“The Biden Administration…”– evading responsibility through impersonal speech

"Pyramid of obedience": a better metaphor than "chain of command"

Bad decisions flow downward and outward in the organizational pyramid, spreading bad ideas through obedience and the suppression of cognitive dissonance.

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

― George Orwell

Governments and organizations of every kind evade personal responsibility by making the organization the subject of an active sentence, as if it moved of its own will.  Granted, it’s sometimes a useful shorthand: Procter and Gamble has introduced…, in which case the company as a whole pulled it off, presumably in adherence to an agreed-upon business strategy; we don’t really have to know just whose idea the product was.

But impersonal language is also – and more often, I think – sinister and evasive.  Case in point: Someone (or more than one someone), somewhere in the federal government is making insane immigration policies and using impersonal language to get away with it.

Bad decisions don’t just happen

Like all bad decisions, like America’s chaotic and humiliating exit from Afghanistan, this self-destructive immigration policy did not just happen.  Some people instigated it, and others implemented it.  But whose idea was it?  Who first uttered and/or wrote the words?

To pinpoint responsibility, find the words.  But of course, they won’t do that.

Find the words

Someone created and communicated orders, which then cascaded down the “pyramid of obedience” (a better metaphor than “chain of command”) spreading bad ideas through obedience and the suppression of cognitive dissonance.

If no one takes responsibility, then “no one” is responsible.  We need to find “No One” and arrest him. Read more about the pyramid of obedience here

When they use “I” — and when they don’t

Again, nothing new – it’s unfortunately customary to refer to the “Administration” of any president.  We’ve gotten so used to it that the diffusion of responsibility is accepted as normal.

Of course, politicians talk about themselves and their policies incessantly, so there’s liberal use of the first-person pronoun.  But when things go wrong or must be hidden from the public, the impersonal mode kicks in.

Bad things just happen, originating somewhere in the organizational pyramid and affording plausible deniability to the person/people at the apex.

Biden avoids the public I

Did he give a speech ordering the border open to everyone in the world, thus causing violent crime; death; sex and drug trafficking; and untold human misery?  Did he go on TV and suggest a payment of half a million to every illegal immigrant or announce the semi-clandestine delivery of illegal immigrants to American cities?

This is a truly deranged idea.  That is more than most people save in a lifetime.   No wonder Biden won’t take ownership.

But is it Biden’s idea?

Who knows?  He barely knows what day it is.  In the Biden Administration, things just happen.  Three Cabinet Departments are mentioned in the article, but whose idea was it to begin with, really?  And who failed to say, “Forget it.  That’s crazy”?

The president lacks the courage and stature (and the speechwriters; what crap they turn out) to announce, for example, I am ordering the evacuation of Afghanistan, beginning with our military, abandoning Bagram Air Base, and leaving billions of dollars’ worth of our weapons, as well as many of our allies and citizens, behind….” Or  I am proud to announce the opening of the US border to any immigrant from anywhere in the world, at anytime, for any reason.  Come one, come all!  

Certainly a major policy change requires an inspiring presidential speech to sell it.

No, they just went ahead and did it.  Maybe because it wouldn’t have gone over too well.

Modest proposal

Until Congress can do something short-term about the hideous and worsening immigration problem, I suggest a Congressional Resolution, Executive Order, emergency bill, or something to the effect that beginning Jan, 1, 2022, the residences (all of them!), guest houses, and grounds of all members of Congress and the Executive Branch be required to accommodate as many illegal aliens as possible, no health or background check and no upper limit.

Let’s start shipping them in.  If unrestricted immigration is such a great thing, then we should all enjoy its benefits.

#bidenadministration #policydecisions #oragnizationaldecisionmaking #impersonal language