Monday, August 10, 2015

The Age of Deceit.

This but a pale shadow of what the great George Orwell described in his essay, "Politics and the English Language." But consider this modest attempt to illustrate how thoroughly dishonest our politics are now. The Bible warns that nothing is new under the sun but I am of the firm opinion that the sheer volume of debased political terms in use today represents a level of dishonesty that even Orwell did not see in his time.

Here are a number of concocted, stitched-up, Wassermanized, Carvillized, SPLCized, DHSified, NYTicized, Wapoed stink bombs that are in common use today that I recorded merely from my casual recollection and two or three blog articles. In perusing this list, bear in mind that these are perilous times in which the ruling classes of the West demonstrate financial madness, strategic imbecility, and cowardice and hatred for their own that would have been inconceivable to our ancestors:

"Neo-Nazis," "war on women," "global warming," "climate change," "women's health," "hate speech," "gender," "racism," "domestic terrorist," "living Constitution," "patriarchy," "neo-colonialism," "undocumented immigrant," "border security," "border control," "comprehensive immigration reform," "broken immigration system," "path to citizenship," "living in the shadows," "structural racism," "carbon emissions," "alternative energy," "wetlands," "reproductive justice," "responsibility to protect," "nation building," "vote suppression," "community organizer," "emanations," "penumbras," "gay," "civil rights," "black lives matter," "welfare rights," "anti-Semitism," "inner city," "gay marriage," "multiculturalism," "diversity," "jobs Americans won't do," "refugee," "migrant," "asylum seeker," "border patrol," "deportation procedures," "Hispanic," "under-privileged," "progressive," "Dreamer," "white privilege," "extremist," "hater," "judgmental," "anti-racist," "religion of peace," "discrimination," "quantitative easing," "bipartisan," "Federal Reserve," "states' rights," "nation of immigrants," "United Nations," "denier," "trans-sexual," "homophobia," "disparate impact," "judicial review," "public-private partnership," "tax," "public use," "affirmative action," "free trade," "government shutdown," "single payer," "carbon credits," "kinetic military action," "McCarthyism," "right-wing," "far-right," "women in combat," "body man," "termination," "anchor baby," "gun violence," "gun control," "private email," "recovery," "unemployment rate," "good schools," "safe neighborhood," "bigot," "net neutrality," "Common Core," "gay rights," "propositional nation," "Judeo-Christian," "winter holiday," "rules of engagement," "medical advisory panel," "affordable housing," "red lining," "Tea Bagger," "wreckers," "stimulus," "sexist," "equal opportunity," "interstate commerce," "incorporation doctrine," "separation of church and state," "naming names (a/k/a exposing commie traitors)," "xenophobe," "nativist," "rape culture," "offensive," "microaggression," "white heteropatriarchial supremacy," "cis-gendered," "tumor," "healing," "globalism," "food desert," "birther," "youths," "teens," "men," "wrong place at the wrong time," "random attack," "anti-immigrant," "gun culture," "stray bullet," "urban renewal (a/k/a Negro removal)," "CO2 forcing," "equal outcomes," "free gift," "white Hispanic," "accidental attack," "international law," "holy Koran," "Islamic science," "moderate Muslim," "cultural enrichment," "net positive contribution," "shrinking Arctic ice cap," "consensus," "scarce skills," "debate is over," "critical theory," "capitalism," "natural born citizen," "anti-fascist," "too big to fail," "infrastructure," "investment," "misogynist," "college athlete," "criminal justice reform," "sentencing disparity," "police brutality," "theocracy," "war on terror," "radical Islam," "treaty," and "oath of office."
Those are 163 terms in common use in our political life that conceal, embody, sustain, or facilitate a lie or conceal, twist, or distort the truth. In short, in our political life we are awash in gibberish, lies, euphemisms, and pure smoke.

I am open to any dispute on whether any of these terms represent an honest attempt to describe the realities of our national life so that appropriate policies can be honestly discussed and implemented. Not a one is an honest term. Ours is an age of spin and evasion.

Nineteenth-century American political rhetoric was as rough as it gets though it surely can't have been as dishonest and manipulative as it is today. Whatever it was really like, it didn't have billion-dollar technical marvels of communication to disseminate it, and I doubt it was passed off with a straight face as constructive, intelligent, and honest commentary as the practitioners of the Big Lie would have it now. Every term above is the product of some kind of personal malignancy. A lust for political power and a disdain for traditional morality, intellectual integrity, representative government and white, European civilization.

Today, the development of and instant world-wide dissemination of political lies is big business and indicative of sick, dying nation. An honest, public debate is a virtual impossibility today except in the interstices of talk radio, Hulu, YouTube, the occasional cable TV channel, and the internet. Thank you Glenn Beck and Newsmax.

Rather than countenance this dishonesty we should take to heart the profound observation by Henry Miller in Tropic of Capricorn (1939):
For the first time I was talking to a man [Roy Hamilton] who got behind the meaning of words and went to the very essence of things. For the first time I felt I was talking to a philosopher, not a philosopher such as I had encountered through books, but a man who philosophized constantly—and who lived this philosophy which he expounded. That is to say, he had no theory at all, except to penetrate to the very essence of things and, in the light of each fresh revelation to so live his life so that there would be a minimum of discord between the truths which were revealed to him and the exemplification of these truths in action.
Measured by this standard, the political and intellectual leaders of today are seen to care nothing for the truth.

They disgrace the ground on which they walk.

4 comments:

  1. Many of the terms you list were once useful, meaningful terms. They helped to convey an idea; they had real meaning. The problem is that, today, they have been robbed of their original meaning and either mean something different or they mean nothing at all.

    As an example, the term "inner city" once referred to the innermost part of a large city, often the oldest section of the city. Today it has been bastardized to mean any slum, new or old, located in any part of the city. Moreover, today it implicitly means an area deprived of social services (police, fire protection, medical facilities, etc.) and inhabited exclusively by minorities. These things may all be true, or they may not, but this burden has been added to the term.

    You also mention "youths" and "teens." Originally, this mean someone between 13 and 20 years of age. Today it is a euphemism for violent young people, up to about age 35, and almost without exception from minority populations.

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  2. Even teens "and" "youths" are unobjectionable terms still useful in other usages. The difficulty is if they are used to avoid describing the full reality.

    The posse after Trump demonstrate this approach. Trump, they say, is or is not a good choice because of ____. What isn't happening is an identical focus on all the other candidates. Their weaknesses and tired policy ideas go unmentioned. But every mote in Trump's eye is noted and emphasized.

    Similarly, Megan Kelly made the second question of the "debate" a gotcha question about whether Trump is part of the supposed "war on women." Open borders, war in Syria, pending fiscal disaster, China's and Japan's failing economies, the escalating turmoil in Europe, the goading of Russia, the obvious failure of the so-called civil rights movement including soaring black crime and "inner city" riots, and 94M Americans out of work are issues that all candidates should be called on to address but, no, Kelly went straight to a trivial issue.

    It's like trying to get a straight answer out of Allan Colmes. Or Wasserman-Schultz, who wouldn't answer the question about the difference between Dems and socialists. She slithered around and then tried to answer the question as though it was about the difference between Dems and Republicans.

    Strange times. This kind of evasion and manipulation has no downside for its practitioners.

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  3. Garet Garrett on the New Deal-

    The revolutionary historian will be much less impressed by the fact that it was peacefully accomplished than by the marvelous technique of bringing it to pass not only within the traditional form but within the word, so that people were all the while fixed in the delusion that they were talking about the same things because they were using the same words. Opposite and violently hostile ideas were represented by the same words. This was the American people’s first experience with dialectic according to Marx and Lenin.
    They had forgotten their Aristotle. More than 2,000 years ago he wrote of what can happen within the form, when “one thing takes the place of another, so that the ancient laws will remain, while the power will be in the hands of those who have brought about revolution in the state.”

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  4. The great Garrett was onto the reality of the New Deal from the start.

    That great quotation "none dare call it treason ..." is about the same thing.

    In our own time I think we have achieved fascism, a sort of pseudo capitalism. "Capitalism" is much derided among leftists but it's a shell of the original.

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