Christopher Lasch on Initialism


“In accordance with the principle that good writing must always oppose the bureaucratic debasement of language, it is a good idea, wherever possible, to refer to the names of governmental agencies, voluntary associations, and other organizations by their full name, not by their initials. The widespread use of initials tends either to lend suspect purposes a spurious air of importance and dignity or, as in the now almost mandatory resort to acronyms in naming organizations, agencies, and weapons systems . . . to make remote bureaucratic agencies or deadly systems of destruction seem folksy, cute, and accessible. Good writing should resist such designs, although there are obvious limits beyond which it is not possible to avoid initials.”
– Christopher Lasch, Plain Style: a Guide to Written English, 69–70 (2002)


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