Critique of (Im-)Pure Conservative Labels

Stupid Republicans are suckered every day into parroting leftist propaganda words, right?  But we conservatives, we’re too wily to fall for such leftist chicanery; we see right through their verbal malefactions every time.

Not.  Hate to break it to you, fellow conservatives: more often than we’d like to admit, conservatives are vortexed by leftist labels.  Whenever that happens, we help them to confer on their maldefined  misnomers a perennial place in the all-American vocabulary.

In what follows, I will identify a few of the most egregious leftist verbal booby traps.  I will also suggest a simple remedy that can “out” them in public for the shenanigans they are and dispatch them beyond the pale of acceptable American rhetoric.

Pro-choice: This label, used almost universally by conservatives, goes down with one knockout punch: a choice to do evil is never a morally legitimate choice.  Stick to “pro-abortion” because it’s a truthful label no matter how much leftists may pretend that they “oppose abortionpersonally.”  If your interlocutor insists that it’s perfectly OK to cast a living seven-month-gestated botched-abortion baby into the dumpster to die a slow, hideous death, perhaps the more incendiary “pro-murder-by-abortion” would be perfectly appropriate.

Fair: This word has been unconscionably manipulated by the left.  “Fair” is a perfect “wax nose” label: its common meaning is so ambiguous that it can be pummeled by leftists into any shape that suits their propaganda of the moment.  To make the word even more recondite, it isuntranslatable into one single word in any other language.  Yet conservatives who naively, earnestly long to reason together with leftists will sometimes make pathetic attempts to take back the label, like asking, “What do you mean by ‘fairness’?”  Conservatives, don’t even try this.  There’s only one option for this one: extirpate it from the English language.

Liberal: I just know I’ll catch a world of grief over this one.  Doesn’t every conservative use this label — even Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, etc.?  Yes, and that’s regrettable.  And no, it’s not enough to say you call them “liberals” just because that’s what they don’t want to be called.  In the last two centuries or so, the label “liberal” has had two distinct meanings that are ideologically antithetical, which only causes confusion.  In its place, I suggest the label “leftist” and its cognates.  This label is ours to define since it has never been appropriated as a self-label by any party or socio-political entity with which it has been associated.  I have a simple five-word definition to recommend, one that works every time it’s applied to Democrat policies: impose tyranny by deceitful means.  (Conservative alternative: enable liberty by truthful means.)

However, there’s even more we can do to stymie leftist language abuse.  Conservative writers and speakers who are wise to leftist word-tricks resort to a number of verbal and physical gestures to “ironize” leftist language.  In print, one can italicize or enquote a label for this effect; if speaking, one can preface the label with “so-called” or gesture in the air with the first two fingers of each hand when speaking the abominable word.  The trouble with these remedies is that they are one-medium-only — spoken or written — and, more importantly, they are almost always entirely too polite and generous to the leftist verbal maltreater.

Here’s a more effective maneuver.  Let’s start with a reference to conservatives’ favorite devil, Saul Alinsky, specifically to what is for conservatives probably the most infamous of his Rules for Radicals, #13: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”  My conservative rewording: Pick the [leftist] label, freeze it, suffixize it, and stigmatize it.  The left loves to pick word blossoms that seem lovely and innocent and then stealthily infuse them with their own agitprop while leaving the dictionary definition in the open for public camouflage.  Our suffix instantly exposes their covert scheme; the more droll and ridiculous the suffix is, the more effectively it kneecaps their label.

To demonstrate, let’s pick another precious leftist verbum sacrosanctum: “progressive,” the current number-one favorite leftist self-label.  Progressive: that sounds oh-so-full of goodness and sweetness and human advancement, doesn’t it?  Never mind that the label was abandoned by the middle of the twentieth century, when the American people had wised up to the real intentions of the earlier movement that first claimed it.  Well, it’s back, and it’s no prettier than it was the first time.  The fact is, there’s nothing of progress about the retrograde left of today.  It makes my teeth grind every time I hear a conservative speak their word “progressive” without even the feeblest attempt to ironize it as it so richly deserves.  We can broadcast the leftist lie concealed in the “progressive” label simply by suffixizing their word: progressivist.  By adding the -ist suffix, we strip the word of the very denotative meaning (“dedicated to progress”) that leftists rely on to disguise their real ideology and thereby cast suspicion on the label.  I sense that the luster is starting to disappear already.

The most outrageous stealth label invented by the left in recent decades surely has to be diversity.  To begin with, diversity, as disfigured as this word has become in the warm bear hug of the left, has nothing to do with diversity as it appears in any respectable dictionary.  The new diversity is the troll under the bridge — bullying, brainwashing, slavish conformity, tyranny, moneygrubbing, legalized favoritism.  It demands, under threat of public traducement and ostracism, that all the rest of us tolerate the intolerable — no, even more, that we warmly embrace and help to promote the intolerable.  The avatars of this meta-cultural curse have turned it into a formidable boot on the necks of the American people.  That’s the bad news.

The good news is this: the word lends itself splendidly to all manner of suffixizing which could — if applied by our people persistently, creatively, and in good humor — be the magic petard to desecrate and annihilate this demonic label in just a matter of months.  Try some examples: diversityism/-ist (you should always leave the “y” in there just to maximize the averseness), diversityranny/-tyrant, diversibully, diversitoxic, diversitopia, diversicrat, diversiphage (one who feeds off of diversityism; there are legions of such ones).  One of my favorites: diversiversity, the antithesis of university (the prefix uni- of course means one, united, as in e pluribus unum).  A diversiversity is a university that has sold its soul irredeemably to diversityism — e.g., Harvard Diversiversity, Columbia Diversiversity…this is a long list, folks, and there are very few major institutions of higher learning left anymore that we could in good conscience omit from it.

If some evening you find yourself sitting in front of your plasma TV all alone watching MSNBC — why you would be doing that other than for the sheer horror of it, I can’t imagine — and one of their left-lackey lickspittle hosts is infuriating you to the point of savagery, the above will be of no avail…but whatever you do, don’t reach for that brick.  Instead, resort to the “shmu” response: shout “fair shmair” or “diversity shmiversity” at the top of your lungs and keep shouting until your shaking stops.  It’s very cathartic…and much less expensive.

This post first appeared as an article in American Thinker on April 5, 2012.

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