I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the Trump administration has informed the CDC that they’re no longer allowed to use the words “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based”. That’s weirdly specific and random, in addition to being contemptibly authoritarian. There’s something funny going on here. I have questions.
Why? This is strangely like telling someone “Don’t think of an elephant” — don’t think of a vulnerable transgender fetus with your evidence-based brain, people! So what are the scientists at the CDC supposed to think when, for instance, they see statistics on Zika-induced developmental abnormalities? As Tara Smith points out, scientists were also given alternatives: instead of talking about science, they should say
CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes. So we’re supposed to consider what people wish were true? All right, I wish I had the body of a 30 year old and a million dollars.
Damn. Doesn’t seem to be having an effect.
But I also want to know why those specific seven words. Why not “homosexual”, “abortion”, “euthanasia”, “pollution”, “climate change”, “infertility”, and “tampons”, which conservatives would also find enraging? What specific input triggered the need to dictate censorship of these words?
Who? This edict came from somewhere, from someone who thinks they have the power to police the language. This is really mysterious. The HHS, which is in charge of the CDC, is currently leaderless, although Alex Azar has been nominated to run the show. Azar is an Indiana Republican who ran HHS under the Bush administration, and since has worked as a lobbyist and division head for Eli Lilly, a big pharmaceutical company. His appointment hasn’t been approved, so would he have any say at all? Why would a “pharma shill” object to science and evidence? The Indiana connection is ominous (is Pence tinkering behind the scenes?) but it sounds like maybe, once again, it’s underlings running amuck while the system is rudderless.
What’s next? If they think they can purge a useful, non-ideological word like “vulnerable”, there’s nothing to stop them from getting rid of all of the substance coming out of work from scientific organizations and replacing it with nothing but bureaucratic glurge, which, it wouldn’t surprise me, might be their real goal.
You know, I was also just wondering why anyone would want to be known as a Trump appointee. It seems to carry the taint of corruption and incompetence. I know if Trump tapped me to run the CDC (a position for which I’m completely unqualified), I’d have a terrifying moment of introspection in which I’d wonder what horrifying crime against nature and humanity I’d committed to deserve this rebuke.