Magazine May 14, 2012, Issue

The Tyranny of Clichés

(Roman Genn)
What does ‘social justice’ mean?

In “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell says that a writer can avoid the heavy lifting of making an original or insightful argument by simply turning his pen on autopilot and fueling it with “ready made” clichés. “They will construct your sentences for you — even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent — and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself,” writes Orwell. “It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.” More than a half century later,

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Rigorously Modest

Imagine that a U.S. president is considering his options vis-à-vis a rapidly developing Iranian nuclear-weapons program. First, a science adviser comes into the room and predicts that if the Iranians ...

Features

Politics & Policy

A Lethargic Dragon

Americans have always looked abroad for inspiration. Alexander Hamilton drew on the experience of Britain and France to shape the economic institutions of the early republic. In the early 19th ...
Politics & Policy

Magic Accounting

‘Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It,” read the front-page headline in the February 12 issue of the New York Times. Reporting from Chisago County, north of Minneapolis, ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Tales of the Tellers

Thick reference books traditionally have been solemn tomes, housed and read in library reference rooms where sudden snorts of laughter are unexpected and unappreciated. By this standard, the doorstopper under ...
Politics & Policy

Unreal Campus

When Terrence Malick returned to filmmaking after a two-decade hiatus, the result was 1998’s The Thin Red Line, which is in many ways the most Malicky of all his movies: ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

The Biker’s Code Bravo to National Review for Charles C. W. Cooke’s article on bikers (“Right Turn on the Open Road,” April 30). I haven’t been to Daytona or Sturgis, but I have ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Perhaps the Secret Service picked up some bad habits protecting John Edwards back in 2004. ‐ For months, the Obama campaign and its media militia harped on the story that ...
Athwart

Incontinental

You’re forgiven if you don’t want to hear anything about the Titanic for another century, but heed this: The death of the great ship is intimately connected to the matter ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

EXPOSURE The wind is much too strong. He tries to shelter where a split rock hides a narrow patch of grass beneath the summit shining like stained glass and sees the sun go down ...
Happy Warrior

A Ravening Justice

To get the obvious out of the way: I loathe John Edwards. I loathe him as a slick ambulance-chasing trial lawyer, as a preening poseur of a presidential candidate, as ...

Recommended

The Latest