President Francois Hollande of France did a no-no the other day when he was in Washington to talk to President Obama: the insensitive Frenchman uttered the words "Islamic terrorism" in regard to the recent attacks in Paris, Brussels, and San Bernadino.

The White House promptly omitted the offending phrase in the official audio translation of the meeting. The words were restored only after questions were raised.

Victor Davis Hanson recalls that the Soviet in the 1930s wiped all references to Leon Trotsky at the behest of Stalin. Trotsky didn't exist.

Closer in time and space, the  Library of Congress recently succumbed to pressure from Dartmouth College students and banned the terms "illegal alien" and "alien" in subject headings for literature about immigration. Does that mean, Hanson asks, that people who come to the U.S. in contravention of our laws will no longer be here illegally?

Hanson asks:

Did the Library of Congress ever read the work of the Greek historian Thucydides, who warned some 2,500 years ago that in times of social upheaval, partisans would make words "change their ordinary meaning and … take that which was now given them."

These latest linguistic contortions to advance ideological agendas follow an established pattern of the Obama administration and the departments beneath it.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's described Egypt's radical Muslim Brotherhood as "largely secular." CIA Director John Brennan has called jihad "a legitimate tenet of Islam," a mere effort "to purify oneself."

Other administration heads have airbrushed out Islamic terrorism by referring to it with phrases such as "man-caused disaster." The effort to combat terrorism was called an "overseas contingency operation," perhaps like Haitian earthquake relief.

The White House wordsmiths should reread George Orwell's 1946 essay "Politics and the English Language," which warned that "political writing is bad writing" and "has to consist largely of euphemism."

Hanson gives us a grand tour of our contemporary Orwellian vocabulary: Attorney General Loretta Lynch calls young people who have committed and been convicted of serious crimes "justice-involved youths." Cities that refuse to enforce the law are called "sanctuary cities." When "global warming" wasn't happening fast enough, it became "climate change."

Why is this so prevalent? Politics, says Hanson. All of these name changes are in the service of Obama administration policies. If Hollande had used the term "skinheads" to describe a right wing political movement, he would not have been bleeped. The administration, Hanson notes, would probably not call rogue police officers "justice-involved police."

Political correctness isn't an attempt to avoid hurting somebody's feelings; it is inevitably used in the furtherance of a political goal, as it was in George Orwell's dystopian novel. Think about that next time you are inclined to use an inaccurate term so as not to offend. Whom are you not offending?