Thomas Gallatin / July 1, 2020

Leftist Wordplay

The “social justice” cultural revolutionaries change the definition of words to confuse and confound.

“We need to have a conversation about… [fill in any myriad of leftist social-justice causes]” is a popular tactic used by today’s “woke” culture that means precisely the opposite of what is suggested. As Power Line’s Steven Hayward puts it, “What ‘we need a conversation’ means in practice is, ‘You shut up and agree with the left.’” Or, in the parlance of “The Princess Bride’s” Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

This Orwellian tactic of subtly redefining words and terms is not new, but it has proven highly effective in both confusing people and intentionally conflating issues. It’s the same tactic used by Black Lives Matter. As we have repeatedly noted, if BLM was truly concerned about ending violence against black lives, then why the objection to focusing on the biggest causes of violence and injustice against blacks in America — the disproportionally high crime rate in black neighborhoods (almost entirely perpetrated by other blacks) and abortion (which takes exponentially more black lives than any other single factor)? It’s impossible to take a complaint or grievance seriously when those espousing it don’t actually mean what they’re saying. Once again, the BLM movement is not really about bettering the lives of black Americans but about pushing a neo-Marxist revolution.

Yet another example of this leftist wordplay is the term “inclusion.” This one is especially popular when a school, organization, or business seeks to justify its decision to dismiss or cancel an individual or relationship with someone with the “wrong” opinion. How many times have we seen the self-contradictory statement, “[So and so] was expelled/fired because they failed to uphold our school/company’s commitment to diversity and ‘inclusion’”? Logically, if leftists claim to be committed to “inclusion,” then how could they “exclude” anyone? The simple answer is that in the Left’s lexicon, “inclusion” refers not to a commitment to accept all individuals but rather to promote the exclusive idea that only the Left’s views are just and virtuous.

In the end, the rallying motto for conservatives concerned with upholding principles of truth and consistency in language might be Accurate Definitions Matter. For without a commitment to consistently accurate definitions, there can be no genuine conversations and no hope for unalloyed unity.

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