Value neutral language drains meaning from discourse
psychologist at a dinner party which I attended recently spoke about his “client in the community”. Two lies in four words: I suppose this was concision of a kind!
His “client” was a madman known to wield knives in a state of psychosis, a potential murderer who was under compulsory supervision and was plied with medication whether he wanted it or not (mostly not).
He was a client in the same way that I am a “customer” of His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs — and which, indeed, sometimes addresses me in circulars as such, rather as does a travel agency that hasn’t noticed yet that I last availed myself of its services about 15 years ago.
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Theodore Dalrymple is a contributing editor of City Journal and a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
This piece originally appeared in The Critic