When Bush was in office, his administration issued a list of banned words that mostly had to do with evolution. Not to be outdone, Trump’s administration recently told the CDC what his list of banned words would be — and that list includes “fetus,” “science-based,” and “evidence-based.”
These words can’t be used in any documents being prepared for the CDC’s budget next year. Just to clarify, this is the nation’s top public health agency, and the Trump administration has banned them from using terms that might be relative to public health.
The list is only seven words and phrases long — there’s a George Carlin joke in here somewhere — and includes the following: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
Why that particular collection of words? Presumably the right-wing wants the CDC to be a “non-partisan” entity, but in their upside-down world, “non-partisan,” just like “non-political,” means, “agrees with me 100% of the time.” The list above are all words that Republicans have issues with because they’re incapable of being anything but partisan hacks of the worst variety.
For instance, it’s pretty obvious they’d rather force the CDC to give up the actual medical term “fetus” in exchange for their in-house oxymoron, “unborn baby.” It’s also pretty clear why they’d want “transgender” banned — but hey, remember when Trump told us he was going to be an LGBT friendly president? Yeah?
Only idiots believed that.
What’s more, as the Washington Post piece notes, there weren’t any suggestions for replacement words, either. And as stated over on the Friendly Atheist, there are actual consequences of this:
While some of the words have euphemisms (for no reason whatsoever), consider what that means: When scientists wants to propose research on how the Zika virus affects fetuses, or how they can prevent the spread of HIV among transgender people, they can’t even accurately say what they’re trying to work on.
Science is like math; both demand precision in language, which is a notoriously vague and context-dependent thing. Thanks to the Trump administration, it’s just gotten a lot harder to be both rigorous and accurate, which means it’s gotten a lot harder to be scientific in general.
And perhaps that’s the point. After all, since when have the words “evidence-based” or “science-based” ever been kind to the Republican agenda of denying evolution, denying climate change, denying HIV, denying the damage the War on Drugs has done to our society, denying the negative epigenetic effects of poverty on people, denying freedom, denying women’s rights, and denying reality in general?