The Corner

A Contingency by Any Other Name . . .

Jonah, I’d be ok with it if they called it the “Freedom Crater” since that, eight years later, describes it more accurately. But on that same subject, my column this morning is on the Overseas Contingency Operation Against Anti-Islamic Activity (i.e., about the free danger to clear speech, not to be confused with today’s excellent NRO editorial on the clear danger to free speech). FWIW, my conclusion:

Saul Alinsky, Obama’s community-organizing inspiration, wrote at length about words in Rules for Radicals, about their power to inspire and to enervate. “In communication as in thought, we must ever strive toward simplicity” when it is our purpose to inspire. Such a purpose calls for “a determination not to detour around reality.” An opposite purpose, Alinsky writes, calls for an opposite approach. Avoid the “force, vigor, and simplicity” of the right word, and “we soon become averse to thinking in vigorous, simple, honest terms.” Instead, “We strive to invent sterilized synonyms.” Such “new words,” Alinsky taught, “mean something different, so that they tranquilize us, begin to shepherd our mental processes off the main, conflict-ridden, grimy, and realistic power-paved highway of life.”

Tranquilized, we will sleep. As we found the last time we tried this, our enemies won’t.


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