Saturday, August 20, 2005

Linguistic Insanity in Politics

I ran across a "right wing" blog a day or so ago titled "ANOTHER SWING AND A MISS BY THE LEFT." In this man's mind, the opposition to Bush is restricted to left wingers. He opens his 9/19 blog with

They’ve been after George Bush almost since day one. He was “The Accidental President,” “The Smirking Chimp,” “Bushitler,” and worse. They whined like 12 year old girls when Bush used their weak stance on national security against them in the mid term elections of 2002 as a club to beat them soundly.
There are two aspects to this blog of interest. He, like other conservative bloggists, loves to smear any opposition to Bush and his supporters by referring to them as "left wingers," as if there were no centerist opposition to Bush (there has to be since there are only about five or six left wingers left in the entire country whom anyone listens to and Bush is reaching historic lows in polls where people are asked to evaluate of his presidency and that would not be possible without centrist opposition. And, there is also left-leaning centrist opposition and liberal opposition to go along with left wing opposition." I heard this morning on the Stepahanie Miller show some conservative opponent to Bush and all he stands for.

Right wingers seem unable to deal with rational discussion of Bush's lies used to soften opposition to the war in Iraq and rational discussion of Bush's incomprehensible failure to recognize that he needed a post-"victory" plan for the reconstruction of Iraq and rational discussion of Bush's failure to anticipate that Muslims would soon tire of occupation by Americans and would quickly mobilize to try to drive the US and its handful of allies out. Any college student with a modicum of understanding of the Arab world could have predicted this opposition, but not the President or Rove or Rummy, etc. So, they simply label the opposition as "left wing" as if that constitutes a sufficient defense against criticism of Bush's failures as a President.

The fact is that there is a continuum of political positions on each issue and any given intelligent and reflective person (i. e., someone other than a liberal or conservative ideologue) is likely to end up at different points on the continuum on different issues -- a little left on one, further left on another, a little right on the next, etc. That is what reflective thought does to a person.

It is a sign of ideologues, and this is as true of those to the left, as it is of right wingers, that they use language as if it were a weapon. Hence, terms like "liberal," "conservative," "left wing," and "right wing," are fired at people as if using them constituted an actual argument.

The other thing that interested me was the sexist claim that "[Leftists] whined like 12 year old girls." Who reading this blog is surprised that a right-winger might choose to use the phrase "whined like 12 year old girls" rather than "whined like 12 year old boys." This sexist way of thinking doesn't surprise me. In my experience right wingers, are instinctively sexist, racist, and ethnocentric. Which is to say, they don't much like people different from them.

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