Culture

Watch Your Language

Words mean things. Beware when people endeavor to redefine them in service to a political agenda.

Nate Jackson · Jan. 23, 2018

Language is critically important when it comes to understanding other people. It’s one of the things that separates man from beast. But perhaps ever since the Tower of Babel, we humans are destined to misunderstand each other. Unfortunately, sometimes, that misunderstanding is due to people deliberately reshaping language for political ends. Time and space won’t permit a comprehensive list, but here are a few prominent examples.

Much of the current debate in Washington revolves around immigration, where there’s no shortage of manipulated and deceitful terminology. The technical and legal term “illegal alien” has been not just discarded but rejected with prejudice by leftist open-borders advocates, who for years now have referred to illegals as “undocumented.” Sometimes for good measure they add “workers,” so we don’t think these folks are taking from the system. News flash: they are.

“Dreamer” is another one. Granted, that’s actually derived from an unpassed bill called the DREAM Act (an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), but that title too was a clever spin on the language to make amnesty for certain illegals sound as appealing as possible. Who could possibly oppose “dreamers”? Hence the word play.

In days past, “racism” meant prejudice against another race. Now it’s a catch-all term for conservative policies on taxes, “welfare” (another distorted word), immigration, etc. Leftists don’t argue policy merits, they shout “racism” and spike the football, thinking they’ve won the argument.

The homosexual agenda, too, is rife with redefinitions. “Gay,” of course, used to mean carefree. “Love” once meant selfless acts of compassion for someone else; now that “love wins” is the slogan for same-sex marriage, it means forcing your political agenda upon someone else. “Love” — “tolerance” too — means putting good people out of business for conscientiously objecting to providing artistic services for same-sex weddings.

That agenda has expanded to include transgenderism, so we read and watch emotional stories about boys using feminine pronouns and vice versa with the desired result being our celebration of a “brave” choice. Bruce and Bradley are now Caitlyn and Chelsea. Enabling a young child to decide she’s a “boy” is no longer child abuse, it’s “tolerance.” All that matters is affirming a person’s gender dysphoria, not sticking with facts or science - much less actually helping such people.

“Phobia” is a suffix now attached to numerous words and it serves much the same purpose as “racism.” Conservatives are “homophobic,” “transphobic,” “xenophobic” and so on, because it helps leftists dismiss good-faith policy or moral arguments as irrational fear.

Along a similar cultural vein, media organizations refer to “pro-life” groups as “anti-abortion,” which is true in a sense yet woefully inadequate and deliberately negative. “Life” itself has been shifted from conception to birth. “Choice” is a sick euphemism for ending life. Again, never mind scientific definitions when an agenda is on the line.

One of the more sinister efforts at language manipulation is with guns. Media reports ubiquitously refer to certain guns with the misnomer “assault weapons,” or they speak of “high-capacity” magazines instead of standard capacity. When a deranged individual or a religious fanatic murders numerous people, he is, according to the media, a “gunman,” because that puts the focus on the instrument of death rather than the killer himself. Subtly, that sways people’s emotions against a tool, and it provides - pardon the pun - ammunition for those who would curtail our Second Amendment rights.

Terrorists motived by loyalty to a worldwide entity we in our humble shop call Jihadistan are, to the media, “lone wolves.” And yet fatherless, medicated and unaffiliated killers are somehow motivated by the “gun lobby”?

Far more broadly speaking is calling our “republic” a “democracy.” The latter has become lazy shorthand for getting to vote for stuff, while “republic” is too often associated with communist tyranny that isn’t republican at all, as in The People’s Republic of… For many Americans, accepting this terminology shift is largely just lazy, but make no mistake - Democrats benefit from the widespread good feelings associated with “democracy,” while the converse is true for Republicans. That same marketing technique was employed when the media shifted red and blue states 30 years ago. Ronald Reagan’s map was blue, but Democrats didn’t want the association with communist red. Hence the change.

Walter Williams recently wrote an outstanding explanation of why the Founding Fathers “went to great lengths to ensure that we were a republic and not a democracy.” Moreover, Williams notes, “The word democracy does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution or any other of our founding documents.” In fact, the Founders warned against democracy as its own form of tyranny.

We could go on ad nauseum, but readers can see the point. Words mean things, and all Americans should beware and reject the mainstream media’s redefinitions, which often advance specific points in the Left’s agenda. Unfortunately, most other conservative media outlets don’t bother getting these words right and thus cede ground to leftists. Your Patriot Post team, on the other hand, has endeavored for more than 21 years to fight for the language as part of our fight for both truth and Liberty. We aim for that to continue.

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