Sunday, May 3, 2009

EcoAmerica & Tenditious Redefinition

It is one thing to cast about for words that frame your ideas in a positive light. We all do that. But it is another entirely to co-opt words and vastly redefine them in order to sell your ideas - sometimes to include even ideas that represent the polar opposite of what the co-opted words were originally meant to convey. The latter has been an insidious hallmark of the left for over the past century. It is Orwellian.

The NYT reports that EcoAmerica is trying to figure out how to recast the language of "global warming" to capture the support of more people. Focus groups are telling them that when people hear the words "global warming," the majority think of unwashed long-haired libs and complex scientific debates. What Eco-America has suggested follows the left's long established game plan.

Dafydd ab Hugh pointed out in a post a few days ago, Word Inflation,

When a word comes to mean anything at all... then it really means nothing at all. Effectively, we no longer have a word for torture, real torture, like al-Qaeda carries out routinely. No such word, thus no such concept; no concept, no torture! By trivializing what should be profoundly evil, we allow evil to flourish unremarked, let alone unprevented, unrepented, and unrevenged.

. . . If you no longer have the words to discuss the war against the Iran/al-Qaeda axis, designed to end militant Islamist terrorism, then those concepts no longer exist either: If you can't say it, you can't think it.

Dafydd refers to this as "tenditious redefinition." It is certainly a form of rhetorical device that the left has been using with regularity since the start of the 20th century. Orwell saw this over half a century ago and captured it perfectly with his "Newspeak."

Thus we have the People's Democratic Republic of . . . name your favorite communist police state where there is neither Democracy nor a Republic. But for the people living there, how are they to know that those arguing for democracy in their state are arguing for something the polar opposite of their current situation.

Or take the Employee Free Choice Act pushed by Obama and Big Labor. The words imply that employees will be given a greater ability to choose about unionization, while the reality is, of course, precisely the opposite, with the Act actually removing from employees their right to a secret ballot.

And it was only a few weeks ago that the Dept of Homeland Security issued a document to police across the U.S. that included within the definition of dangerous "extremists" those who vocally defend the Constitution or who protest such things as gay marriage. Such people are not only no longer, by definition, a part of mainstream America, they are instead a threat, and a potentially violent one, to our nation.

All of that said, we come now to an effort by Eco-America to change the language of "global warming." Their most Orwellian proposal is to stop using the words "cap and trade" to label the system Obama proposes to force carbon limits upon American businesses. Note that cap and trade represents a huge cost to every American that, from the outset, will cost each and every American family nearly $4,000 annually. Eco-America's suggestion to change the language to . . . get this . . . "Cap and Cash Back."

That is probably the most Orwellian of suggestions to come out of Eco-America, but the others are equally as insidious. For example, EA recommends that Greens "[d]rop discussions of carbon dioxide and bring up 'moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.'" The problem with that is that it makes it appear that the arguments over whether carbon is a cause of global warming are settled. Further, it implictly labels carbon dioxide is an unwanted pollutant. It is anything but.

At any rate, Dafydd ab Hugh has a good post up on this with some of his own suggestions. My favorite is his suggestion that, instead of referring to an "ice age," the new terminology should be that its "cool to be blue." Indeed.

No comments: