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Words of deceit

October 5, 2013

[J.P.'s Moment of Common Sense on Broad View, KRNG 101.3 FM Reno. Listen live Saturdays at 11:00 AM Pacific Time.]

This week's federal budget impasse between Democrats and Republicans has been labeled the "Harry and Barry Shutdown Show" after Harry Reid and Barack—Barry—Obama, the government shutdown's two main instigators. It's a new phrase and I hope it sticks.

We also have at least one brand new word added to the English language: "barrycade" spelled with a 'y' instead of an 'i'. "Barrycade" is defined as, "1. A barrier (usually temporary) that exists for no reason. [or] 2. A barrier erected for political reasons," referring, of course, to Obama's attempt—motivated by little more than spite and his childish temperament—to block entry to various national monuments and parks over the last few days.

The term "Harry and Barry Shutdown Show" and the new word "barrycade" were both invented by conservatives, obviously. I've always been fascinated by the derivation of words and the way meanings change over time. One thing I've noticed is that conservatives tend to invent new expressions, for purposes of honest communication, whereas liberals tend to twist existing definitions.

Instead of letting meanings evolve slowly and naturally, liberals force new meanings immediately so they can deceive people.

I've written about this before, back in January of 2011 in a column titled, "The power of words." In that column I concentrated on two examples: the perfectly accurate and previously acceptable phrase "illegal alien" which the Associated Press stylebook now outlaws in favor of misleading phrases like "undocumented immigrant" or "undocumented worker"; and the word "martyr" which journalists use daily to incorrectly describe Muslim suicide bombers.

Those two forced changes in the language were not intended to facilitate honest communication. Just the opposite. They were intended to deceive—to disguise the nature of America's foreign invaders, in the one case, and to elevate the suicidal murder of innocent civilians to some warped version of virtue in the other case.

There are too many examples of this. Twisted liberal re-definitions pollute discussions of most of the important issues of our time. The word "marriage" being used to describe homosexual relationships, for the first time in human history, is probably the perfect example. Re-defining words to achieve political goals you can't achieve honestly—like homosexuals have done—is a dangerous habit. It's dangerous because it damages our ability to communicate with each other and communication is the foundation of civilization.

A homosexual couple yelling, "This is a marriage!" while a conservative yells back, "No, it is not a marriage!" doesn't solve anything. It just creates bitterness and rage on both sides. They're using the same word, you see—the word "marriage—but the word no longer has a dependable meaning.

The federal government shutdown this week displayed some other twisted words and I wonder if those twisted words are the reason Washington, D.C., appears so dysfunctional. Republicans and Democrats seem utterly incapable of communicating—maybe, just maybe, it's because they no longer share a common language.

For instance, the current impasse is centered on the issue of Obamacare, which liberals insist upon calling "health insurance." It's maddening for someone like me, someone who loves words, to hear news pundits and journalists spouting the world "insurance" hundreds of times every day in reference to a government program that is obviously not insurance. Insurance is when you purchase ahead of time a guarantee of payments to help cover the cost of a catastrophe that might happen later.

That's the definition of the word "insurance."

But Obamacare lets Americans buy coverage after the catastrophe happens. Whatever Obamacare is, and however we might feel about its desirability, it is not insurance. Can we all just agree on that? So we can have an intelligent discussion about it? Please? (Probably not, since, as of this week, the government has millions of Americans visiting websites to sign up for what twisted liberal bureaucratic minds obstinately call "insurance.")

Here's another twisted definition, also involving Obamacare. Federal bureaucrats have concocted a scheme to make it look like Obamacare reduced cancer rates. How? Well, they plan to re-define the word "cancer" to exclude a bunch of tumors that were always previously considered cancerous. That way, when future statistics are released, it will look like Obamacare had a miraculous beneficial effect on cancer.

See what I mean by deceitful?

Other twisted re-definitions on display this week include the term "balanced budget" which Democrats have re-defined to mean any budget they invent that looks like maybe, just possibly, it might achieve a near approximation of being in balance somewhere down the road... even distantly down the road. Like ten years from now.

(Even Republicans are buying into that one. Thank you, Paul Ryan, for selling us out and becoming just another politician.)

Our president's favorite re-definition involves the phrase "law of the land," which he elevates to being something akin to engraved stone tablets Moses brought down from the mountain when it comes to Obamacare, but something lower than a scribbled notion in a suggestion box when it comes to other stuff, like the House of Representatives' constitutional authority to decide how the federal government spends money.

Give the president credit for thinking big: most liberals only manage to twist a meaning once but he re-defines the same phrase two different ways. What a guy.

Next time John Boehner trots over to the White House to negotiate, maybe he should take a dictionary—an English-to-Democrat translation dictionary.

That's... today’s dose of common sense.

"Good writers are those who keep the language efficient. That is to say, keep it accurate, keep it clear." — Ezra Pound

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." — George Orwell

From Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA       

October 5, 2013 -

Semantics antics.
Linguistics calistenics
Not enough words
To describe those despicable D.C. terds.
Say what you will

Boomer Pie, Michigan
J.P. replies: First poetic comment in the history of

October 5, 2013 - Never imagine that the Left possesses the slightest degree of allegiance to the truth. Their motto is "whatever advances the Cause is right" -- where the Cause is whatever new and trendy notion the Left has latched onto most recently. In that effort it will mangle words, deny the evidence of the senses, say black is white, and demonize anyone who dares to introduce to the discussion so tawdry and unworthy an element as a verifiable fact.
Of course, there's nothing really new or trendy about socialized medicine, but still...
In the current battles over federal spending generally and ObamaCare in particular, the GOP holds the high cards but has acted as if it's trying to negotiate from weakness. The path to victory is a simple one: the House Republican caucus must merely stand its ground, refuse to give in any further, and when the battle over the debt ceiling arrives, do exactly the same. However, the Republicans' "leadership" has about as much courage as a baby bunny, and so may be counted on to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory sooner or later, just as it did in 1995.
There is no salvation in the present-day Republican Party. It has turned its back on the wisdom of Reagan and his call for "a revitalized second party" characterized by "bold-colored differences" with the Democrats. Sooner or later, some conservative populist -- likely Sarah Palin -- will lead an out-migration from the GOP, just as the Cleveland faction did in 1896 from the Democratic Party after the Jennings Bryan forces had suborned it. That will lead to a period of fasting and wandering in the desert, but even so, that's greatly to be preferred to the perpetuation of the "Democrats Lite" GOP that has betrayed the cause of freedom repeatedly since the end of the Reagan Administration. – Francis P., New York

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