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Analytical Language in the Political Healthcare Agenda

In any sort of policy or ethical debate, the use of incorrect or immoral language is a very dangerous and powerful tool that can be used to emotionally impact the public. Some language, particular that used in deep and fervent disagreement, can be described as analytical language used to balance, promote, or protect interests. This sort of verbal propaganda is certainly used as a powerful tool, and has been historically, from both sides. Where this tactic becomes immoral is when it evaluates ideas when it either misinforms or pressurizes a population to believe or act in a certain way.

Orwell believed that euphemisms and desensitized language also desensitized the public to the advantage of a totalitarian regime, and I agree with him through the use of language such as ‘ethnic cleansing’ or ‘collateral damage’. What I argue is that the use of analytical language works in a similar manner by more deeply dividing the public through an emotional rhetoric.  Looking deeply into the concept of analytical language, I will discuss how analytical speaking can be used to affect the bioethical realm, namely the healthcare debate.

In 2013, late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel did one of his famous bits where his crew went to the street and asked average people about what they think about politics. In this instance, the question was asked, “which do you prefer, the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare?”. Part of what makes this piece so comical is exposing the general public for not actually knowing the specifics of political current events, and in this case, becoming subject to political rhetoric. Not knowing that the Affordable Care Act is synonymous with Obamacare, some of the answers the public gives very clearly exposes how easily persuaded they are by analytical language. Using an example like this, it’s obvious that the public does not know the details of how political rhetoric can influence the opinions of the people that vote on them in democratic elections. Political use of analytical words can be used to other praise and condemn certain ideas, and could even be argued to be more artifice than communication and create a dichotomy in a two-party system. These are the two goals of the use of analytical language used, either intentionally or unintentionally. Firstly, to either offend or grab the attention of the opposition as well as to emotionally obtain confirmation bias from the supporting side. Then, using the first step, disallow the public to create an individual opinion on an individual matter by encouraging them to side with a party through a misrepresentation of logic.

With the political motives of analytical language taken into mind, I will regress to what was exposed in the Kimmel interviews discussed earlier. Calling the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” qualifies the Act more so with the person than it does with the Act itself. To the general American public, most of whom are not nearly as politically knowledgeable as the politicians and main-stream media that devise these terms from both parties, the question is alluded. Instead of asking the question, ‘Do you support the health care system created by Obama?’ the question changes to ‘Do you support Obama?’. A seemingly harmless expression of naming an act after a creator both more deeply divides the parties against each other and also alludes the general public of developing their own individual opinions of the act itself. This can be labeled as an allusion of logic. No matter how polarizing a politician can be, it is incredibly unlikely that every member of one party agrees with every aspect of their political agenda, and every member of the other side disagrees with every aspect. On the other hand, it is more likely in today’s political dichotomy, for a party to universally support or oppose a person themselves. Therefore, calling the Affordable Care Act ‘Obamacare’ eliminates the possibility of contradicting previously held beliefs of President Obama in this specific instance. For this reason, the use of the word ‘Obamacare’ as a replacement to ‘the Affordable Health Care Act’ constrains the individual’s ability to develop a political opinion on the matter, setting aside a personal analysis of the word without any knowledge, as well as deterring the public to more fully understand policies being enacted for their sake. Because of this belief-based coercion to the public, it is fair to label the use of the name ‘Obamacare’ as immoral language.

Throughout bioethical policy debates, such as healthcare, the issues cannot be left unresolved as in academic debate. Unfortunately, political rhetoric is used by both sides that assumes its own side is correct without fully understanding the opinions of the other side. Because this rhetoric is present, analytical language is used to make it seem that only one side is the only side that is rational. This leaves all progress at a stand-still in a democratic society as the people vote on either the bioethical issues at hand or the officials that represent these issues. Political rhetoric used through analytical language is used to allude logic through confirmation bias and makes it more difficult for members of a party to disagree with the majority on an issue. Because of this phenomenon, the use of analytical language expressed previously can be termed as immoral language and should find its way out of bioethical policy debate.

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