Last week I posted Part I of a series where I laid out examples of activists, columnists, professors and journalists manipulating language to marginalize their opponents, stifle debate and push legislation. Continuing on with that theme here are more examples.
Torture – If you watch Keith Olbermann on any given night, you would think the debate regarding torture and “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” is a closed one. Olbermann, along with other left wing pundits and contributors allege that George Bush, Dick Cheney, all Republicans, and anyone concerned with President Obama’s approach to the now defunct war on terror are staunch proponents of widespread torture techniques, looking to preemptively inflict pain and suffering onto every innocent man woman and child. Any person with a shred of intellectual honestly must realize that calling Bush, Cheney, and CIA interrogators torturers is merely a matter of opinion. A factually incorrect one at that.
Even water boarding, which was used on a total of three captured terrorists, cannot be slyly interjected as factual torture. The Bush administration went to great lengths developing, testing, and assuring the legality of said (EIT) techniques. Lumping water boarding of three terrorists with sleep deprivation, verbal threats, revving of a power drill near the terrorists head and having second hand smoke blown in your face with torture only works to undermine and marginalize, REAL TORTURE. Real torture that people like John McCain and other P.O.W.s were subjected to during Vietnam or the human experiments the Chinese were subjected to at the hands of the Japanese. The 20th century alone holds any number of real atrocities committed against humanity at the hands of others. And like the people who said George Bush was worse than Hitler, these flippant claims of America(meaning George Bush and Republicans) being a torture happy nation, sets back attempts to thwart real violations of civil rights.
Racist – The left routinely peddles the idea that Conservatives are not only wrong, but they are evil. Look no further than the current state of the race debate in our country. With a straight face, commentators say that opposition to the President’s agenda, no matter how far-reaching or out of step with American Values, are patently racial in undertones if not blatantly based on racial bias. Watch ANY coverage of the Tea Party movement with a democratic representative or commentator and they will mention race. It’s to the point that Conservatives are forced to err on the side of political correctness, even in matters of our national security. Every facet of leadership, from Representatives to Appointees to the News Media are forced to skirt around real issues and real problems for fear of being branded racist by Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, CAIR or any other irrational race baiting person/group. Here’s the short list of things that will get you branded. Note: These things only get you labeled a racist if you are not in the Democratic Party, or are against President Obama in a campaign. But that’s a whole other article.
To be a member of the Tea Party Movement; you are racist. To be for racial/ethnic/religious profiling, even if you are only for it in airports; you are racist. To mention President Obama’s middle name “Hussein”; you are racist. If you wish to enforce and protect our borders from illegal immigration; you are racist. To be for welfare reform or any against entitlements; you are racist. To be opposed to any of Obama’s policies; you are racist. To question President Obama’s overtly anti-American and racist church; you are racist. To call corrupt New York Congressman a “Harlem Democratic”; you are racist. The list goes on.
Climate Change – I had no clue that the theory of man-made global warming from increased carbon emissions leading to world catastrophe would unravel so fast. I can remember being scared by elementary school teachers peddling the dangers of aerosol spray cans and the potential damages that the sun would inevitably inflict on us all in the near future. Well now that the O-Zone layer depleting scare is long gone, I should have known that it was time for the next. Even with the President, leaders of both the House and Senate, the EPA, the U.N., and most of the media fully behind the idea of man-made global warming from increased carbon emissions, the theory is falling like a house of cards. From emails exposed in the little reported Climate Gate scandal, to the recent IPCC admissions, Global Warming (which turned into climate change a few years back) has turned into yet another example of liberals and environmentalists arrogantly threatening our country based on faulty science and radical ideologies. Although it may have been warmer in the middle ages, our elected leaders were attempting to pass Cap and Trade legislation that would have skyrocketed energy prices across the board, punished every manufacturing sector in our country, and dealt a crushing blow to business and consumers in a time of great recession. All based on a theory pushed by environmentalists that is anything but proven science. The fight against these near fraudulent scientists and environmentalist is nowhere near over, but thankfully for our economy, the EPA and Congress are being forced to back down for the time being.
Interpretation to Liberals; justice means they will level the playing field by legislating fairness to ensure equality of results. The idea of “justice” in and of itself is an entirely noble one; it’s the agenda behind the meaning and tactics used to force this form of equality that scares me. Salesmen for “Social Justice” can easily employ emotional rhetoric to stamp their point, often piggybacking on religious themes of moral philosophy and equality. Selling themselves as defenders of evil or spokesmen for the oppressed, they persistently define their opponents as greedy, biased and evil. Whether they are Insurance Companies, Wall Street Bankers, CEO’s, Pharmaceutical Companies, Conservatives, Christians or Jews, the left sells the idea that only they can lift the less fortunate out of poverty and oppression. To put forth the notion that common sense, hard work and dedication play some part into our own ability to achieve social or economic success is to undermine everything the left is working towards. If you have heard of a school getting rid of their grading system, or a class having 50 valedictorians, or a politician asking for people to “pay their fair share”, then you are already familiar with the idea of Social Justice.
In a recent article Thomas Sowell outlines an example that epitomizes true believers in Social Justice. In a Berkeley California school district, as in most school districts, there is an education gap between white and Asian students in comparison to their black and Hispanic counterparts. In an attempt to “narrow the achievement gap” a proposal was put forth to cut some Science teachers and in their place offer programs to help the underachievers. Instead of focusing on family structures, morality and study habits conducive to building strong students and people, many on the left would rather shrink the “achievement gap” by bringing those from the top down a few notches. To effectively spread the achievement around. Does that sound familiar?
In Sowell’s words, “Redistribution of material resources has a very poor track record when it comes to actually helping those who are lagging, whether in education, in the economy or elsewhere. What they need are the attitudes, priorities and behavior which produce the outcomes desired.”
Another version of justice the left uses to push its agenda is that of “Environmental or Climate Justice.” Like Social Justice, the theory is noble and mainstream, but in the hands of the left it will do irreversible damage to economies and peoples if allowed legitimacy and expansion. It’s meant to guarantee equal protection for all in regards to environmental laws and standards, ensuring safety for all citizens. But, what Environmental Justice now aims to do is recognize producing countries and regions for what the left thinks they are; polluters. Thus the basis for much of the Climate Change initiatives being pushed in the entire developed world. The producer slash polluter nations who are responsible for a disproportionate amount of carbon emissions are being asked to foot the bill for theoretical global warming damage inflicted upon less rich nations. Their theory is that us polluters have inexplicably damaged the world only due to our greed and unfair geographical advantages. This theory completely disregards the fact that our consumption and global trading have lifted more out of poverty and suffering in the past 30 years than any mandate on emissions ever will.
The examples I’ve stated here as well as on Part I are nowhere near exhaustive. Going forward I will revisit this topic providing more examples of language manipulation, but for now I would like close with a challenge; Provide me with examples where folks on the right wing of the political spectrum have effectively stolen language to push a political agenda, skirt a legitimate issue or marginalize their opponents.