Is the author of the following paragraph accurate in the description of governmental programs, and the ambiguous phrases they use?"Hijacking the language proves especially pernicious when...

Is the author of the following paragraph accurate in the description of governmental programs, and the ambiguous phrases they use?

"Hijacking the language proves especially pernicious when government officials deodorize their programs with near-Orwellian euphemism. (If Orwell were writing 'Politics and the English Language' today, he'd need a telephone book to contain his 'catalog of swindles and perversions.') The Bush administration has been especially good at this; just count the number of times self-anointing phrases like 'Patriot Act,' 'Clear Skies Act' or 'No Child Left Behind Act' appear in The Times, at each appearance sounding as wholesome as a hymn. Even the most committed Republicans must recognize that such phrases could apply to measures guaranteeing the opposite of what they claim to accomplish."

Expert Answers
noahvox2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It does sound like the author of the article cited in this question has identified the euphemistic language attached to various acts that emerged from the admininistration of George W. Bush. The "Clear Skies Act" did achieve some success, but did not cut pollutants as much as the Environmental Protection Agency had wanted. So, ironically, the name "Clear Skies Act" was a "smoke screen" for the actual results. Under George W. Bush's act, the air became clearer, but not as clear as it might have been.

As for the "No Child Left Behind Act," I believe the official title of this act is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Clearly, such a bland title needed a little better marketing. While the jazzier title, "No Child Left Behind Act," certainly sounds altruistic, the results of this act have put a tremendous burden upon teachers to, among other things, make sure their students can pass certain standardized tests, a feat which not every child can accomplish. Furthermore, it has caused teachers to "teach to the test" and resulted in the elimination of some subjects from the curriculum.

Most Orwellian, however, is surely the Patriot Act, which allowed the United States government much greater latitude to investigate activities that might be linked to terrorism. Opponents of this act, which emerged less than two months after the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have argued that the act gives the government too much latitude in examining people's activities.

Of course, George W. Bush is not the first to "dress up" legislation with euphemistic language. Americans have been masking the undesireable elements of our society for a long time. Thus, as the famous comedian George Carlin once pointed out, toilet paper is now bathroom tissue; used cars are now pre-owned vehicles; the "projects" are now substandard housing; and being "broke" is now having a negative cash flow position.