Dehumanizing Humans

            Semantics in Politics

  June 2, 2012  by  B. Fairbanks    

There was a term, an expression, back when I was growing up to describe the type of behavior that we see today in Barack Obama.  It described a person who had come into a cash windfall through little or no effort of his own and spent it foolishly rather than investing it wisely or saving it for a time of need. This expression fell out of popular use with the advent of  "political correctness" and has never been replaced with a politically correct term. We would have described him then as being "n****-rich".  As hard as I've tried, I have been unable to find a replacement for that term till recently. Now, we are faced with a slightly different variation of that situation. We have people who find themselves with a windfall of OPM (other peoples money) who spend it foolishly, etc...  I suggest that we adopt a new, but more politically correct term "obama-rich"  to describe these people.

 Politicians on the left have become masters of semantics.  The most recent example to illustrate the use of semantics to deflect attention from an issue is the term "birther".  It refers to the people who dare to ask questions  rather than to the real issue which is Barack Obama himself and his constitutional  eligibility, or lack thereof, to serve as President.  The people on the left see this as the "birther issue" rather than the "eligibility issue". In other words, the problem is not the naked emperor, but the kid who doesn't see his clothes. Even our esteemed radio talk masters have stuck their heads into this verbal bear trap and now use the term "birther".  This is VERY annoying.

Also annoying is the current dehumanizing use of the word "that" where the word "who" should be.  I hear it everywhere, every day.

 "People THAT do this or that" instead of the correct "People WHO do this or that". It's just a grammatical error, but it is one that works subconsciously to dehumanize people.  It has recently fallen into common use by people who speak professionally on radio and TV.

The point of all this is that we must not allow the left to define the terms.  For the sake of clarity, not to mention reality and sanity,  we need to pay attention to the language used by the left.  They often give themselves away and tell us exactly what they are up to by their manipulation of semantics.  It is not always easy to recognize this tactic, and it is often very easy to fall into their traps.

I suspect that most of the tacticians on the left have read the books of S. I. Hayakawa, Wendell Johnson, or even Alfred Korzybski (not an easy read, though there are a number of good books of excerpts from his "Science and Sanity"). 

I wish that our talk masters would read and learn more on general semantics since words are the tools of their trade. I would recommend any book by Wendell Johnson (my introduction to general semantics in the '60s),  S. I. Hayakawa, Rappaport,  or the more recent, "Drive Yourself Sane" by Susan and Bruce Kodish.  Although it was Alfred Korzybski who first introduced us in the '30s to General Semantics and non-Aristotelian thought systems, I would recommend saving this read, "Science and Sanity", for last.

To really understand how the left works, how every mind works, some understanding of general semantics is a must. It's a fascinating subject and an addicting one for the curious mind. Korzybski theorized in the 40's that an understanding of this subject could lead to world peace. Today however, sadly it is helping the left to attempt world dominance.


  2012  art by W.W.Winkie  All rights reserved  First posting Feb 14, 2012