Glossary: an anatomy of key memes, phrases, canards, shibboleths and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOTP language factories, March 9-15, 2015

cooperative and coercive policies: according to neocon icon Doug Feith, “cooperation”, collaboration, negotiation and “multi-laterilism” are now pejoratives, stand-ins for a “radically negative” foreign policy. Much to Rand Paul’s horror, the GOTP is running on a foreign policy platform of aggression, confrontation, and unilateralism.

criminalizing political speech: actually, in a classic GOTP rhetorical sleight-of-hand, what used to be called “regulating” political speech is now characterized as nothing less than “criminalizing” it. Government regulators are thus turned into “thought police.”

culture of agitation: any left-wing protest, as in Ferguson. When the Tea Party rallies, it’s called “grassroots activism”.

fatuous idealism: according to the GOTP, is there any other kind? “Idealism” itself is now a sneer, characterized as a stand-in for naivete, weakness, and delusional self-aggrandizement.

moral framework: another of those seemingly universal, neutral terms that, when politicized, comes to mean its opposite. For example, when Charles Murray and others blame blacks for their own poverty, the implicit (and sometimes explicit) argument is that they lack a “moral framework,” as if they are amoral creatures, even sub-human. This argument has been around for a long time–the current shorthand code for it is when the wingnuts portray Obama as a monkey.

permissiveness:  in the conservative moral lexicon, permissiveness is the root of all inequality. Blaming poverty, racism and inequality on the ’60s has never really gone away as a rhetorical trope, just as 60’s demonstrators are still secretly blamed for “losing” the Vietnam War. Permissiveness itself is actually of course a pejorative term for freedom: sexual freedom, gender and  identity freedom, racial freedom, etc., but usually limited in conservative circles to being the opposite of the cardinal virtues of restraint, “monogamy, sobriety, fidelity, and thrift,” in the words of Russ Douthait. Oh, the profligate, spendthrift, animal instincts of those negroes, most of whom lack a “moral framework.”

political indoctrination centers: colleges and universities, especially in the social sciences and humanities, hyperbolicly said to be “worthy of the high Stalinist Era or the age of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.”

pull up your socks: the gist of the conservative framing of racial inequality in America: get over it, take personal responsibility, be an autonomous person, quit being a dependent, working on the neo-liberal “plantation.” This limited definition of freedom scants notions of public good and civic engagement. It’s a kind of Hobbesian Choice.

stabilize: in GOTP language, this means nothing less than US dominance. Any contested foreign area not under our direct influence is, by definition, unstable. Thus, for example, a kind of two state, federalist solution in Ukraine is unacceptable because the U.S. would not be the dominate power.

treaties: according to neocon icon Doug Feith, treaties are lumped with going along with the UN and other world bodies and massively cutting defense spending as the hallmarks of a “radically negative”, “cooperative” foreign policy. (see “cooperative and coercive,” above).

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