Leftist Wordsmithing Enables Political Correctness, by Ann Coulter.
Ever notice how the new left is very fastidious about words and the way people use them? This might be because they are led by postmodern arts graduates, and words are their way of manipulating people into giving them stuff. Or it might be because they want to control what people are thinking. Or perhaps they are just delusional enough to think they can shape reality by controlling how people describe it. In any case, Ann Coulter, in an article about US health care, makes a couple of pertinent observations.
A few weeks ago, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was going on and on about a “single insurance provider” that pays for 49 percent of all births, as well as full health care costs of almost 40 percent of all children in the United States. This single “insurer,” Maddow said, was the biggest “health insurance provider in the country by a mile.”
Maddow was talking about Medicaid, which, of course, is not “insurance” but “welfare.”
When we’re allowed to call things whatever we want in order to win an argument, there is a total breakdown in democratic politics, fair commerce, and social interaction. …
Redefining words like “insurance” and “lose” to mean whatever the speaker wants them to mean makes human conversation impossible. We can still grunt, howl and shiver when it’s cold, but we will no longer have the ability to communicate slightly more complex thoughts to one another.
The only solution is for the rest of us to impose a broken windows policy on the truth, demanding it in every walk of life. If liars continually get away with it, their lies will only become more preposterous and more enraging.
Illegal aliens are not “undocumented immigrants.” They’re not “immigrants” at all. Immigrants wait in line and jump through hoops to be here. They are invited, by us, to come. Illegals cut to the head of the line whenever the mood strikes them, without waiting for an invitation.
Jerry Seinfeld said something like this two decades earlier, in his gentle way:
This is why the “Seinfeld” exchange with a car rental company struck such a chord. It was about the infuriating result when words like “reservation” have no meaning:
Jerry: I don’t understand. I made a reservation. Do you have my reservation?
Rental car agent: Yes, we do. Unfortunately, we ran out of cars.
Jerry: But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the reservation.
Rental car agent: I know why we have reservations.
Jerry: I don’t think you do. If you did, I’d have a car. See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to hold the reservation. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation: the holding. Anybody can just take them.
If we’re going to have any kind of civil society, we need to insist that words mean what they say. … Unless the rest of us demand truth, the liars will be emboldened, their lies will snowball, and nothing will ever work.
hat-tip Scott of the Pacific