Beware those who intentionally use words to lie

Posted 2/27/24

The word “liberal” was once considered a compliment. It meant fair, principled and thoughtful.

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Beware those who intentionally use words to lie


The word “liberal” was once considered a compliment. It meant fair, principled and thoughtful. The Age of Enlightenment was birthed by “classical liberals” with their then-fantastical notions about government by consent of the governed, legal equality of all, and individually owned rights.

Later as ideologies like collectivism and class oppression gained favor among the intelligentsia, the word “liberal” was hijacked and mangled beyond recognition. It was used to describe almost anything from well-meaning do-gooders to hard-bitten class warriors, from big government socialists to tyrants who silence and ostracize their opponents, for the good of society.

With time, “liberal“ lost favor. When the label became a political epithet, Leftists dropped it like a hot potato, moving on to “progressive” as their new favorite label, even though “socialist” and “Marxist” are also accurate.

Here’s the point: in the unceasing war of democratic persuasion we call politics, what you say often matters less than how you say it and the phrasing you use. Somehow, the Left always seems ahead in the game of word messaging.

Take abortion. Since the heyday of the eugenics movement, Democrats have generally been for abortion and Republicans not. The two sides were labeled pro-abortion and pro-life.

Eventually Democrats, realizing that “pro-abortion” was off-putting to many, changed their label to “pro-choice“ which made the decision to terminate a pregnancy seem more like a normal consumer transaction. “Pro-life“ came to mean that Republicans demanded all babies must be carried to term.

Most Americans are abortions centrists, willing to support legal abortion up to 12 weeks or so. Yet Gallup polls reveal that 60% of “pro-choice“ Democrats believe abortion should be legal at any time until the moment of birth, while less than a quarter of “pro-life“ Republicans believe all abortions should be prohibited. Thus the Left, by the adroit use of labels, is able to obscure the fact that their views on abortion are much further from the mainstream than are Republicans’.

“Racist“ might be the most abused word in the language. During the civil rights movement, there was a broad consensus that “racism“ meant the practice of judging fellow humans by their skin color rather than by the “content of their character.”

But even as race relations broadly improved, for race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, that definition wasn’t good enough. They denied that color blindness was a positive goal in itself. They insisted instead that racial identity was our defining, inherent attribute that explained virtually all human behavior.

In support, the media and the Left subtly changed the language around racial equality. Equality before the law is a precious right bequeathed to all Americans under the Constitution. As a substitute, the Left devised a new definition for “equity“, now meaning equality of outcomes, a supposedly superior goal that assures permanent employment for the professionals in the field.

Nevertheless, the SAT, welfare reform, legitimate law enforcement and anything smacking of merit were all deemed racist. Consequently, today the charge of “racism” has lost much of his coherence. “Playing the race card” is recognized as being bereft of real arguments for your point. Worse, if all racial discrepancies are blamed on “racism”, then the hard work of addressing the real causes of racial inequality can be deflected.

Institutions typically don’t like to admit that they use gender and racial discrimination in personnel decisions. Rather than come clean about their practices however, they adopted the term “affirmative action” which did exactly the same thing. A majority of Americans are neither fooled nor amused.

There is obviously a world of difference between the legal immigration that has nurtured and defined America and the tsunami of lawlessness now plaguing us. Yet media commentators use “immigrant” to describe lawbreakers and lawful immigrants alike, as if only bigots believe there are real differences.

Finally, congressional bills are often given intentionally deceptive names. The Inflation Reduction Act was a recent laughable example. The bill was actually a package of green subsidies still chasing the climate chimera and other outrageous handouts that had zero possibility of reducing inflation.

Words can be powerful tools in the pursuit of truth or falsehood. Classical liberals should call out those who deliberately use words to lie.

democrat, republicans, words, lie, liberal