But if thought corrupts language, language can corrupt thought.—George Orwell
If anything is true today in political discourse, it is the tendency by those on the Left to distort the human language to their own ends. This, I believe, is a major difference between us and them- our ability to cut through the bull and speak commonsense, and their inability to speak commonsense and to rework the English language to their goals or, failing that, to shout down the opposition. A perfect example is difference between this website and Leftist ones. I have written many articles here and received many comments. In some entries, people have taken exception to what I wrote. That disagreement led to some lively debate. Conversely, when I wrote an article for a liberal website (about the Human Trafficking bill), I was shouted down, called names, and then eventually expelled from the website. The Left accuses the Right of being close-minded, but that is more true of the Left. Freud had a term for this- projection.
As an illustration of how they mangle the language, let’s look at one piece of legislation called the DISCLOSE Act. This is a cute acronym created by distorting the language to create the word “disclose.” It means Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections.” A more accurate acronym, by the way, would be BISBCLOSIE, but that does not sound so great. This bill is repeatedly introduced by Democrats in the wake of the Citizens United decision and purports to “cast light” on the source of spending in elections despite the fact that it is likely unconstitutional. But, “disclose” sounds good.
Another good example is the Paycheck Fairness Act which is allegedly designed to eliminate the gap between male and female wages in similar jobs. Of course, paycheck “unfairness” has been illegal since 1963. What they fail to say is that this would create fairness for only one class of people- trial attorneys. By opening more court doors to alleged cases of paycheck disparities between men and women, they again make it sound great- fair and all that. What they fail to mention is that the oft-cited statistic is actually false. All things being equal (and they seldom are), women make 96 cents on the male’s dollar. What they leave out when when they cite the “76 cents on the dollar” figure is that this is an “overall” figure since women gravitate to lower paying jobs like teaching and social work. If you want to narrow the discrepancy, I suggest more female engineers.
The final piece of legislative manipulation is the Employee Free Choice Act, or card check. Here, the mere signing of a unionization card would be counted as a “Yes” vote for unions. Why go through all that democratic stuff like debating the issue and then having a private, secret ballot election? “Disclosure,” “Fairness” and “Free Choice” are three examples of how the Left steals the ideals of conservatives and uses it towards their own ends which is anything but disclosure, fairness or free choice.
On the regulatory side, we have great sounding terms like “net neutrality” and “the fairness doctrine.” Again, we hear that word “fairness” which is used by the Left to essentially silence conservative talk radio. By forcing radio stations to give equal time to a liberal view, they know that the market will simply not be there. If the market is not there, the broadcaster loses revenue. If they lose revenue they have two choices- (1) suck it up and tough it out and lose money, or (2) simply stop political commentary altogether. Either way, the Left wins by either getting their view on the air or silencing the opposition. Likewise, net “neutrality” is anything but neutral. True neutrality would be staying out of the regulation of the Internet altogether. But, by cloaking it in the language of “neutrality” and “fairness” and helping the little guy, they open the door to government regulation where its absence is marked by an explosion of ingenuity.
The feminist Left has recently come to call pro-life people “anti-choice.” In this way, they can change the subject from the protection of innocent human life to one of “choice.” Of course, the only one without a choice is the innocent unborn life, but they discard that fact. Thus, by removing the very notion of “life,” they transform the discussion to something entirely different which then allows them to stray into different areas like contraception, equal pay, and paid maternity leave. By being anti-choice rather than pro-life, the pro-life people are magically transformed into anti-women.
Of course, nowhere is the Left’s attack on speech so obvious and blatant than on college campuses. Its amazing how the Left which was such a proponent of free speech is today the very silencers of free speech…unless you speak their language. Thus, while a Condoleeza Rice or Ayaan Hirsi Ali may draw protests on college campuses, the Ward Churchills and Noam Chomskys of the world get a free pass. Today, college campus speech codes are political correctness on steroids where an offhand joke at a party can get you disciplined by the powers that be all in the name of not offending someone. If anyone wishes to avoid “offense,” then they should live in a bubble. This is hardly an atmosphere that prepares the graduate for the real world where they may hear something offensive and their feelings will get hurt.
This is simply overt censorship, but there are more subtle forms that the Left has perfected. For example, certain words or phrases are now off limits lest you run afoul of the speech police. The word “urban,” I learned, should no longer be used to describe a geographical location characterized by high population density because it is simply a code word for “blacks” (as if only blacks live in urban areas). Also, the phrase “state’s rights,” which is simply another name for federalism enshrined in our Constitution, is also a racist term conjuring up images of slavery and Jim Crow laws.
Their greatest bullying tool involves special interest groups like blacks, Hispanics and women. If you talk about border security, the Left assumes you are anti-immigrant. If you are against affirmative action, then it must follow that you are a racist bigot. If you are pro-life, then you are anti-women. The scariest part of this entire thing is that politicians like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have special protective zones built around them by virtue of their skin color or their sex. Thus, if you are against an Obama policy, then its because he is black. With Clinton, if you mention that she may not be up to the task of being President, you are a misogynist, sexist pig.
But the fallacy of this special treatment is revealed when those who do not comport to the Left’s vision and who happen to be female or black come along. One need only look at the denigration of women like Sarah Palin or Laura Ingraham. In the area of race, look at the treatment given by the Left of a Ben Carson or, worse yet, Clarence Thomas. Sarah Palin and Clarence Thomas are no less female or black, yet the zone of protection suddenly evaporates. It has nothing to do with their color or sex and everything to do with their ideology which is exactly what the Right has been saying all along.
That is because identity politics is a powerful weapon in the hands of the Left. It feeds off emotional responses and obscures their policy failures. It is much easier to call someone a racist if they oppose affirmative action than it is to point out how this program has helped minorities or to cite concrete examples. It is much easier to call someone sexist who opposes the Paycheck Fairness Act than it is to justify its importance based on actual facts. Its much easier and it elicits a more visceral emotional response. It is much easier to call someone a “flat earther” than it is to cite concrete evidence of global warming conclusively related to human activity. It is much easier to label someone “homophobic” than to justify gay marriage, or someone “Islamophobic” than to justify Islamic terrorism. It is much easier to call someone a bigot if they disagree with your worldview because these loaded terms serve to shut down debate right then and there.
Which is why it is much easier to claim someone “clings to their Bible and guns” rather than overtly showing your disdain for people who disagree with you. And scarier yet, when the “village” has replaced the “family” in child-rearing, we have truly given up the good fight.