Thursday, June 11, 2009

More "words"

Conservative commentators are quick to note that "Nazi" derives from "National Socialist" (longer version, National Socialist German Workers’ Party).
That "Socialist" in the name makes 'em assert - immediately, reflexively - that Hitler represented a leftist ideology!

In this worldview, a paradox immediately appears:
1. Words in and of themselves define reality.
2. Words mean what their user says they mean.
If you begin from the premise that all things bad derive from the Left, it's really quite easy to conclude that all things bad are Leftist - and find magical Words to support the conclusion.

During the previous administration, I noted that W and his minions were adherents of a Kabbalistic "magical thinking" worldview: simply invoking the right incantation was sufficient to change - in their minds, at least - reality.
One of them went so far as to say this explicitly:
"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."
[unnamed White House aide, quoted by Ron Suskind, NYT Magazine, 17 Oct 2004]
It can be difficult to engage these folks in honest debate.

My advice?
Don't try!
Resort to ridicule as the best rhetorical weapon at your disposal!!!

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