Linguistics tell the Politician

Last saturday, leader of the Dutch right-wing liberals (VVD) Mark Rutte, presented a concept version of his new declaration of principles. His members, however, disagreed on some of the principles but focused mainly how some sentences were formulated. Is that all, you might think: linguistics only?

But there might actually be something to be learned from the words Mark Rutte used. By “providing good education and by making people less dependent on the government,” he writes, he hopes to “enlighten the lower classes”. Most people objected against the use of the word ‘enlighten’, but apparently Mark Rutte perceives the low educated to be overly dependent on the government.

Moreover, and this is where it gets interesting, he agreed to change the words ‘lower class’, to ‘people with difficulties’. What? Higher educated, higher income, or in general higher class people don’t have difficulties? And indeed, all lower class people do have difficulties which clearly always results in government-dependence. Tentatively judging from the use of the words “hardworking people”, we might even suspect that the lower class people are perceived as being idly, work-shy, and in general: not working very hard.

What a peculiar world-view Mark Rutte has!

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