The war on words


Filed Under General on Jun 25 

We’re engaged in a destructive, debilitating war, a war that directly drains our resources and inhibits our ability to function as free-thinking, motivated, self-reliant individuals. It’s a conflict that pits arbitrarily-chosen demographic groups against each other, creating discord and tension where none existed, and indeed, none needs to exist.

Political advocacy groups, politicians, news people, and educators employ single words or short phrases that are euphemisms for other meanings, with the intention of influencing voters’ perceptions or turning a given circumstance into personal financial advantage.

Some well-respected writers have touched upon this subject, such as Thomas Sowell and Bernie Goldberg. Much more can be said on the subject, however, including the very telling explanation of who benefits from such deception and why.

Here follows a short list—by no means complete—of deceptive words and phrases in common use today:

Racist—This one is perhaps the most explosive and controversial, so what better place to start? There are many reasons this word is used, and it is used inappropriately and applied inaccurately in the great majority of instances. The main reason is this: Calling an individual or a group “racist” is an effective way to deflect legitimate criticism and turn it back on your accuser. For example, there have been times in the past few years when Attorney General Eric Holder’s performance of his duties—his actual legal judgment and decision-making—has come into question. Not prosecuting the new Black Panthers on voter-intimidation charges. His desire and attempt to try KSM in civil court. His suing the State of Arizona over their immigration law activities. His denuding of DOMA. His fumbling, contradictory statements regarding Fast and Furious.

These examples, and others to be sure, are at least worthy of discussion, and probably merit criticism. But given that Holder is the country’s first black Attorney General, the mere hint of critical evaluation of his actions prompts charges of racism.

The same is obviously true of President Obama: Criticize his policies and the charges of racism follow. This “playing of the race card,” while transparent and predictable to seasoned political observers, is nonetheless potentially quite effective with the casually-attentive voter, and the liberal media are only too happy to support its use.

Diversity—This term has come to mean “a greater percentage of African-Americans than would otherwise be in this group without outside intervention.” It can be any group—a student population, a workforce segment, residents in a given neighborhood, etc.—but “diversity” does not mean more Jewish people in a non-Jewish population, it does not mean more Asians in a group, and it never means more whites in a predominantly black group. This is not to be construed as a value judgment of any kind regarding the benefit or appropriateness of increasing the number of African-Americans in a population group. This is simply the observation that “diversity” has come to mean more blacks. “We seek diversity in our student body; that is our goal.”

Choice, Women’s Health, Family Planning—These are interesting terms, indeed. They are code-speak for “abortion.” However, since the 1970’s the percentage of Americans who favor abortion-on-demand-for-any-reason-at-any-time has fallen precipitously, from the mid-60% range to under 40%. Therefore, liberals fear that “abortion” is now a bad word, so abortion advocates and providers couch the term in something less ominous. We’re Choosing to be Healthy, to Plan our Families.

No you’re not. You’re planning on having an abortion, but you’re afraid to be honest about it, lest, as the old saying goes, someone gets the right impression. Again, this is not an argument in support of or against the notion of abortion. That’s a debate for a different time. This is just the accurate notation that these words and phrases are used to obscure their real intent.

Profit—This is the Left’s word to describe the evil of (Republican) business. Their implication is that profit is bad, and the existence of profit somehow prevents rank and file workers from earning a fair wage. To the Left, companies should either make no profit (pay their workers everything) or donate all their profits to causes like homeless shelters or the environmental lobby. The Left never does get around to explaining exactly where the profit-funded R&D should come from that is needed for the next generation of their oh-so-hip iPhone or the next blood-pressure medication that saves your mother’s life. No matter. Only Republicans seek profit, and profit is bad.

Big—Anything liberals don’t like is “big.” Big oil. Big insurance. Big pharmaceutical. Big business. The liberal media work this word into their reportage so smoothly and seamlessly that most people never even notice. Nor do people notice the absence of “Big” liberal causes: Big unions. Big trial lawyers. Big civil rights groups. Those, of course, aren’t “big.” They’re “good.”

The theme common to all of the preceding is that the use of these words/phrases redounds to the electoral and/or financial benefit of left-leaning or liberal politicians and causes. By far, the majority of “code-word”-speak in popular use these days is done either to hide a potentially negative word’s meaning from being too apparent to the public or at worst, to deceive the public into thinking that that word or phrase means something entirely different than it actually does. One would be hard-pressed to construct an analogous list of conservative-leaning words used by the MSM.

This is a full-blown war on the meaning and logic of words, but only the Left is waging it. Therefore, the Left is defining the rules under which the war is waged, the Left is creating the divisions caused by these euphemistic words, and the Left is winning the contest of public perception that results from their use.