One of my prized possessions is my dictionary.
It isn’t just any dictionary. It is Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language. It is just shy of 3 1/2” thick. It contains detailed definitions, pronunciations, and diagrams. I bought it for $14.oo at the Horrocks’ Store in West Lansing. It was a trusty companion through three years of law school earning a Juris Doctor, and was an aid in the year earning an LL.M. It has illuminated the meanings of many words encountered in my various sojourns into literature and technical reading, as well as the writings of the Founders and Framers of this country. And I need to get a new one, because this one has failed me completely.
Allow me to explain. This dictionary is superb. I couldn’t ask for a better guide to the English Language. It is a book that has done for my vocabulary what my Bible has done for my soul. It is invaluable when explaining various aspects of thought and the world around us. There are few tools finer for understanding all that is. And that’s the problem. It is not a helpful lexicon for trying to talk to liberals, progressives, or Leftists, because they spend so much time in the elaborate constructs of whatever the approved outlook and nomenclature is this week.
Whether it is out of a concern that a word might offend, or the motive that will always be tied to the use of a word, or the need to reject the plain meaning of a word and replace it with something different, conversations with any member of the above-named group can seem like a Twilight Zone experience until you realize that you only think that you are speaking the same language as the other speaker.
Because I like to help peoples’ understanding, I thought that in the midst of yet another “controversy” where laying blame, finding ways to vilify specific people, and increase government control over more areas of our lives is an apparent goal, it might be helpful if I recap what I have learned of the Left’s familiar, yet completely alien lexicon in order to reduce what would otherwise be an inevitable frustration.
Marriage: A term that gays and lesbians in monogamous relationships simply must have applied to their relationships, despite centuries of the word specifically describing a formal, often meretricious relationship between a man and woman, which gave children legitimacy and a stable home life, as well as for the man and the woman themselves, thus providing the bedrock upon which society was built.
Hate Speech: Speech of conservatives that leftists consider to be offensive. [While this sounds like a reasonable standard, keep in mind that for most leftists, merely questioning, let alone opposing what they propose, is offensive, and it only goes downhill from there.] Despite the protests and alleged evidence of such speech from the Left, this is indeed a myth, as everyone knows that only conservatives can use hate speech.
Violent, Vitriolic Rhetoric/Political Speech/Political Discourse (or a similar variation thereof): Spirited Political Speech and/or Expression engaged in by Conservatives. It may evoke physical imagery, perhaps violent, perhaps hyperbolic, but purely a means of expression by Conservatives. It is considered dangerous, and a “threat to democracy”, because of the well-documented and catalogued propensity to violence in people of conservative leaning, and the equally well-documented and catalogued inability of conservatives who hear such speech to restrain themselves from acting on the violent imagery presented in such speech. Because of these remarkable phenomena, conservative icons must be held to the highest standard, and whenever a high-profile violent act is committed, all such icons are expected to apologize for their guilt, which is the result of having engaged in such an exercise of what they mistakenly believe to be a fundamental right of citizenship. Despite the protests and alleged evidence of such rhetoric from the Left, there simply is no corollary.
Tolerance: The idea that no matter what belief a conservative might hold based on their faith, their experience, or history, they cannot oppose an idea they do not like, and must entertain the practices, observations, speech, and conduct that may offend them, because they do not have the right to offend others. Tolerance may also require conservatives to suppress their own ideas, practices, observations, speech, and conduct, out of deference to that of others, simply because to do otherwise is deemed intolerant.
Inclusive: Not just allowing, but celebrating beliefs, practices, attitudes, and behaviors of anyone but conservatives.
Diversity: The concept that all cultures and viewpoints have exactly the same weight and social value, and therefore, maintaining a “diverse” balance in the public sector, in various professions, in higher education, and virtually everywhere that it can be enforced by government (outside of the media, of course) is higher social imperative than merit and hard work.
Liar: Someone who tells the truth, especially if it is contrary to the narrative or meme the leftist wants to discuss.
General Welfare: Government entitlements and benefits for some paid for by the few who actually pay taxes. These run the gammut from Social Security to mohair subsidies to grants to study the flow rates of different kinds of ketchup to midnight basket ball for innercity youth who should be at home sleeping so they can get up bright and early the next morning and go out and look for a job. In otherwords, whatever the leftist politician says it is.
Taxes: The duty imposed upon those in society who take the risks and become successful to provide for those who lacked the courage to do the same or the initiaive to at least get a job and tend to their own needs and wants themselves.
American Exceptionalism: Myth of American achievement based on merit, an unreasonable work ethic, ingenuity, and the economic system that provided the incentive for individuals to aspire and labor toward it.
Terrorist: Any government or individual that is willing to use force against ideologies bent on kidnapping, maiming, or killing Americans.
George W. Bush: Hitler/Terrorist.
Dick Cheney: Hitler + Eichman/Terrorist.
Al Qaeda: Freedom fighters.
Rush Limbaugh: detestable reich wing ideologue and head of the Republican Party.
Glenn Beck: A crying charlatan and threat to liberty (and no, you can’t have any further explanation).
Sarah Palin: Threat to reproductive freedom and embodiment of all that is vile, wrong, and disgusting about conservatism. Namely, belief in God, using and bearing firearms, loving animals because they taste good, especially grilled to medium rare, having children instead of aborting them, staying married to the same person longer than a few weeks, and putting a family before a career, and still managing to be successful. Also notable because her political speech is the reason why schizophenics snap and try to assassinate politicians that they have been stalking for years.
The Rich: People who make more than $200,000.00 a year. They must be vilified because they don’t pay enough taxes.
Capitalism: Economic system that makes all good, honest, hardworking people poor as church mice while “The Man” enjoys every conceivable excess that the labor of those hard-working people can afford to buy.
Corporations: Evil capitalist constructs forced into existence in the 1950′s whose sole purpose is to rape Mother Gaia, take advantage of the working man, poison the bodies and souls of the average person, completely crowd out all political speech that is not their own, and make their rich fat cat executives even richer, fatter, and cattier.
Private Property: Everything earned by the labor of the poor that the evil rich keep them from having.
Communism/Socialism: Everyone gets what they need, and everyone pays what they can…except for our leaders, who deserve more than everyone else, but they’ll make it work this time, really, they will.
Judaism: A made-up ridiculous religion of evil Zionists who control the currency and have designs on controlling the world.
Christianity: A made-up religion of fundamentalist zealots, which threatens important societal institutions like abortion, promiscuity, homosexuality, the hypersexualization of children, and the exploiting of them through these means by opposing them, and saying so out loud. It is undeserving of Constitutional protection, and no effort should be spared in stamping out any public expression of it.
Islam: A peaceful religion that is harmless to western society, in contrast with those evil, disgusting, and vile Christians and Jews.
Political Correctness: The unwritten moral code by which the above-defined is enforced in society. For those who refuse to self-censor in accordance with its parameters, there are many who will enforce it, despite the fact that no one asked them to, and despite the fact that some may truly resent their meddling and insistence that we abandon all we hold dear to “do it their way”.
In addition to these definitions, you should also keep in mind that the various types and applications of double-standards, and changing defintions of goals when conversing with a Leftist. These will most often be manifested in conjunction with a presentation of facts and evidence to demonstrate whatever point you are trying to make. Instead of becoming frustrated with a technique that they would never left you use with them, think of it instead as an opportunity to gauge just how far removed from reality they really are. If a calm rebuttal and recitation of a few easily provable facts is met with shouts of “CHIMPYMCBUSHCHENEYHALIBURTON!!!!” or “HATEYMCHATEYHATER!!!!!111!!!” or a quick change in the direction of the conversation or the end goal of whatever is being discussed, reasonable dialogue is probably not going to be the end result of your foray into their world. In that case, you can choose to seek assistance from someone else, or continue to gauge your own tolerance for useless endeavors.
There are certainly more defintions that could be added, and I welcome your submissions to this lexicon, as it may end up being invaluable in trying to communicate and have a dialogue with these people than we share a continent, but no longer a common culture with. Some day, we might even help some of them to rejoin reality.