The Road To Serfdom:

The most effective way of making people accept the validity of the values they are to serve is to persuade them that they are really the same as those which they, or at least the best among them, have always held, but which were not properly understood or recognized before.  The people are made to transfer their allegiance from the old gods to the new under the pretense that the new gods really are what their sound instinct always told them but what they had only dimly seen.  And the most efficient technique to this end is to use the words but change their meaning.  Few traits of totalitarian regimes are at the same time so confusing to the superficial observer and yet so characteristic of the whole intellectual climate as the complete perversion of language, the change of meaning of words by which the ideals of the new regimes are exposed.  {emphasis mine}

Since reading this paragraph, I feel like I see examples of this everyday.  It is a particularly heinous sort of argument because the person making it is trying to lie and trick his or her audience at the same time.  President Clinton was a master at this technique.  I believe the current administration is also very good at it.

Sometimes this is a simple twisting of a word here or there.  Take the debate over the Bush tax cuts which are set to expire in January.  If these tax cuts expire, everyone who was receiving the lowered tax rates will see a raise in their tax burden.  This is an increase in taxes.   Democrats are arguing that they are not raising taxes because they are letting previous tax cuts expire.  Nancy Pelosi and others also argue that these tax cuts were only for the wealthy. Anyone claiming a child on their taxes will pay more in taxes if the Bush tax cuts expire.  That alone shows these tax cuts were for everyone and not just the wealthy.

Sometimes, the redefinition by the socialist is more pronounced.  Take for a minute the abortion debate.  This debate has spawned its own set of words that have nothing to do with the rest of the world.  If a drunk driver gets in a wreck with a pregnant woman and kills her, he is likely to be put on trial for two counts of vehicular homicide.  Outside of the abortion debate, very few people would argue that an unborn baby isn’t a separate life from the mother.  The very terms of the debate have changed.  If you support abortion in the case of “the health of the mother” many places interpret that as anything from a threat to the mothers life to an inconvenience for her lifestyle.

The list could easily go on.  Terrorism is now “man made disasters”, illegal immigrants are now “undocumented workers”.  The entire argument around gay marriage is largely about changing the very definition of marriage.  If  civil unions with the exact same legal guarantees as marriage won’t satisfy activists, what else could this debate be about?

One never knows when you will see this trick pulled by socialists.  I am reading another book a friend gave me entitled The Moral Center: How we can reclaim our country from die-hard extremists, rouge corporations, Hollywood hacks, and pretend patriots by David Callahan.  The book is interesting, and just a little confusing.  The author argues that there are problems in the world that the right and left aren’t solving, but that the “middle” could find solutions for.  Most of his solutions come from a left or a center-left perspective.  From page 51 of Mr. Callahan’s book, where he argues how “liberals and moderates” can change the meaning of family values :

Many liberals are uneasy with talk of personal responsibility when it comes to family — not because they are against such responsibility,  but because they see it as a guise for turning back the clock.  They also worry that once you start putting any conditions on hard-won rights, you may set foot on a slippery slope toward losing those rights.  This needn’t be the case.  While the concept of personal responsibility is often used to advance a repressive traditionalism, it can also be used to promote the humanist ideal at the heart of liberalism, which is greater obligation to others — even when this goes against one’s immediate self-interest.  Family life is one of the few spheres where market values have not entirely triumphed.  Liberals should defend family, even as they redefine it.

For Next week:  I want to cover chapter Thirteen and Fourteen.  Don’t forget to get your copy of Witness by Whittaker Chambers.  We will probably start that book in about two weeks.