanks.

    • Good video which explains how Wakefield got targeted.
      I’m sure glad Wakefield went on to promote the film VAXXED.

  13. Interesting that a video about language shows cartridges flying through the air. They do not do this unless they are thrown. Bullets (the front part) fly through the air when fired. A little precision please.

    • These cartridges are not fired but launched.

  14. In relation to the MSM, I thought this article by Jonathan Cook useful in explaining how journalists and editors can become trapped in a world-view that does not allow them to question or work outside of that bubble. Cook was able to do this because he moved to Palestine. I have also been fortunate to be able to live in Brazil, where we can look at the world away from the Euro-centric or Anglo-sphere dominant paradigm.


  15. Regarding The Phoenix Program for those who enjoy reading fiction…

    An aware Dallas area architect, Steve A. Madison, has authored a book series “The Flight of the Mayday Squadron”. Available online via Amazon for a good price.
    (60 second ThemTube video)

  16. Admittedly, this is probably part of the “weaponizing the narrative” concept that James C. predicted 10 years ago but I’ll throw out a 2020 prediction:

    I think we’ll see a high-profile “deepfake” that will first cause great controversy (maybe it will lead us to the brink of war?) then be uncovered as being a deepfake. The high profile nature of it will help introduce the public to the concept. Then the discovery of it (which will also be high-profile) will be part of a campaign by TPTSB (“The Powers That Shouldn’t Be” as James calls them) to convince the public that “interpreting what you see is harder than ever so leave it to us to tell you what truth is”.

    This could backfire, though, because people will start to get REALLY skeptical about things (which is not ideal for governments).

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