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Titles of Laws as Propaganda

How illiterate do our politicians think we are?

In the old days we had plain titles of laws, such as the Voting Rights Act or the Civil Rights Act. In the United Kingdom, the titles of laws still reflect their subjects, whether the Official Secrets Act or the National Health Service Act. The modern U.S. Congress, as the least trusted institution in America, is particularly prone to these propaganda titles. Thus, modern Americans, instead of universal, government-funded healthcare, get government-funded propaganda: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

An adult discussion about serious issues is hard to have when the public is treated like infants. It’s not just the recently struck down Defense of Marriage Act. There’s also the Stop Online Piracy Act (which did not pass) and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, which with at least equal fairness could be titled the Banker Bonus Protection Act. At least the Defense of Marriage Act is mostly known by its unwieldy acronym DOMA. To avoid that problem, the Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism (PATRIOT) Act designed the acronym to be as misleading as the title.

As former Senate chaplain Edward Hale replied when asked whether he prayed for the senators: “I look at the Senators and I pray for the country.”