The sub-head of an April 10th story in Time magazine says of a Presidential hopeful in Mexico:
Leftist front-runner Lopez wants to give his countrymen less reason to cross the border
So, Senor Lopez is a leftist? What in hell does that mean? Does he say, "I am a Leftist." I can't find him doing that. So, we are left to ponder what Time magazine is doing?
The Left in politics arguably extends from the views of left-leaning centrists, though the views of liberals, on through the views of socialists, and then through the views of communists. Of course, this suggests that "leftist" is a scalar property, which is silly. We are talking here of a huge variation of points of view and any given individual who is left of center, generally speaking, may side with liberals on some issues, centrists on others, and conservatives on others. I like, for instance, the conservative notion, abandoned by both Reagan and Bush, of having a balanced budget for me and for the country. Does that make me a conservative? When I was a kid, Republicans used to argue that we can't survive long with unbalanced household budgets and the government can't either. Why did they change? It was a good idea though it took a long time for me to realize it.
Assuming, counterfactually, that "leftness" is a scalar property, Time doesn't tell us where Senor Lopez fits. This is left to us to decide. Time is doing this deliberately, of course, for it allows persons brainwashed into fearing liberals by the legionaires of the political right to imagine the worst. We are also told by Time that Senor Lopez "is the candidate of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD)." As Reagan might say, "Here they go again." Is "leftist" the only word Time has for people to the left of center?
This is a long story and I want this to be a shorter blog than usual for I have to engage in some manual labor. So, I will comment on just two elements of the following passage of the Time story. See if you can guess which two.
Yet as much as the struggling campesinos enjoy hearing his lavish social welfare promises, they're more interested in his business plan Â specifically, how he hopes to create Mexican jobs that will keep them from having to cross the border to seek work in the U.S. as illegal immigrants. "We no longer want thousands of our young people abandoning their towns and families every day in order to alleviate their hunger and misery on the other side of the border!" LÃ³pez shouts in a high-pitched voice.
I am attracted by the idea that Senor Lopez is offering lavish social welfare programs. The adjective "lavish" evokes in my mind the possibility is that Senor Lopez is offering the poor, which is most of Mexico, of course, a new home with as many rooms as the household needs, chiles and chickens in every pot, and a nice Lamborghini Diablo for every garage, perhaps a red one to go with Senor Lopez's leftist views. (Why do we color Republican states "red"? Are they closet leftists?) The other item is Time's choice of expressions of reported speech. I told you about these things in my blog on journalistic bias. Here we have Time saying "Lopez shouts in a high-pitched voice." You just can't trust men who shout and cerntainly not men who shout in "high-pitched" (at least Time didn't say "shrill") voices. It suggests to me that Lopez might not be manly for he didn't shout with a "deep-pitched" voice. Anyway, most of us don't trust shouters, high-pitched or not.
As for Senor Lopez being leftist, what is he doing proposing to "create Mexican jobs that will keep them from having to cross the border." Time claims that Lopez is leading in the polls "to the chagrin of the Bush Administration." Why "chagrin"? Isn't Bush trying to stop illegals from entering the country? It seems to me that Bush ought to send some excess Republican funds (perhaps left over from Tom Delay's account) to Lopez and stump for him in the Northern areas of Mexico where the people have not seen as much of him.