Words are powerful. They have the ability to make us see the world in different ways, to illuminate injustices that were once invisible to us, and to inspire profound social and political change in the world. However, words can also be a destructive force, inspiring feelings of fear, guilt, confusion and cognitive dissonance. Words can save lives, and words can kill people. It is therefore of paramount importance that progressives dominate the world of words, using them to steer human action towards progress and away from bigotry.
Progressives and conservatives have long battled over the right to use certain words, like “liberal” for example. The so-called “classical” liberals are purported to have been extremist libertarians by many on the right, but today, the word liberal means someone on the left. Certain words, like “liberal” and “progressive” are inherently positive, and can therefore give our movement a good name if permanently associated with it. Conservatives play this game too, and have labelled their anti-abortion movement as “pro-life”, an inherently positive term. Progressives counter this term with their own positive term for the pro-abortion movement, “pro-choice”.
The battle to label our opposition as malevolent and irrational has gone on for many centuries, and continues to rage on to this day. Our latest ploy is to label ALL speech that we don’t like as “hate-speech”, an inherently negative term. This ingenious move in the word war takes the battle to the meta level, where negative words are used to label arbitrary categories of other words.
As we covered in a previous article, the root of all propaganda is the conflating of a subjective term with an objective term. By inventing terms like “hate-speech” and “progressive”, and presenting them as objective, even though they are really subjective, we gain power over those who take our terms seriously. People believe that our cleverly disguised subjective terms are objective, and they glean their meaning from the context in which they are used, eager to virtue signal to others that they are both knowledgeable of these important terms, and strongly support the associated moral crusades. Any know-it-all libertarian or conservative who attempts to reveal the subjective nature of these terms will be quickly ignored and labelled with another subjective and morally condemning term. The longer people believe in the objectivity and validity of these terms, the more resistant to hearing opposing opinions about them they become, out of fear of social ostracism, and in order to avoid the embarrassment and horror of the fact that they have been scammed for so long.
People also like words that simplify complex ethical dilemmas, like “racist” and “bigot”. They fear complexity and uncertainty, and progressives give them a simple model of the world that gives them an empowering certainty and clarity. Any nasty conservative who argues with progressives is trying to take away the comforting certainty and moral superiority of those who believe in progressive narratives, and their arguments are quickly rejected on these grounds.
The war of words continues to rage on, and progressives are winning as usual, but with the alt right’s new slew of derogatory words and narratives directed at us, such as “cuck”, we have a new battle on our hands. It’s time for us to step up our game, and continue to wage verbal warfare on those who seek to oppose our quest for justice and equality. Words are powerful, and it is up to us to control and use this power to further our cause.