In my undergraduate class in anthropology, one of the texts related how during World War Two, soldiers in the US Army were given vitamins. But there was a religious denomination that opposed taking medicine. The answer? Change the name of the pills to "food supplements," and sure enough the soldiers in question went ahead and took the pills.
Calling things by different names can change acceptance.
The text went on to say in 1949 that the War Department's name was changed to the Defense Department, possibly less bellicose.
How has this played out? Well, if you are defending yourself, it sounds a lot better than if you are having a war with someone.
So I thought about this a bit.
Instead of World War One and Two, what if it was World Defense One and Two. And it could be said the world was defending itself against tyrants, dictators, and aggressors, and making itself safe for democracy.
What if we say the Korean War was the Korean Defense? We were there defending Korea.
The American Civil War becomes The American Civil Defense, or if you like, the War Between the States becomes the Defense Between the States.
The Revolutionary War is the Revolutionary Defense. Other Wars soften their names. The Defense of 1812. The Mexican-American Defense. The Spanish-American Defense. The Vietnam Defense. The Middle East Defense.
We can look elsewhere. The Napoleonic Defenses. The Franco-Prussian Defense. The Defense of the Roses. The 30 Years Defense.
When angered, some will go on the defense path.
Those whose actions are illegal go before a defense crimes tribunal.
Closer to home, we have a Defense on Drugs. A Defense on Poverty. A Defense on Terror.
Tolstoy's great novel will be Defense and Peace.
In this Orwellian world of Newspeak, an all-out war becomes double plus defense.
Already we have a series of United States Presidents going back to Truman who do not declare war, but who ask for money or political coalitions that allow the President to defend US interests.
It's been 72 years since Congress declared war, and 68 years since that war ended. And ever since, all we've been doing is defending ourselves, despite the fact that many thousands have fallen.
Ever since, as Scarlett O'Hara might exclaim, "Fiddle-dee-dee! Defense, defense, defense; this defense talk's spoiling all the fun at every party this spring. I get so bored I could scream."
But no one is screaming as the drones drone on and peace loving America wages defense against its enemies.