Glossary: an anatomy of key memes, dog whistles, canards, shibboleths and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOTP language factories, April 26-May 2, 2015

anti-family pathologies: black “thug” culture in America. Part of a whole rhetorical word family that portrays blacks as immoral social leeches, likening them to animals, vermin, and disease. Makes the poor wholly responsible for their own poverty.

black anger: when Obama tells the truth, or else all that the Baltimore “thugs” are about. As a dog whistle term, this subliminally means “they’d kill all of us whites if they got the chance”.

bromides: any liberal ideas or solutions to pressing political, social, or economic issues.

conservative populism: anti-immigrant nativism, disguised as the vox populi. This is a tricky issue because big business actually opposes limited immigration–one of the few times that tea party sentiment diverges from that of big business, despite the Tea Party’s ostensibly populist rhetorical claim to represent Main street rather than Wall Street.

consumer choice: in Tea Party parlance, the net effect of deregulation. In their mind, the opposite of “consumer choice” is “government regulation”, especially any government regulation protecting or increasing consumer choice. Another example of the Tea Party Rhetorical Hall of Mirrors.

the Cult of Sexual Autonomy: includes anyone supporting marriage equality or gray rights. aka, “The American Jacobins.”

“explanations aren’t excuses”: when Tea Partiers are too ashamed to overtly state their animus against black demonstrators, they are forced to fall back on some version of the “root causes argument,” though they always undercut the argument entirely, as seen in this classic example from Jonah Goldberg in The National Review:

First of all, it’s not only plausible, but obviously true, that many of these punks had rough starts in life. Unlike the largely bogus claim that poverty and powerlessness is what creates terrorists, the root-causes argument has explanatory power for street criminals. No serious conservative disputes that poverty, joblessness, crime, family breakdown, crappy schools, etc. help explain why young men make bad choices.

But explanations aren’t excuses, even if they overlap at the margins from time to time. Bad choices are still choices, and if we don’t judge people by their choices we can’t judge people at all.

If a sane man rapes and kills a little girl but, when caught, explains how terrible his own childhood was, the civilized response of the criminal justice system must be “we don’t care.” Some crimes are moral gray areas — the man who steals bread to feed his starving family, etc. But, other crimes aren’t.

Nonetheless, a society that refuses to distinguish between people who behave criminally and people who don’t won’t be a society for very long.

And by the way, how exactly it helps the black community to say that th*gs cannot be singled out from the rest of the black community completely mystifies me. I thought the antidote to racism was judging people individually, based upon their behavior. I don’t discriminate against people because of the color of their skin, but I will freely admit I discriminate against people who burn down senior centers. But that’s just me.

Equating political demonstrators with child murderers is just an everyday version of the casual toxicity of Tea party rhetoric.

the Gaystopo. See “liberal fascism,” below.

get-out-of-jail-free card: being black and poor, at least according to Tea Party rhetoric that equates racial equality with increasing crime rates. Part of the Tea party effort to criminalize equality-seekers, and stigmatize them for a “lack of personal responsibility.” Or, as Bill O’Reilly put it this week, “With all due respect, the government cannot create opportunities for young people who are uneducated, disrespectful and unmotivated.” aka, “thugs”.

grandstand and demagogue: nouns turned into verbs to villify any public figures who come out forcefully for civil rights, human rights, economic equality, or racial justice.

hectoring: what Obama does any time he issues a moral injunction or expresses an ideal or principle. (When he does so, he’s also said to be on his “high horse”). When the Tea party does so, it’s called “defense of traditional American values”.

liberal fascism: according to Ted Cruz, any Dem defense of marriage equality or gay rights is the equivalent of fascism; any call for tolerance an injunction to intolerance and social control. Aka, the “Gaystopo”.

no antitrust problem: because Time Warner and Comcast don’t compete in any specific market, the argument was that their proposed (but now abandoned) merger would pose no antitrust problem.  This is an example of the usual conundrum of Tea Party political theory that an increase in the concentration of power axiomatically leads to keener competition because the pie expands. Never mind that such proposed monopolies scare off all potential competitors, so there’s no one else left to eat the pie. (See “consumer choice,” above)

racist bogeymen: always said to be “lurking around every corner”. This is the Tea Party denigration of anyone claiming racial injustice or bigotry in America. A variant on the “there are no racists left in America except the blacks” meme.

real marriage: the diametrical opposite of gay marriage.

religious persecution: the enforcement of any anti-discrimination law against a church or religious institution. Apparently they don’t feel obligated to either pay taxes or follow the law.

Robin-Hoodism: sneering denigration of redistributionist political and economic policies.

root causes argument: see “explanations are not excuses,” above.

self-denying lifestyle: recycling, reducing water usage and waste, sustainability

“violence will not be tolerated”: except violence against black people in the form of harassment, discrimination, incarceration, and stigmatization, what N.D.B. Connolly calls “the daily violence of poverty”. or, as Ta-Nehisi Coates put it:

When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is “correct” or “wise,” any more than a forest fire can be “correct” or “wise.” Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.

voting rights protection: in the continuing “logic” of Bush v. Gore, this argument claims that various voter suppression tactics are designed to “protect” the rights of white voters.

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