Out in the further reaches of the critical theory left, the necessity of denying objective reality extends to language itself. The deep-dish post-modernists declaim that language is just another subjective tool of the (white) power structure. Whenever I hear such drivel, I usually ask not only why are we having this argument, but how are we having this argument? (And if there is nothing but power in the world, I like to say: “Fine. How many guns you lefties got? Because I’ve got lots of them.” That’s when the whole subject is usually changed or dropped.)
It should not surprise us, then, that “progressives” (the new term for “liberals” since modern liberals have discredited liberalism) are obsessed with language, and think that merely changing words will change minds. George Lakoff has made a lucrative cottage industry out of this.
The latest entry in the glossolalia of progressivism is this post about how we need to ditch “big business,” “entitlements,” “free market capitalism,” “government spending,” and other hardy perennials. Some of the suggestions include:
(1). Big Business: (Also referred to as: Corporate America; Multinationals; Corporate Interests) When we use any of these words, we automatically sound pie-in-the-sky liberal. People think, “what’s wrong with that?” After all, they’d like their own businesses to get “big” and have no negative associations with the words “corporate” or “multinational” — which actually sound kind of exciting and worldly. Instead, progressives can try: Unelected Government. This puts big, global, multinationals in their proper context as unelected entities with unprecedented powers, whose actions have immense impact on our lives, and which we are powerless to hold accountable.
(2). Entitlements: I keep hearing reporters from National Public Radio and other liberal news outlets use the word “entitlements” and it makes me froth at the mouth. They’re not “entitlements” — which sounds like something a bunch of spoiled, lazy, undeserving people irrationally think they should get for nothing. Instead, we progressives should try: Earned Benefits. . .
(4). Government Spending: (Also referred to as: Taxes, Burden, and Inconvenient) Conservatives talk about “government spending” like it’s this awful thing, but the fact is, communities across America benefit from U.S. tax dollars, especially supposedly anti-government red states, which receive way more federal tax money than they contribute. Instead, progressives should try: Investing in America. Because, that’s what our federal tax dollars do.
(11). The Environment: When people talk about “the environment,” they often sound annoyingly self-righteous, as if lecturing people with dubious hygiene practices. Unfortunately, you can’t count on people to make environmentally friendly choices — especially when people are struggling financially and these choices cost significantly more. Instead, we progressives can try: Shared Resources.
(12). Welfare: When conservatives talk about “welfare,” they make it sound like this pit people wallow in forever, rather than a source of help that’s available when we need it – and that we pay for through our taxes. The majority of us need help at one time or another. Instead, progressives should try: Social Safety Net: When people think of a safety net, they’re more likely to think of a protection of last-resort, and one that they can instantly bounce out of like circus acrobats.
The ironic part about the embrace of “safety net” is that Ronald Reagan revived this terminology, and back in the 1980s many liberals didn’t like it. For one this, it implies that redistribution should not be the object of social policy, but that is in fact the deepest goal of the left. Heh.