Anyone totally committed to a single pursuit almost inevitably becomes the propagandist of his own effort. As a nation of specialists, we have become a nation obsessed with self-justification. When we don't have it, we make it. And we are by now familiar enough with the make-work of manufacturers who need products, scholars who need projects, politicians who need issues, generals who need armies. We speak the language of a people bent on justifying everything we do or want to do, whether it is justifiable or not.
This preoccupation, with its consequent language of self-praise, is epidemic. It is chronic at the highest levels of the government. Much of blame for the erosion of our idealism must be laid to the government, because the language of ideals has been so grossly misused by the propagandists. The liars of policy and public relations are addicted to a rhetoric of high principle. Our political ideals fill their mouths as unctuously, and with as little involvement of conscience or intelligence, as so many pieces of fat meat.
-Wendell Berry, as excerpted from The Long-Legged House