Even After Trump, Left Still Using 'Weasel Words' to Conceal Truth
Or I could just pick my favorite, and demand that I be identified as an Irish-American. Even cooler would be Celtic-American. Not accurate, but who cares? It’s what I want.
Of course, it would be confusing if we all did that, wouldn’t it? Just as it’s confusing -- and purposely so -- when words don’t comport with objective truth in politics. The solution to all the bluster about words and labels is to take Orwell’s sage advice:
Let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around.
But there’s the rub. Too often the truth gets in the way of a good political agenda. The media today want to clean up language -- at least when it comes to the alt-right -- but the same effort isn’t given to, say, abortion organizations. Or environmental movements, which aren’t “green,” but red. Or “civil rights” groups like “Black Lives Matter,” which are actually turning civil rights on its ear.
That’s because these groups fall more in line with the political ideology of the media.
For the alt-right, though, there must be clearly defined meaning, and, as ThinkProgress hypocritically suggests, it can’t be allowed to name itself because the “alternative right” is not an “accurate descriptor of either a movement or its members”:
[The alt-Right] are essentially standard-issue white supremacists who discovered a clever way to make themselves appear more innocuous -- even a little hip.
I wonder what ThinkProgress would say in response to changing “Black Panthers” to “Black Supremacists,” since they’re actually racist militants motivated by Marxism, not “revolutionaries” inspired by “undying love for people,” as some claim.
Or what would ThinkProgress say about changing the “War on Terror” to “War on Radical Islamists”? Well, of course they wouldn’t approve, because that would be racist (even though Islam isn’t a race -- another point of confusion in this game of doublespeak).
By relabeling the alt-right, ThinkProgress and others are merely showing their bias, not their quest for truth, as they claim. Instead of allowing the alt-right to identify itself, as ThinkProgress does with so many other groups, these purveyors of truth at the liberal website will now refer to anyone they identify to be a part of this group as “white nationalists.” Because they’re concerned with “clarity and accuracy,” don’t you know.
When it comes to the alt-right, the “white nationalist” descriptor might be true for a tiny fringe group, but again, where’s the same fervor for groups on the Left?
Sydney Ember of the New York Times says the a solution to the problem of establishing truth in political discourse is to “describe rather than label.” Of course, the problem is that some groups are hard to define. What is the alt-right exactly? According to some, it’s a mixed bag. To others, they’re hardcore white supremacists, misogynists, and anti-Semites.
Given all the confusion, what is a truth-seeker to do? Orwell’s advice remains sound, even if it’s difficult to achieve: let the meaning choose the word. And make sure the meaning is true, and not simply a meaning imposed by political detractors.
My challenge to the media is to apply this newfound concern for truth fairly and consistently. If you’re concerned about getting to the real meaning of the alt-right, then do the same for all groups and campaigns that use language to hide their real agenda.