Politics & Policy

Fight Liberal Word Games

Don’t let them get away with defining, and redefining, the debate.

In her book Statecraft, the late, great British prime minister Margaret Thatcher wrote: “Socialists have always spent much of their time seeking new titles for their beliefs, because the old versions so quickly become outdated and discredited.”

The Iron Lady was absolutely right, yet again.

America’s Democratic Left craftily swaps the words associated with its policies. As public opinion or the facts start to escape them, presto! Their speeches, articles, and TV appearances employ new language. Leftists leave inconvenient lingo behind, like a snake’s abandoned skin languishing between desert rocks. Inexplicably, though, the Republican Right usually adopts the Left’s new parlance. This inadvertently advances the collectivist cause.

For instance, Leftists understand that the word “liberal” telegraphs bloated, intrusive government at home; a blame-America-first posture overseas; and social programs propelled by victimology. Defining candidates as liberals often assures their defeat.

So a few years ago, liberals started to call themselves “progressives.”

Ah, much better! Everyone loves progress.

One cannot blame the Left for this linguistic sleight-of-hand. After all, they like to win elections, too. What is maddening is that conservative advocates unwittingly aid liberals in this rhetorical jailbreak. Too many officeholders and pundits on the right chomped into the Left’s bait and began calling them progressives.

This habit is totally counterproductive.

If a bank robber wants to avoid capture, do not help him remove the outfit he wore to the heist. Likewise, conservatives immediately should stop calling Leftists “progressives.” If statists spurn the liberal label, staple it to their lapels.

Likewise, since data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites confirm that Earth’s average temperature stopped rising in 1997, liberals quit banging the “global warming” drum. Instead, they ring the “climate change” bell. This has the priceless advantage of encompassing all unusual weather. Three feet of snow in upstate New York over Memorial Day weekend? While this hardly sounds like “global warming,” liberals dub it “climate change” and argue for shuttering the coal industry — its 91,000 workers be damned.

Again, too many on the right unthinkingly help discredited global warmers like Obama by parroting the Left’s “climate change” terminology. Conservatives should drop “climate change.” Instead, they should challenge so-called global warming. Make environmentalists prove their previous contention — that Earth is warming, despite contradictory satellite observations, and not just changing its climate, as this planet does constantly, regardless of human activity.

Democrats these days rarely defend food stamps. There is something drably welfare-statist about that moniker. Instead, Obama and his fans now swoon for “SNAP.” The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is exactly the same thing. However, SNAP sounds fun, light, and breezy — like snapping one’s fingers. Here, too, Republicans now debate SNAP. Stop that! America’s food stamp population has ballooned 47.5 percent under Obama, from 32.2 million in January 2009 to 47.5 million last April. A snappy new name only makes food stamps more appealing and tougher to curb. 

Obama lately has promised to take “executive action” to “get around Congress,” when that pesky old legislative branch foolishly obstructs his enlightened agenda. Executive action is good. It trumps stasis. At least Obama is doing something. Of course, an executive action is nothing other than an executive order. Yuck! Orders sound bossy and perhaps a touch authoritarian — like decrees. So, conservatives should avoid “executive action” and, instead, greet skeptically any and every “executive order” that Obama contemplates.

Likewise, Rightists should address Obamacare, rather than the slowly disintegrating punchline called the “Affordable Care Act.”

It’s still “gun control,” especially when liberals sponsor “gun-safety legislation.”

Carbon dioxide helps plants thrive, as we humans exhale it. So, instead of attacking CO2, Obama now derides “carbon pollution.” This cleverly connotes charcoal dust falling from the skies.

And Obama’s spendaholism remains a national crisis, even though he praises “investment.”

So, when progressives oppose climate change and seek more investment in SNAP, Reaganites should reject such jargon. Instead, remind Americans that these are just liberals screaming about global warming and demanding more government spending on food stamps.

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.

Deroy Murdock — Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More