The Trump administration has ordered the Centers for Disease Control to remove certain words from its budget documents.

This is typical rightwing magical thinking. If you don’t name something, it doesn’t exist. They assume. I wrote called “The Language Police” about the efforts by pressure groups to control the language in texts and on tests, which reached elaborate and ridiculous heights.

“The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “fetus” and “transgender” — in official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.

“Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
In some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of “science-based” or ­“evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered.”

Ten years ago, I wrote a book about censorship of textbooks and tests by the education publishing industry. It is called “The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn.” There are hundreds and hundreds of words and images that are banned from educational materials, to placate some pressure group from the right or the left or from some interest group. Every publisher has a guidebook of banned words, phrases, and images. The guides have been circulated from publisher to publisher, and they look very much alike. Children will never see a story in a school book that shows mother in the kitchen cooking, although she may see mother driving a truck. They will never see old people walking with a cane or rocking on the porch, although they may see them up on the roof hammering in a loose shingle. The list of words and images that are banned are hilarious and also frightening. Look around and you will see how ineffective this censorship has been in changing attitudes and even language.

I can safely predict that Trump’s ban on the chosen words, plus “climate change,” will change nothing. People will still use the words, and the underlying phenomena will still exist.