Sunday, November 6, 2011

Speech Codes are Thought Codes

I caught a bit of Rush's Weekend in Review, and he was playing excerpts of some guy on msnbc, can't remember his name, who was breaking down the conservative counterattacks responding to the left's assaults on Herman Cain.

In a picture-perfect example of psychological projection, this young man with one name succinctly and brilliantly accused the right of employing the politically-correct left's favorite tactic:  Marginalize your ideological opponents, putting them beyond the societal pale, so you do not have to engage them in debate.

That's what a charge of racism is all about.  Rightwing tea partiers are all racists, so their ideas can all be ignored.  They're not worthy of a response.  It's a convenient dodge employed by the ideologically indoctrinated and the intellectually bereft.

"Those who control the language control the debate."

Imposing speech codes, placing certain words off-limits, and declaring as "hate speech" the legitimate criticism of certain protected groups and programs are common contemporary versions of the age-old tactics Orwell warned us of so many years ago. 

He expounded upon Oceania's peculiar language, Newspeak, in a short essay, The Principles of Newspeak:
The purpose of Newspeak was [...] to make all other modes of thought impossible.
This involved "stripping" words of "unorthodox meanings," "eliminating undesirable words" and reducing the vocabulary.
Newspeak, indeed, differed from most all other languages in that its vocabulary grew smaller instead of larger every year. Each reduction was a gain, since the smaller the area of choice, the smaller the temptation to take thought.
In our own day, "racist" is a lazy epithet to be flung only at white conservatives.  Employ it in any other fashion not authorized by the cognoscenti, and the author will be met with either puzzlement or scorn.  You may as well call a cockroach a house slipper.  People of color (and the guilty white liberals who encourage such dangerous linguistic abuse) cannot.  Be.  Racist.  Period.

In the same vein, the word fascism cannot be used without causing an indignant uproar, even if the one using it can provide ten reasons and examples showing why the word is apt.  And God forbid you should criticize the collapsing panoply of federally-funded social services that have ushered us to the brink of bankruptcy.  That would make you a hater of minorities, the poor, and old people.

Thought corrupts language, language corrupts thought

In his essay, Politics and the English Language, Orwell observes...
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
[...]  But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely.
Successful speech codes create a self-censoring feedback loop.  Taking away words is the removal of the building blocks of thought, impoverishing it, which in turn further impoverishes our speech, which further impoverishes our thoughts...

We can break this cycle of language abuse by refusing to obey speech codes and fighting their implementation at every level.  Laughing in the faces of hollow ideologues spouting the latest liberal meme won't stop it, but it will break the spell and attract critical attention that is the antidote to pseudo-intellectual claptrap designed to quash critical thought and free speech.

* - I found the "control the debate" quote in Google Books - Disciplining Dissent - Bruneau & Turk

54 comments:

Ducky's here said...

You can cut the irony with a knife. A rabies radio listener complaining about Newspeak and this after you dropped most of American history down a memory hole.

Can't deal with the the fact that Pizza Man is not a capable candidate?

Ducky's here said...

In the same vein, the word fascism (socialism?) cannot be used without causing an indignant uproar.

Let's see, we could spends days discussing phrases the right has deployed such as "weapons of mass destruction" or "the liberal media".
The right in general isn't interested in any precise use of language.
Merely say "sharia" and you bark like freaking trained seals.

Sorry, Silverfiddle, but you don't often find the real hard core right capable of moving past a few canned memes.

conservativesonfire said...

Leftards are the most hypocrite of all political elements in society. But, they are very adept at hiding their hypocrisy. They sell themselves as the only political element that cares about people when their true cause is to lock-in voting blocks. They do this by creating "protected classes" of people and inventing "rights" that people do not constitutionally have. Controlling and distorting language is all part of this leftard scam. I like your idea of using ridicule against them because ridicule is one of their favorite tools they use against those who disagree with them.

Ducky's here said...

Here's an excellent example


I did comment but was banned.

Do you see anything rabid about claiming North Korea and Iran are behind #Occupy? I think that the critical point here is that you can uncritically accept this kind of insanity because you've been so thoroughly indoctrinated you have shut down critical thought.

I don't like the blanket claims of racism and bigotry but for you to say that this isn't an element withing the Bagger movement is a little naive. Do you have regular right wing posters who can write dispassionately about Islam or Israel? No.

We've lost our ability to converse and reason is nearly gone. The fact that you try to hang this entirely on the left indicates that you are willing to eat quite a bit of this crap.

republicanmother said...

We need a glossary of terms. The hard part is that the terms keep changing. This is true for leftist newspeak as well as conservative newspeak.

Always On Watch said...

"Those who control the language control the debate."

Anyone trained in policy debate know that fact. Trained in values debate -- not so much.

Silverfiddle said...

@ Ducky: Sorry, Silverfiddle, but you don't often find the real hard core right capable of moving past a few canned memes.

Yeah, you are sorry Ducky. You show up with preconceived tunnel vision and start slashing the straw men...

This is not about left and right, It's about language. Nowhere did I defend Herman Cain. Nowhere did I say the right is pristine and immune from such abuse of language.

Now go off and wallow in your partisan putrescence if you can't stick to the topic. Your team sport politics is boring and pointless.

amanofwonder said...

"This involved "stripping" words of "unorthodox meanings," "eliminating undesirable words" and reducing the vocabulary.

Newspeak, indeed, differed from most all other languages in that its vocabulary grew smaller instead of larger every year. Each reduction was a gain, since the smaller the area of choice, the smaller the temptation to take thought."

Heck of a deal you say.

I'll be the first Nazi to goose step up and march over to the Rosetta Stone site and grab a copy of the Newspeak version.

Does anybody here have Ducky's ship to address?

Z said...

Silverfiddle, that's exactly right. Your last paragraph resonates with me.

Ducky, while I'm flattered that you whine about being banned at geeeeZ here and at AOW's when it happens, which is too rare, I have to remind you that it's almost NEVER (and you know this) your thoughts which are banned but the way you say them, and I've warned you too many times.
It's MY BLOG, you can name call and belittle and insult all you want somewhere else, but not at my place.
When you can comment with "reason" and leave out the insults, you'll be slightly more welcome....intellectual claptrap in comments just wears my readers out.
Thanks!

Tom said...

Ducky whines because, well, he's a duck ... not a drake.

Finntann said...

I'll ignore most of the political rhetoric attached to Ducky's thoughts and address a few of his more valid points.

WMD: Ducky has a point here, and we really don't have a precise definition of the term WMD and it appears to be seriously misused.

From a military perspective a WMD is a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear device capable of causing significant casualties. This definition comes from US Code Title 50 > Chapter 40 > Sec. 2302, and although the term 'significant' is undefined, the definition implies mass casualties on the order of thousangs if not tens of thousands or more.

For criminal prosecutions under Title 18 Chapter 44, the definitions used are from Section 921 resulting in members of the rightwing group Hutaree being charged with the attempted use of WMDs (pipe bombs).

As horrendous as the results may be, at least in my humble opinion a pipe bomb or even a car bomb does not meet the criteria of a 'weapon of mass destruction'. Sorry, but slighlty more than a quarter ounce of explosives can not produce a "significant casualties" whether wielded by a domestic group or even Al Qaeda.

From a military perspective, while dropping a Mk84 2000 lb bomb on Yankee stadium during a game and producing thousands of casualites. The use, while a violation of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC), would not be considered use of a weapon of mass destruction.

What the term "WMD" does do is inflame passions, although personally, if sitting on a jury listening to a prosecuter talk about WMDs, I'd be laughing my ass off when he produced a pipe bomb.

WMD is a term full of dark overtones, fear, and visions of Nagasaki or Halabja. Imagine my surprise when I realized that instead of Lucifer or Mestophales, the archvillian of the criminal code is more akin to the Staypuff Marshmallow man of Ghostbusters.

From the DOJ website:

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, a citizen of Saudi Arabia and resident of Lubbock, Texas, was arrested late yesterday by FBI agents in Texas on a federal charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction in connection with his alleged purchase of chemicals and equipment necessary to make an improvised explosive device (IED) and his research of potential U.S. targets.

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/February/11-nsd-235.html

Sorry, but at least in my mind charging someone with the "attempted use of weapons of mass destruction" for an IED is the equivalent of charging John Wayne Gacy with Genocide.

Finntann said...

Ducky said: "I don't like the blanket claims of racism and bigotry but for you to say that this isn't an element withing the Bagger movement is a little naive."

Are there racists within the Tea Party movement? Sure. Are there racists within the OWS movement? Undoubtedly.

The fact is, neither makes either organization a 'racist' organization.

The charges of racism here are disingenuous, they are levied not to address a problem of racism but to discredit ones opponents and inflame the opposition.

Are you Racist? Give some consideration to this thought... if the previous 43 presidents had been black... would Barrack Obama be the first white president?

Cheers!

Ducky's here said...

Well Finntann, clearly if whites were a racial minority with a history of oppression the election of a white president would clearly be significant. No need to play the little sophist.

Much more important is to realize that his race meant little. He continues to govern as a right of center corporatist and that is going to haunt us.

Actually, you may want to reflect on the matter that you brought the topic up at all.

Z said...

Finntann...I agree about WMD.....I do have trouble with the pipe bomb/IED thing when a friend's nephew just lost both legs and his left arm in Afghanistan 2 weeks after his marriage...but you're right, that's not MASS, is it.

The Kurds were gassed and while the left doesn't like to acknowledge that as WMD because it could give credence to our CIA's findings, I'd say 300,000 dead or more is pretty mass. The Left will be the first to say they were put in MASS graves.

Ducky's here said...

Yeah, you are sorry Ducky. You show up with preconceived tunnel vision and start slashing the straw men...
---------------
Not true at all Silverfiddle. Let's look at your first paragraph and its major assumption.

"the left's assaults on Herman Cain."

Now just what "left" assault and what does a "left" assault look like?
Do we know who dimed out Cain? No, but he seems to think it was perry and a Republican candidate would have more to gain than the left.
If the left got the tip on Cain's shenanigans they would surely sit on it until it was clear he's the contender. So right there you are speaking in the standard right wing politically correct fashion of assuming the left is responsible for everything.

What "attacks" have come have been because of his complete bungling of the matter and it is a legitimate story.
You stack this incompetence along with his curious statements on other matters and you don't get the picture of a man who ever felt he was running a serious campaign. More like a lark as in 2000 (or was it 2004 he ran). He just isn't a competent campaigner and he is not prepared.

Right now John Huntsman is demanding Herman come clean on the accusations and Herman's response is that he refuses to answer any questions. That GUARANTEES that the press will keep probing because they legitimately assume he could be hiding something.

The right always talks about personal responsibility until it is time to take some.

Jersey McJones said...

When you look at the voter and immigration laws being passed in the South, and the impetus from the Tea Party to make those laws, that if proof of the culture of racism in the Tea Party. When you look at their insanely hyperbolic caricatures of Obama, from the very beginning, that is proof of racism in the Tea Party.

Beyond just the Tea Party, but coming from the Right in general - the drug war is racist, our immigration policies are racist, our foreign policies are racist.

Racism remains a very serious problem in America, and most of it comes from the Right.

There's no arguing that. That's not "newsspeak" or "codespeak" or a "dog whistle." It is reality.

Anyone who says otherwise deluded, ignorant, or a liar. Period.

JMJ

Z said...

I know, Ducky, and CLinton took such personal responsibility when he poked his fingers in our faces thru the television and told us he was innocent of sex "with that woman".
And John Edwards took such responsibility when he charged his campaign for expenses involving a girlfriend ...
But, it's really boring and gets nobody anywhere to do the 'can you top this?' thing bloggers are want to do.

Meanwhile your bunch is teaching kids that personal responsibility is going to the government for what they need. Good one.

I keep asking myself what kind of dope would run for president with skeletons like that in his closet. If Cain's that kind of dope, we can't have him. He's out. Let's see what happens before condemning a guy with no names of those who condemn him ("Condemners" didn't sound quite right).

Z said...

JMJ, could you link us to laws particularly in the South which are racist? Do you mean that Republicans feel it might be a grand idea for voters to have proof that they are citizens?
I've never personally met a racist Conservative so you've got my curiosity. Plus, I have too many really bright Black Conservative friends to think they're being duped.
Odd that Sowell or Elder or Cain or West or Michael Steele or any other outstanding Black Conservative wouldn't be a little ticked off over something like that? :)

Ducky's here said...

The Kurds were gassed and while the left doesn't like to acknowledge that as WMD because it could give credence to our CIA's findings, I'd say 300,000 dead or more is pretty mass.
------

No z, not nearly 300,000 Kurds were killed by gas. That's an absolutely absurd statement.

It is more accurate, not that you care, to say that 300,000 Kurds have died in fighting. You should also be aware that the people who have killed the most Kurds are the Kurds themselves. Look into their civil war.

So don't start this business about what the left will or will not acknowledge. We will acknowledge facts but not the blinkered stories the right presents.

Silverfiddle said...

Yes, I too think someone on the right "dropped the dime," (my guess is BushPerry with the help of the Mustard Mind Turd Blossom), or perhaps Romney, but the left went on the attack, and I can't really blame them. Run down the street tailing a string of sausages behind you and you can't blame the dogs for chasing you.

But you missed the entire point of the article, which is what you are good at.

And Jersey, right on cue, provides an object lesson in how Orwell's speech-thought-speech dynamic works. A rightwing racist behind every tree...

Z said...

Sorry, Ducky, Saddam murdered thousands of Kurds and, including Assyrians, the numbers total up to about 300,000. I guess it takes the left to deny even 5,000 deaths is 'mass'.....
I'm not talking about their civil war, I'm talking about what constitutes WMD and toxins/biologicals.

Glad you kept the insults up; I don't like criticizing you in public but at least you illustrated it so I don't feel quite so badly.

Z said...

SF: "Mustard Mind Turd Blossom" ??

Ducky's here said...

^Rove

Finntann said...

The point, Ducky, is about how you look at things. Obama is as much white as he is black... your perception of him as a 'black' president is in and of itself racist, you are the one focusing on the color of his skin and not his DNA.

Here is another point for you to ponder... at what point would he cease being black if you started diluting his ancestry? 25% 12.5% 6.25%?

My whole point is you are the one with the specious argument. Other than in the context of slavery in the American south, what does skin color have to do with oppression? Hell, my ancestors were oppressed by the Anglo-Saxon Normans for over 800 years...far longer than African-Americans have been or were oppressed.

You are the one seeking to fractionalize us with your labels in the pursuit of your own agenda.

Black vs White, Bourgeoise vs Proletariat, Religious vs Secularist, you're the one running around with the Dynamo Labelmaker slapping little names on everything.

"Actually, you may want to reflect on the matter that you brought the topic up at all"

Odd position on a post about words, language, their meaning, and their use.

Finntann said...

Jersey, how are voter laws racist? Is the guy at Gold's Gym asking for your membership card racist?

You are the one connecting those dots... the only way voter laws are racist is if you are using them to prevent a certain race of people from voting.

Can we all agree on the point of law (not whether it is right or wrong) that in order to vote in this country you need to be a citizen?

Now the fact is, the majority of illegal immigrants in this country are latino... doesn't say anything about latinos other than we share a common land border. Overwhelmingly the largest of percentage of illegal immigrants comes from that country with which we share a border, 62% in 2009.

http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/ois_ill_pe_2009.pdf

The argument is obvious that if we shared an inadequately controlled border with India, the vast majority of illegal aliens would be Indian.

It is very convenient for you that we don't share a common land border with Russia, because your racism argument would completely fall apart.

Your argument is that if we were overrun with poor white people mooching off the system and popping out anchor babies we wouldn't have a problem?

"the drug war is racist" Admittedly the drug war is stupid, but is the fact that the majority of violators are not white make it racist?

"our immigration policies are racist"

I have to agree with you there buddy, our immigration policy is definitely racist. Given that 18.7% of legal immigrants are from Mexico, we are certainly discriminating against Blacks, Whites, and Orientals. Even more so when 30% of legal immigrants come from 4 Latin American countries. Given there comparative populations we are obviously discriminating against white anglo-saxon protestants when it comes to who we allow to come here.

Cheers!

Ducky's here said...

I don't believe I missed the point at all, Silverfiddle. "Those who control the language control the culture".

Of course you seem to have missed the media age, "Those who control the images control the culture" but let it go.

We constantly here from the right that the left is in control of language and some of us even see the right doing just that in the very unsubstantiated statement.

Ducky's here said...

How is it racist, Finntann?

Calling for voter suppression WITHOUT first demonstrating a voter fraud problem is just that.

Cue z's rant on ACORN in 1,2...

Finntann said...

"Calling for voter suppression WITHOUT first demonstrating a voter fraud problem is just that."

So... by your reasoning we should have waited until after Lincoln was assasinated in 1865 before passing a law against assasination? Or perhaps just after the first attempt on Jackson in 1835 would have been okay.

"At issue in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Bush v. Gore was the winner of the 2000 presidential election, between the vice president, Albert Gore, Jr., and the Texas governor, George W. Bush. The two were separated by only some 200 votes—out of more than five million cast—in Florida, which held the decisive electoral college votes needed by each candidate to win the presidency."
http://www.milestonedocuments.com/documents/view/bush-v-gore/

Gee, sounds like any amount of voter fraud, however insignificant you may deem it, IS a big deal.

Just suppose for a second... that the reason Bush got elected president was a couple of hundred pro-life Catholics from Central America who were not citizens and voted fraudulantly.

But no, you sit back in smug self-satisfaction thinking your socialist handouts have bought there votes, ergo it is in your best interest to allow them to vote, citizen or not.

How is it racist? Well Duh, obviously you are favoring brown people over white or yellow people. The numbers don't lie, by far we allow a disproportionate number of immigrants in from Latin America. Otherwise in your idyllic paradise we would let the same number of white, brown, yellow, red, and black people in each year.

Even if you want to try the absurd argument that it is 'compensation' for the large number of white Europeans allowed to come here in the past, you should obviously be favoring Asians over Hispanics... the numbers are just unbalanced.

But honestly, I'm just pointing out the ABSURDITY of your positions.

Cheers!

Ducky's here said...

You've pointed out nothing. There should be a good reason to enact measures that are going to suppress the vote.

Demonstrate that in return for stripping some people of their rights we are solving a problem. Simple. I know it's just the poor and minorities, the extra people, who would lose the franchise but still let's at least make a show of fairness.

Malcolm said...

The man you are referring to is Touré and he made some excellent points in his commentary on how Rush/other people on the right want to shut down discussions about racism. I posted about it on my blog.

Rush has no interest in having an intelligent discussion on racism. If Rush were to engage in a debate with someone like Touré, he'd get destroyed. Nearly every time I've seen Rush go up against someone who challenges him, that's what happens. He's content to use sweeping generalizations, play the race card, and use the "I'm rubber, you're glue" defense to deflect any charges of racism.

By the way Silver Fiddle, how exactly did the left assault Herman Cain?

Z said...

"Of course you seem to have missed the media age, "Those who control the images control the culture" but let it go."

How else could Obama have won? There was no media curious enough to follow up on anything; the lies, the information kept from the public, etc....... the IMAGE WAS ALL IMPORTANT. and it won.
The Greek columns, the posters, the big speeches...even at the Brandenburg Gate in GERMANY..... big stuff; powerful media images.

By the way, is asking for voters to show they've registered 'oppression' or democracy at its best? And where did all those complaints from Black Hillary supporters and Gloria Allred and the rest of the Hillary Democrats about voter fraud particularly in TX disappear? So odd.
:-) (as if)

As for Herman Cain and the left's assault (watch MSNBC for ten minutes!!HA); I'm waiting for the left (the media) to cover Jesse Jackson's latest sex scandal that came out, I believe, yesterday? Or Friday?
Will they 'assault' him on any of it? Cain sure is getting it, and no accusers' names have even come out....who knows what's true or not yet? If he's guilty, he's gone; if he's not, this whole thing STINKS. Jesse's accuser's come out of the closet. (figuratively and literally, by the way)

Finntann said...

If you are not a citizen you have NO RIGHT TO VOTE!

Let me explain it to you... it works similar to communism where if you are not a member of the party you don't have a right to vote.

Simple enough?

Or in your fantasyland are we already somehow disenfranchising the other 6.7 Billion people on the planet by not letting them vote either?

Perhaps we could just open elections up world wide over the internet.

Fairness... I am perfectly fair, all American citizens have the right to vote. You are the one who wants to look the other way and selectively enforce our laws for the benefit of some and the detriment of others.

What part of the concept of CITIZEN do you not understand?

I, as a citizen of Colorado do not have a say in the election of the governor of Massachusetts.

Tony Blair as a citizen of the United Kingdom, doesn't have a say in the election of the President of the United States.

The fact that you are here illegally from say Belize doesn't change that.

Oh, and it's even worse... you don't have a say in the election of the President of Mexico either.

Z said...

Ducky, keep up your defense of ACORN and maligning anybody who sees through them (I know, Breitbart, the man you said should be in a body bag, blew the whistle on them so they must be right...right? :-)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/11/03/acorn-officials-scramble-firing-workers-and-shredding-documents-after-exposed/

The 'oddest thing' (wink wink) is that I went down 3 pages on Google and only conservative blogs are telling this story. Must be wrong, huh? :-)

Z said...

"Finntann said... If you are not a citizen you have NO RIGHT TO VOTE!"

How could ANYBODY feel differently about that? HOW?

Anonymous said...

There is not one thing in SilverFiddle's article with which I could disagree.

Orwell said it all when he wrote Animal Farm and Nineteen-Eighty-Four. It's ugly, it's evil, it's vicious, it's oppressive, it's outrageous, but because of the sort of intellectual and psychological conditioning normally intelligent people like our friend Ducky have received -- Gramsci's "Long March Through the Culture" -- IT'S THE WAY THINGS ARE.

Because of Marxism, Fabianism, Bolshevism, Cultural Marxist Activism up is now down, black is now white, in is out, wrong is right, dark is light, ugly is beautiful, immorality is virtue, disputatiousness is celebrated, insolence institutionalized -- and vice versa to all of that and much much more. Our thinking has become so perverse as to be suicidal.

~ FreeThinke

(CONTINUED)

Anonymous said...

I was fortunate to grow up in a "good" neighborhood. And it WAS a good neighborhood, but we were sheltered from the rougher, tougher, nastier aspects of existence, although we were taught to show respect and gratitude towards the people who did the less appealing jobs -- i.e. garbage collecting, house cleaning, gardening, bus driving, janitoring, etc. But in truth we were only a step or two above the "lower orders."

Hell! My immigrant grandfather was a janitor. It was the only job he could get. The difference between our family and most of those who lived at "the bottom" was ambition -- and a lot of native intelligence.

My parents and their siblings were all taught to ignore slurs and racal epithets and above all to respect learning. They were expected to do their homework, get good grades, always to "let their reach exceed their grasp," and rise to greater heights than their parents.

You wouldn't get any dinner, if you didn't do your homework in one of my grandmother's house. Result? All four boys on mother's side of the family graduated from college -- a feat almost unheard of in those days.

When I was young, decent people would never think using terms like Nigger, Spic, Kike, Sheeny, Mocky, Wop, Dago, Dirty Irish Mick, Chink, Gook, Wog, Po-lock, Hunky, Heiney, Faggot -- or whatever. I'm sure my immediate forebears, however, heard that stuff a lot on the sidewalks of New York where they were raised.

What we call "racism" today was endemic -- just a part of everyday living. All the different ethnic immigrant groups disliked and distrusted each other, and behaved accordingly. It was not very pleasant, but it was normal.

I never heard any of those words, however, until after the self-righteous liberals got aggressive and kept on insisting -- in print, on TV and in my face -- that "people like you" (meaning me and my white, Protestant, middle class kind, of course) always talked that way, and if they didn't say it loud, they thought that way.

In my experience it has always been the liberal activists who do everything possible to stir up trouble, foment discontent, exacerbate ill will and foster POLARITY wherever they leave their droppings. They thrive on conflict.

The indulgence by those who consider themselves Conservatives and Libertarians in legal hair-splitting in an effort to be "fair" to those who are an obvious threat to everything we have built and fought for in the past is counterproductive to efficacy in neutralizing pernicious influences in our society.

That's why there should be no taboos.

There are so very many topics one literally cannot discuss openly today, because self-righteous bullies have decided to clamp down on ideas and forms of expression they don't like. The continual threat of insult, excoriation, expressions of withering contempt, withdrawal of approval, blanket rejection of everything the offending sources has ever produced, outright ostracism, even phyisical attack and now the official CRIMINALIZATION of unpopular sentiments is an extraordinarily powerful tool for shutting down debate. And sets us a course headed straight for Stalinism or Fascism -- it doesn't matter which since both are totalitarian and seek the destruction of liberty.

I have quoted many times the well worn adage "The only thing we cannot afford to tolerate is intolerance."

Truer words were never spoken, but immediately the problem arises of outraged intolerance towards my intolerance of intolerance. And so we get trapped in a tautology -- or would it be more accurate to call it a vicious cycle?

Round and round she goes, where she stops nobody knows.

~ FreeThinke

ecc102 said...

@FT,

You said:
"Because of Marxism, Fabianism, Bolshevism, Cultural Marxist Activism up is now down, black is now white, in is out, wrong is right, dark is light, ugly is beautiful, immorality is virtue, disputatiousness is celebrated, insolence institutionalized -- and vice versa to all of that and much much more. Our thinking has become so perverse as to be suicidal."
--------------------

This was said very long ago, in The Scriptures, wherein Isaiah was given the words:

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"

Not a sermon. Just prophetic fact. We are most assuredly seeing this first-hand in modern-day America.

Silverfiddle said...

Malcolm: The Odonnell guy going after Herman for not participating in more civil rights marches, for one.

An attack doesn't have to be unfair or even particularly vicious. Substitute "going after" or "critically examining" if you wish. That statement was in the introduction and does not go to the main point of the post.

Silverfiddle said...

Despite all the bleating into the echo chamber over the Voter ID issue (to save time, every liberal who cries about this should just link to a NY times article, because they all say the same thing), no one has been able to explain how this disenfranchises anyone.

Get an ID and go vote! I find it tendentious to maintain that there are people who are literally too poor to pay to get a notarized birth certificate and then to pay for a state ID.

Malcolm said...

Silverfiddle: I'm well aware that your comments about the left's attacks against Cain weren't the main point of your post (which is why I framed my question as a "by the way" afterthought).

Interestingly, you skipped over the main point in my comments. One thing I forgot to say is that I don't think Touré is projecting.
In case you didn't hear the response Touré gave on Friday to Rush's comments, I have it posted on my blog. Touré makes it clear that he's open to engaging in a debate/discussion on racism. I'd love to hear your thoughts on Touré's Friday commentary.

Silverfiddle said...

Actually, Malcolm it's not interesting why I skipped over your main comment. Rush Limbaugh can defend himself (or not). I'm not his proxy, and this post has nothing to do with what he said. It is about George Orwell and the use and abuse of language.

Silverfiddle said...

Btw, I find the whole racism issue boring. I think the civil rights marchers were heroes, including John Lewis (who I agree with on just about nothing), but nothing new has been said on the issue in about 40 years.

Finntann said...

Z... ask Ducky, he's the one claiming voter ID laws are disenfranchising the masses.

Although, after careful consideration one might construe the implication that minorities are not as capable of obtaining legal forms of ID as white people, to be a racist sentiment. It might not be racist in the sense of the KKK, but it's certainly racist in the sense of colonialism and "The White Man's Burden".

But I digress, more about words.

In modern political discourse, labels are used to shut down debate not encourage it. They are a means of avoiding discussing the merits of an argument and simply serve to divert attention from the issues at hand.

They are also used to frame subjects. The fact that there is a Pro-Choice movement and not a Pro-Abortion movement stem from the images each label conjures.

More importantly, look at the infotainment imposed meta-narrative in American politics. Generally, we aren't discussing issues, we are discussing gossip.

Not that framing is anything new, it's called 'Social Security' and not 'Income Insurance' for a reason.

It is also ongoing, watch in amazement as "Global Warming" metamorphosizes into "Climate Change". Watch as the discussion shifts from "Carbon Dioxide" to "Dirty Fuels".

Or my personal favorite "Cap and Trade" referred to as "Cap and Cash Back"... or even "Pollution Reduction Refund".

After all... who wants to use "Tooth Cleanser" or "Mouth Soap".

Cheers!

Z said...

Finntann, excellent comment; that's fascinating and you're so right. I remember laughing when Global Warming became CLIMATE CHANGE because it was getting COLDER :-) YIKES!
By the way, I think mothers, years ago, DID want to use "mouth soap" (on their kids for 'bad words'!) And, imagine what those mothers from days gone by would have thought of the language some kids use NOW? Gad, I think those moms would have used MOUTH NUKES if their kid used some of the words I hear in small kids today!

98ZJUSMC said...

Excellent read again, SF. I am going to refrain on commenting as your resident lefties have begun to slip even further off the rails into obvious self delusion.

No,....... even further than they already are.

Except for this:

Racism remains a very serious problem in America, and most of it comes from the Right.

There's no arguing that. That's not "newsspeak" or "codespeak" or a "dog whistle." It is reality.

Anyone who says otherwise deluded, ignorant, or a liar. Period.


You need serious help. Try avoiding the MSLSD. Word is, it's a bad batch. Absolutes, from a deluded, ignorant and lying Liberal. Go figure.



Once again, good read SF. I am a fan of your writing style. There is something of the VDH in you.

98ZJUSMC said...

Besides, I would simply be trying to reiterate what Finntan said, so much more succinctly that I would have, above.

amanofwonder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jersey McJones said...

Z said, "I've never personally met a racist Conservative..."

Silver said, "And Jersey, right on cue, provides an object lesson in how Orwell's speech-thought-speech dynamic works. A rightwing racist behind every tree..."

Finntann goes off in this direction, "Obama is as much white as he is black... "

Then he asks, "Jersey, how are voter laws racist?" as if he hasn't read the any American history whatsoever in his entire life.

And then, in a final irony, he says, "Given there comparative populations we are obviously discriminating against white anglo-saxon protestants when it comes to who we allow to come here."

Well, Finntann, those "socialist" western and northern Europeans aren't emigrating these days. Just goes to show, huh?

Why do you guys suppose it is that people who live under the Monroe Doctrine aren't doing well in their home countries and so immigrate here to make money?

JMJ

Z said...

JMJ; you said "Then he asks, "Jersey, how are voter laws racist?" as if he hasn't read the any American history whatsoever in his entire life."

History? As if we don't know the past? the question is ARE, not WERE......so tell us, please; how ARE voter laws racist today?

jez said...

A related but slightly parallel concept to newspeak is C.S. Lewis' "death of words":

"The vocabulary of flattery and insult is continually enlarged at the expense of the vocabulary of definition. As old horses go to the knacker's yard, or old ships to the breakers, so words in their last decay go to swell the the enormous list of synonyms for good and bad."

While newspeak is a deliberate effort of linguistic engineering to impoverish the masses' ability to think, the death of words happens completely naturally, like erosion.

Fascism is now firmly a synonym for "bad". The same applies to "racism".
If you find that using these terms automatically causes an indignant uproar, I can only recommend that you find more thoughtful people to talk to. I have no idea how to improve this in general.

On the other hand, the speech -> thought process can be positive, I think that the PC idea of finding polite ways to refer to other groups is an example. If you speak about people as eg. pakis and mongs, then you're probably thinking of them in at best rather dismissive terms. Stop saying the word, and hopefully thought will follow.

Silverfiddle said...

Jez: Excellent comments! You are so right. I do not exempt myself from this malady.

What book or essay is the CS Lewis quote from?

USMC: Thank you! But Finntann is closer to VDH than I. If you need something researched, just ask him and you'll have your answer in about 5 minutes. Me, I often avoid writing about a topic because I can't get the facts I need.

jez said...

The essay is called "the death of words", which you can read on google books, from "On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature".

I'm about to expose my ignorance: who or what is VDH?

"Me, I often avoid writing about a topic because I can't get the facts I need."
Admirable! It's not as if you aren't prolific enough as it is...

Anonymous said...

Not the death of "words," but rather the death of "reason," has emerged in this thread. The atmosphere is reminiscent of The Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

Everyone is talking, no one is listening. Attempts at elucidation are offering in tones of scathing condescension.

Facts emerge from feelings by the way not the other way 'round. For example some poor blighter can't afford to feed his kids, they've cut off his unemployment check, he's about to be evicted from his dwelling for non payment of rent. He feels desperate, and rightly so. [His feelings are facts in and of themselves.] At any rate he feels compelled to rob a bank for obvious reasons. As Dillinger famously said when asked why he robbed banks, "Because that's where they keep the money."

So our desperate friend robs a local bank, gets a wad of cash, buys food for his family, pays his back rent, but then he gets caught.

Result: He gets ten years in prison, while his wife and children get thrown into the street and become homeless, unemployable beggars worse off then they ever were before.

Now, I'm just writing off the top of my head, so I'm not quoting "facts," nevertheless, the tenor of the times indicates there are myriad "facts" out there that would support my story. The names might be different, but the SITUATION is the same or belongs in the same category.

Let's take another bad situation:

If someone gets brutally murdered in your neighborhood does it matter very much if his name is spelled correctly? A little, not much. Does it matter whether he and his woman were legally married? Not much. Does it matter how old he was? Not much. Does it matter whether he was rich or poor? Not much. Does it matter whether he was white or colored? Not much.


What matters is the man is DEAD.

What matters next is to find out WHO KILLED HIM.

Does it matter that his widow doesn't appear to be grieving? MAYBE.

Does it matter that he was hated, because he a bad temper? PROBABLY.

Does it matter that he owed lot of of people money? UNDOUBTEDLY.

Does it matter that he constantly went out with other women, and often didn't come home a night? YES. It widens the pool of possible suspects -- i.e. those our corpse once cuckolded.

Inductive reasoning.

Deductive reasoning.

Both useful, necessary tools in any search for truth.

Facts alone are not worth much, unless you step back and see how they fit into The Big Picture -- that mosaic, I've mentioned before.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

VDH is Victor Davis Hanson, who still identified himself as a Democrat at last count, but who has been very popular with readers of right wing publications such as David Horowitz's Front Page Magazine for presenting cogent fact-filled articles that poke holes in liberal arguments while eloquently defending Conservative positions.

VDH, however, is also noted for voluminous, tediously dry, humorless prose filled with stupefying amounts of data with no hint of persuasive charm or dramatic flair.

Victor is on the side of the angels, no doubt, but really rather dull.

I much prefer the tongue-in-cheek approach of Mark Steyn whose great style and penchant for sprinkling his pieces with just the right amount of hyperbole makes you chuckle, and keeps you well entertained as you're being equally well informed.

Nice thing about Steyn is they way he addresses his audience as if it were equally in the know as he. Mark elegantly skewers the folks you love to hate, but you never feel he might someday turn on you.

"Tone" makes a tremendous difference in that art of communication. The same set of facts presented in a friendly confiding manner are apt to have a much greater impact than those hurled down at you like rocks from a high place by a giant who doesn't care if he wounds you as long you agree to see things his way.

~ FreeThinke