The Electric Commentary

Monday, March 05, 2007

Loaded Terms

I find loaded terms very interesting. For instance, I like how the warring factions of abortion describe each other. I especially like how the "anti-choice" side refers to the pro-choice side as "pro-abortion." Now the anti-choice crowd is arguably anti-choice, and arguably pro-life, and the pro-choice is arguably pro-choice, but it's tough to make the case that they're pro-abortion. To the best of my knowledge no one is actually in favor of abortion. But the anti-choicers use the epithet anyway.

Another favorite is "frankenfood." This is a term that Luddites apply to genetically modified crops, which at this point is actually all crops. But even though genetically modified foods are perfectly safe and responsible for saving the lives of billions of people, the "Organic Food" movement won the argument as soon as they came up with the term.

Every controversial law that gets passed comes with a fluffy name. The most famous is the USAPATRIOT Act, and I've recently blogged about the Employee Free Choice Act. Free choice! What's not to like?

Preventing gays from marrying is "protecting marriage." Socialist health care is "Single Payer Health Care." Note that they don't mention who the "payer" is. Creationism is "Intelligent Design." $10.00/hour is a "living wage." The free market is the "race to the bottom."

Voodoo economics, rising inequality, family values, reliance on foreign oil, trade deficit, ignorant old-school baseball analyst.

Supply-side economics, lifting all boats, paternalism, efficient energy policy, domestic capital surplus, Joe Morgan.

These terms are surprisingly effective and many arguments degrade into cliche-ridden diatribes because of their power. And arguments that deal in loaded terms frequently end in childish name-calling.

After all, if you can summarize an entire position with one word or phrase, what is to stop you from summarizing a whole person with one word or phrase. The media could be a bit more vigilant in choosing terminology. They contribute to the problem.

So what am I?

1. Pro-fun. I support fun activities in opposition to neo-prohibitionists and the "family values" crowd, or as I call them, the anti-fun crowd.

2. Small government. I call my opponents "Republicans" and "Democrats" even though it's kind of mean.

3. Pro-science. I call my opponents "stupid."

See? Childish name calling. It's not healthy.

2 Comments:

  • I'm moderate I call my opponents "partisan zombies".

    Unfortunately it's not catching on too quickly because according to some Texan it's just me and some dead skunks sitting on a yellow line.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 11:00 PM  

  • That former Edwards blogger is definitely pro-abortion, or a childphobe (ha! just made that up)

    By Blogger E.S.K., at 12:37 PM  

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