This page is about the controversy over redefining and/or prohibiting certain words for political purposes, just
like in "1984", and other arguments about free speech versus political correctness. More and more
words are being essentially banned from public speech because a few people have an emotional aversion to
For example, vagrants who might have been called "drunks" or "hobos" in 1960 would probably be called "homeless"
today, implying that they're exactly the same as anyone else except for their lack of a permanent address. No,
in almost every case, homeless people are homeless for very good reasons. Words are important tools, and
when useful tools are outlawed, an entire society suffers.
You may also be interested in my
handy translation table, for
converting liberal doubletalk into plain English.
Missing Word in the Immigration Debate. Of course, liberals are famous for chanting
catchphrases, such as "war on women" or "equality", so incessantly that it takes an effort to
remember their falsity. (They have even tried to brand opponents of illegal immigration as
"nativist", which they hoped would be equated to "racist".) But there's a deeper and subtler way by
which words can breed bias. Liberals choose words that convey subconscious meanings, which they hope
will become universally accepted. [...] Note the strident insistence with which liberals demand that we say
"reproductive rights" instead of "abortion", "gender" instead of "sex", and "undocumented" instead of
"illegal". Each of these word choices hides some aspect of an issue that liberals want to keep hidden.
3 Problems with Today's Obamacare Excuse.
The latest, and probably most durable defense of Obamacare's launch trouble appeals to the ancient liberal urge to redistribute. Pushed
by semi-official Obamacare spinner Jonathan Gruber, this line most recently suffused a piece by John Harwood on the New York Times front
page. The idea is basically that Obamacare is secretly redistributive. Obama can't use the term lest he scare the right, says
Modern Sophists, Ancient Trade.
[Scroll down] Similarly, nowadays government spending is termed investment, illegal racial preferences are called affirmative action,
abortion is about reproductive justice and the right to privacy, stealing from one person and giving to another is justified as public
welfare or redistribution of income, brainwashing is called sensitivity training, leadership is from behind, wanting to improve your own
lot and that of your family is selfish greed, amongst an endless parade of Orwellian nonsense that assaults us on a daily basis.
Rules Delayed as White House Slows Reviews. The White House has blocked several Department of Energy regulations that would
require appliances, lighting and buildings to use less energy and create less global-warming pollution, as part of a broader slowdown of
new antipollution rules issued by the Obama administration.
Global warming is not pollution. Neither is global cooling. Global warming is merely an excuse to expand the federal
government -- even though global
warming stopped sometime around 1998.
Gore: Global Warming a
'Threat to Our Survival' Just Like World War II. Comparing "global warming" to World War II, former Vice President Al Gore
said America should "mobilize" to combat climate change and put a "price on carbon pollution." [...] "We can save 90 percent of the
energy saved being used in most buildings — 25 to 30 percent of all the global warming pollution in the world comes
from poorly insulated, poorly constructed buildings. The retrofitting of our buildings and our infrastructure, that's the way to
create jobs and the installation of the renewable energy systems."
The Editor says...
There's "global warming pollution" canard again.
A Gender-Neutral Army. Political language exists to
destroy meaning and to make unpopular policies seem popular by associating them with the very opposite of what they are. Taxes are
opportunities. Spending is stimulus. Amnesty is reform. The left is as good at language as it is bad at governing. It
can't change reality, but it excels at changing the description of reality. Common sense is the enemy of the left and the left defeats
common sense by corrupting language so that nothing makes sense and common sense can never come into play.
The Collapsing of the American Skull. One of the most ingenious and effective
strategies of the Left on any number of topics is to frame the debate and co-opt the language so effectively that it becomes all but impossible even to
discuss the subject honestly.
It's the Language, Stupid. Those who follow
politics and government know that progressivism is just warmed-over Marxism. But because Marxism never became a big seller in the United
States, its proponents have had to sugarcoat the language they use to promote their ideological bent. As it turns out, they for a second
time turned to the past for help and, knowingly or unknowingly, borrowed the phrase "social justice," which was coined in 1840.
From Dehumanizing Word Games to Gosnell.
It starts with the perversion of language. It starts when the icons of a dissipated culture reduce a baby to a "fetus." From there, Yeats's blood-dimmed tide
rolls rapidly in. Before long, a baby is not a person but a punishment, as President Barack Obama framed the matter in his familiar off-the-cuff iciness.
Of course, to describe newborn children in their boundless possibilities and wonder would be to acknowledge, foremost, their humanity. That is why, instead,
abortion enthusiasts must grope for words when circumstances force them to speak publicly about their gruesome business.
On Abortion, the
'Gruesome' Is Only to Be Done, Not Spoken Of. As we've seen in countless contexts (abortion becomes "choice," marriage
becomes "[hyphenated-]marriage," tax becomes "revenue," spending becomes "investment," etc.), the Left is simply better at the language
game than we are. That is the nature of the beast. Progressives are trying to transform, we are trying to conserve; they are
forever thinking of strategies to move the culture away from its traditions, we are standing athwart, yelling, "Stop!"
Kerry: 'We Call It Earth, but
It Could Well Have Been Called Ocean'. Describing himself as "a child of the ocean," Secretary of State John Kerry warned
that the "fragile ecosystem" is threatened by climate change. "We call this beautiful planet that we are privileged to inhabit for
a short period of time — we call it Earth, but it could well have been called Ocean because three-quarters of it is
ocean," Kerry told a gathering at the National Geographic Society in Washington on Monday [3/18/2013].
The Editor says... We call it earth, because
that's what the Bible calls it. It comes as no surprise that Mr. Kerry doesn't know that.
If There's 'Nuance,' You're Being Had. Clear speaking and clear writing are foundational to
clear thinking. These concepts do not imply a crude command of language or understanding, but rather
a solid command of thought. Unfortunately, clarity of expression is too often confused with primitiveness,
and obscurity (or even gibberish) is too often confused with sophistication (or the dreaded nuance).
These confusions are especially common in liberals and so-called intellectuals.
Post: Aborting Our Children Will Save the Planet. For decades, the term "family planning" has
been a euphemism for "abortion" to abortion proponents. Echoing Humpty-Dumpty, when the left "uses a
word, it means just what [they] choose it to mean, neither more nor less." So, with twists in language,
"homosexual behavior" is called "gay lifestyle," "sex outside marriage" is termed "freedom," and "killing
babies" is called "family planning."
The Gray Area Between
Black and White. Euphemisms are going to be the death of us because their usage tends to transmogrify
reality. If you are a citizen of this country, the United States is your home! When someone breaks
into your home, he should be referred to as a lawbreaker, not stroked and coddled like a lost pet that strayed
into your yard. Would a burglar, walking along the street with your television on his shoulder, be called
an undocumented shopper? By what stretch of the imagination is the word "illegal" a term that describes
hatred for an ethnic group? Let's get real! The fact is that these are red herring tactics used by
those trying to defend an indefensible position.
Obama and the Call
for 'Economic Justice'. Historically, social justice has meant different things to different
people, and equally so today, where the term remains as frustratingly elusive as ever — an ambiguity
to the left's advantage. Like the progressives who champion the term, the definition seems to evolve
based on progressives' ever-evolving purposes. Like progressivism itself, "social justice" is hard
to pin down. Most exasperating is that many who speak the language of social justice really mean
Are Really 'Oppressives'. [Scroll down] Never adopt your opponent's use of the word
"choice." Instead, use the word "abortion" — or better yet, "no choice." Certainly the
unborn gets no choice. Never let them use "fairness," as in "fairness doctrine"; instead, use the word
"unfairness." Never let them use the term "social justice"; instead, use the term "social control."
Never let them use "working poor" because that assumes that only poor people work. Never let them use
"climate change"; instead, say "climate hoax."
Communism Have as Bad a Name as Nazism? Why is it that when people want to describe particularly evil
individuals or regimes, they use the terms "Nazi" or "Fascist" but almost never "Communist?" Given the amount
the human suffering Communists have caused — 70 million killed in China, 20-30 million in the
former Soviet Union, and almost one-third of all Cambodians; the decimation of Tibetan and Chinese culture;
totalitarian enslavement of North Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Russians; a generation deprived of human
rights in Cuba; and much more — why is "Communist" so much less a term of revulsion than "Nazi?"
In order for us morons on the right to understand the newspeak of the Obama administration I offer this
glossary of terms before and after being "Obamized." Feel free to add to my list while you are still
Seeking to Save the Planet, With a
Thesaurus. The problem with global warming, some environmentalists believe, is "global warming."
The term turns people off, ... [so] Instead of grim warnings about global warming, the firm advises, talk
about "our deteriorating atmosphere." Drop discussions of carbon dioxide and bring up "moving away from
the dirty fuels of the past." Don't confuse people with cap and trade; use terms like "cap and cash back"
or "pollution reduction refund."
Democrats' Unconstitutional Plot to
Invent New Congressmen. Right now, in the guise of a civil rights issue, the new
Congress is attempting one of the most brazenly unconstitutional power grabs in our nation's
history. The move aims to create a new class of congressman and simply add the first of
these to the 435 existing members of the United States House of Representatives.
Abortion and Orwell: "War Is
Peace." "Freedom is Slavery." "Ignorance is Strength." These slogans are spoken in
Newspeak, the fictional language of George Orwell's twisted utopia in 1984. By removing meaning from words and
increasing state control over speech-and thought-Newspeak is designed to manipulate those who hear it. In California,
Newspeak is now spoken fluently by those who seek to advance a political agenda in healthcare by avoiding scrutiny.
What Kind of Person
Calls Himself 'Progressive'? The word Progressive first became popular in the late 19th century,
but has now been adopted as a popular synonym for "socialism." Americans tend not to like socialism,
associating it with the Soviet Union and other bad characters. But "Progressivism" sounds fine.
So it is a euphemism for something people fear; a cover-up label. The odd thing, of course, is that real
progress in the world is almost never achieved by self-proclaimed "Progressives." They generally
make things worse rather than better.
Obama's Amerikkka Corps: [Scroll
down] On the Obama campaign page devoted to the fellowships, Obama himself appears on a brief video saying
the program will "train a new generation of leaders that will not only help us win this election but help us
revive democracy in communities all across the country." Hold on a moment there. America may have
its faults, but does Obama really believe it doesn't have enough democracy already? The answer is both
yes and no, because left-wing extremists like Obama don't use the word democracy the way other Americans do.
To radical leftists, democracy is a coded word for socialism.
the Language to Assure Liberal Dominance. A misleading recent headline in the New York Times
demonstrated the way that the left abuses the language to cement its continued control of our public discourse.
Under the banner "EVOLUTION OPPONENT IS IN LINE FOR SCHOOLS POST" reporter Cornelia Dean declared: "The
National Association of State Boards of Education will elect officers in July, and for one office,
president-elect, there is only one candidate: a member of the Kansas school board who supported its
efforts against the teaching of evolution."
The Bobbie Jo Stinnett case: From
fetus to baby. This is a horrific crime that, like the Scott Peterson
case, opens an uncomfortable window into our culture's tortured reasoning on anything
related to unborn life. During the coverage of the crime, the status of the
Bobbie Jo Stinnett's unborn girl steadily changed. … [A] "fetus" — something
for which American law and culture has very little respect — was somehow instantly
transformed into a "baby" and "infant" — for which we have the highest respect. By
what strange alchemy does that happen?
On the use and abuse of
labels. Liberals don't usually call conservatives merely "conservatives." That's because
the term, standing alone, is not a pejorative. Instead, we are "extremists," "bigots," "homophobes,"
"racists" and "intolerant." And these labels, unlike the conservatives' general invocation of "liberal,"
are usually gross distortions.
euphemisms. Educationese continues to favor words that cloak failure; so as not
to impair self-esteem "Negative gain" sometimes appears as a description of falling test
scores. A number of schools have eliminated "F" as a mark, and "suboptimal outcome"
means failure. In Britain members of the Professional Association of Teachers suggested
that schools drop the word fail.
kills off 'husbands' and 'wives' . Labour has removed the traditional terms
"husband", "wife" and "spouse" from a wide range of official forms, and replaced them with
the word "partner". Civil servants at Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, which is
responsible for tax collection, yesterday [11/17/2007] admitted the new term was a
convenient "catch-all" and a part of "modern language". The move is said to take into
consideration the range of relationships that now have a legal standing.
Leftist Terminology For The
Next Two Years: We all know that the one thing Democrats can never do is be honest about their
agenda. To make the items in their liberal agenda more palatable, they have to couch their true
intentions in weasel words that attempt to mask the true liberalism that lies beneath.
Just Forget the Word 'Earmark'. The more than 32,000 earmarks requested in the Homeland Security
spending bill have roiled the House this week, and now Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) wants the word 'earmark'
to just go away. In a Tuesday press conference about appropriation bills, Pelosi said, "Why don't we leave
here today forgetting the word earmark?" She said they should be called "legislative directives" instead.
Liberals Spread Poverty: It's called a "surcharge." You and I would call it a tax
increase. One more way and reason for the political class to take even more of the money that you and I
slave for by slugging it 9 to 5 everyday. In their funny little semantic sideshow this
"surcharge" would be their answer to resolving the problem of the "alternative minimum tax."
wants to ban 'illegal alien'. A state legislator whose district is home to thousands of Caribbean
immigrants wants to ban the term "illegal alien" from the state's official documents.
Bill To Outlaw the
Term "Illegal Alien". The prominent state senator who vigorously fought to restore felon voting
rights and later hosted a fundraising event for a convicted fellow lawmaker has introduced legislation to ban
the term "illegal alien" because she finds it offensive.
Liberal use of
language: Officials of that great bastion of liberalism — the European
Union — reportedly want to replace the term "Islamic terrorism" with "terrorists who
abusively invoke Islam."
closer to eliminating 'retarded' from law. South Carolina law is on its way to becoming more
up-to-date in the way that it refers to individuals who have special needs. On Thursday [4/14/2011]
the Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee voted to get rid of references to the "mentally retarded" and use
instead "persons with intellectual disability."
would remove 'idiots' from Ohio code. Bills introduced in both the House and Senate would remove
outdated terms once used to describe the mentally ill from the Ohio Revised Code. Ohio Advocates for Mental
Health came across the word "idiot" while researching state law 18 months ago, chief executive Doug DeVoe
said. A search of an electronic version of the law revealed other words now considered to be offensive.
The Editor says...
Political correctness requires that dictionaries must be scrubbed, filtered and sanitized to avoid hurt
feelings. The word idiot used to be a perfectly legitimate term to describe a person of profound
mental retardation having a mental age below three
offensiveness has resulted from the chronic misuse of terms like idiot, imbecile, and
moron by people with limited vocabularies. (I regret that some of the blame goes to
the Three Stooges.)
How to Speak
Liberal: Start by obfuscating. The most striking recent example is Democratic
representative John Murtha's plan to "redeploy" American troops from Iraq. His idea, of course, is to
pull all the troops out as soon as possible. But "redeploy" makes it sound like a tactical maneuver
rather than a move to retreat, to give up, to cut and run. Other Democrats have adopted the word.
dictionary. Secular speak is a way of making nasty things sound nice, rather
like applying lipstick to a pig. After the application, the pig is still ugly and smells
bad. So it is with secular principles supporting immorality and the culture of death.
The Fascists Among Us.
It's no secret that hurling names about is as common in the political world as it is in a grammar school
playground. One oft-used pejorative is "fascist," which, along with racist, sexist, homophobe
and others, tends to be least understood by those who utter it most. And because these damning terms
are used wantonly, more to discredit than describe, they tend to be misapplied.
The Left hurts the
battle against torture, rape and other evils. In the past, when I heard that a woman had been
raped, I recoiled in horror. Not any more. Now, my first reaction is, "What happened to her?"
One has to ask that question because the feminist left has redefined the word "rape" to the point where, unless
you know the specifics, you don't know if a woman was violently forced into sexual intercourse or had engaged
in sex that she regretted the following morning. For the latter is one of the definitions of "rape" that
the feminist movement uses and has disseminated. That is how the figure "one in four" women having been
raped was derived.
Culture of Deceptive Words. I'm
an 82-year old World War II vet, and retired university professor. In the course of my lifetime I've
witnessed and continue to see increasing manipulation of words, word games, in order to deceive,
influence and control the public.
vocabulary: A recent angry e-mail from a reader said that certain issues should not be determined
by "the dictates of the market." With a mere turn of a phrase, he had turned reality upside down.
are indulging in class warfare by another name. Somebody should write a doctoral thesis
about the sort of language that terrorists use when they try to justify what they have done. The
thought occurred to me yesterday, when I read the threatening letter sent to golf clubs in and around
Somerset by the bunch of fanatics who have just ripped up five greens at the Park course near Bath.
Guests or gate
crashers: Immigration is yet another issue which we seem unable to discuss
rationally — in part because words have been twisted beyond recognition in political rhetoric. We
can't even call illegal immigrants "illegal immigrants." The politically correct evasion is
"undocumented workers." Do American citizens go around carrying documents with them when they
work or apply for work? Most Americans are undocumented workers but they are not illegal
immigrants. There is a difference.
Rule Attempted to Alter Definitions of "Fetus" and "Child": The regulation, which was cleared by
the Clinton administration on January 17, but then postponed by the Bush administration, states that a newborn
is still considered a "fetus" until it is determined the baby will live by "independently maintaining a
heartbeat and respiration." Only when this determination is made is the baby considered a "child,"
according to the rule.
Homosexual Orwellian Newspeak:
Activist homosexuals have done an effective job of destroying the real meaning of "discrimination." Every
day you see the word "discrimination" in your local newspapers, mainstream magazines, and on television.
And every time this word is used in association with homosexual activism, it is used in a negative
context. We are being repeatedly told that it is wrong to "discriminate" against homosexuals who are
typically compared to blacks as a persecuted minority. Anyone who attempts to criticize homosexuals for
their deviant sexual practices is compared to a member of the KKK, or a Neo-Nazi group.
From the "Leftspeak Dictionary," here is Sen. Barbara Boxer
on partial-birth abortion: "That this Constitution as it currently is -- some want to amend it to say
life begins at conception. ... I am not willing to amend the Constitution to say that a fetus is a
person. ..." Sen. Barbara Boxer on trees: "We are talking about God's creations that we have a
responsibility to protect. This is Mojave National Preserve's Joshua trees. We have to
move to protect them."
The New Language: Like bums and hobos,
jungles and swamps have disappeared as well. Today's political agenda has given them new names.
They're now rainforests and wetlands.
None Dare Call It Fascism.
Fascism places the responsibility for the economy on business, which is rendered seemingly private, with the
facade of private ownership. The result of both socialism and fascism is the same: the destruction
of economic freedom, replacing the individual's choice of how to make a peaceful, honest living with state edicts.
Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself: By
raising the hint of an unpopular consequence — be it increased drug use or 'monopolization' of
industry — government officials are able to expand their control over society without having to
rationally defend their premises and ideas.
Case for Being Insensitive: It is curious that Americans, who with each passing year become less
concerned about good manners and etiquette, become ever more concerned with sensitivity in speech. It is
okay to be a slob at the dinner table. It is okay to go out in public half dressed. It is even
okay - some would have us believe - to use four-letter words in mixed company. But never, never say
something political that will hurt the feelings of another human being.
How Poor Are America's Poor? According
to the US Census Bureau, 36 million Americans are "living in poverty." Can this alarming claim really
be true? The simple answer is: No.
Than Censor "Archie," Let's Face Facts: An undiscussed danger of political
correctness is that when we censor our speech, we censor our thoughts. And if we refuse
to think about the problems and root causes of the ills of our society, rather than merely
attempting to smooth-over their manifestations, we'll never face and cure them.
The Virtue of Individualism: The
committee gave me an ultimatum: change the speech topic completely and write about what
the committee wanted me to write about, or "resign" from the speaking position. I remained
firm to my decision not to change the idea of my speech.
Hate Speech from the Left: "It's hard not
to notice that political discussion over the last decade has increasingly degenerated into name-calling,"
Brian Anderson wrote in the Manhattan Institute's City Journal last year. "The insults most often come
from the left: 'racist,' 'homophobe,' 'sexist.'… It has become a habit of left-liberal political argument
to … redefine mainstream conservative arguments as extremism and bigotry. Close-minded and uncivil,
this tendency betrays what's liberal in liberalism."
Broadway Play Ruffles PC
Crowd: Today's politically correct atmosphere means it would be impossible today to produce films
today that were made as recently as the 1970s. "The Producers" is a case in point. People today
object to it, but it is an update of a Mel Brooks 1968 release.