In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the
indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary
bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their
farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are
imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of
George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language” (1946), The Orwell Reader: Fiction, Essays and
Reportage, (Orlano, FL: Harcourt & Brace, 1984), 363.