Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in The Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories and fever swamps, Dec. 18-22, 2017

banned words

rhetorical claim: government language has to get more objective. A longtime analyst with the public health agency told the Washington Post in a report Friday that senior CDC officials who oversee the agency’s budget were told at a meeting in Atlanta on Thursday that they are no longer allowed to use the words: “evidence-based,” “science-based,” “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” and “fetus.”

In the case of “science-based” or “evidence-based,” the analyst said an alternative phrase suggested for use was: “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.” Some of the other words did not get replacements.

rhetorical effect: Orwellian mind control. Banning terms such as “science”and ‘”evidence” does not diminish their status as  the pillars of rational thought and civic discourse. Saying that “community standards” should replace the concept of science is to sanction mob control and will lead to a new idiocracy.


benign administrative despotism

free, republican and limited government

rhetorical claim: according to Claremont Institute President Ryan Williams:

The notion that America should focus on helping others and on exporting its values to the rest of the globe [is] sheer tomfoolery …We have a more urgent task at home. We must focus, and with a sense of urgency, on saving free, republican, and limited governments at home. We have over the last hundred years been heading down the slippery slope of despotism—even if an often benign and administrative despotism.

The hedonism and decadence of America, coupled with previous immigration policies, might not only make it impossible to return to the founders’ vision of America but ultimately result in the collapse of the American government itself. True American character—rough and ready—has been submerged underneath steady inundations of political correctness, illegal immigration, imperious judicial rulings, and a lax educational system.

rhetorical effect: justifies the dismantling of the administrative state in the name of following “the moral laws of nature.” Applying these “laws” permits discrimination, which is “the right to freedom itself.” Following this logic, this freedom to discriminate between domestic friends and foes is the only way to MAGA. Democracy The key is the libertarian idea, woven into the right’s ideological DNA, that redistribution is the exploitation of the “makers” by the “takers.” It immediately follows that democracy, which enables and legitimizes this exploitation, is itself an engine of injustice. As the novelist Ayn Rand put it, under democracy “one’s work, one’s property, one’s mind, and one’s life are at the mercy of any gang that may muster the vote of a majority.”


misleading Americans

rhetorical claim: the lying media continually attempts to mislead the American public with inaccurate reporting–mistruths. By distorting the facts, they are practicing the worst kind of yellow journalism.

rhetorical effect: implies that anyone believing media stories critical of the Trump administration is somehow un-American.


the forgotten man

rhetorical claim: The GOP tax reform package will finally bring financial relief to the forgotten man, long neglected by elitist Democrats. According to Paul Ryan, “When people see their withholding improving, when they see the jobs occurring, when they see bigger paychecks, a fairer tax system, a simpler tax code, that’s what’s going to produce the results.”

rhetorical effect: The GOP has become its own caricature as the party of the rich. As Dana Millbank argues,

Republicans worked hard to convince Americans that Obamacare was a transfer of wealth from the middle class to the poor. Democrats can now argue, truthfully, that the Trump Tax is a transfer of income from the middle class to the wealthy and big business. Under the law, the middle fifth of American households will see an average increase in after-tax income next year of $930, while the top 1 percent get an average increase of $51,140, according to the Tax Policy Center. The rich even get a greater proportional increase in after-tax income: 2.3 percent, compared with 1.4 percent for the middle class.

While the “forgotten man” Trump lured with phony populism gets little benefit, the things that bothered the forgotten man about the tax code — a tangled mess of loopholes for businesses, the rich and Wall Street — remain intact. This will be a “bigger albatross” for Republicans than Obamacare was for Democrats, argues Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson. “They own the tax code. When you are upset about taxes, you’re going to be upset about the Trump Tax.”


demographic replacement

rhetorical claim: according to Tucker Carlson:

Democrats know if they keep up the flood of illegals into the country, they can eventually turn it into a flood of voters for them. They don’t have to foster economic growth, or be capable administrators, or provide good government. They just have to keep the pump flowing, and power will be theirs.

It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s happening in public. You can watch it happen. So, when Democrats howl about shutting down the government because they want total surrender on DACA, remember, this is the reason why. Their political success does not depend on good policies, but on demographic replacement, and they’ll do anything to make sure it happens.

rhetorical effect: justifies voter suppression, criminalizes any vote that goes against Trump or the GOP.


mixing cultures

rhetorical claim: according to Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa),

Diversity is not our strength…Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one,”

rhetorical effect: summons up such classic past hate words as “mongrelization” and “miscegenation” suggesting a racist, ethnic-cleaning agenda.



rhetorical clam: according to FOX ‘s Laura Ingraham, Afro-Americans ae ungrateful for the good life most of them have, especially in comparison to the lives they had 100 years ago. Whereas the only urban agenda Dems have for blacks are handouts,  to

Donald Trump in one year has done more for the African American standard of living than any president in my lifetime! … Right now, the response to that is, Donald Trump has to be a racist.

rhetorical effect: “ungrateful” is a euphemism for “uppity.” Extends Trump’s labeling black culture broken and devastated. As he put it during the campaign, addressing Afro-Americans directly,

What do you have to lose?” Trump asks African-Americans as he argues that Democrats have failed them and so they should support him “You live in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs.”


rooting for failure

rhetorical claim: redistributionist Dems (the social justice brigades)  are now rooting for economic failure and stuck in the politics of envy. The party this week has issued an all-but-official announcement that its core interests are at odds with those of the entire private economy of business owners and employers. For modern Democrats, the employer class is a lumpen corporatariat, with no other function in the life of the country than to be taxed and regulated.

rhetorical effect: reduces concerns about inequality to “the politics of envy”; reduces and demonizes any resistance to GOP tax cuts as a betrayal of the American people; makes Dems seem as though they instinctually oppose “growth,” whereas they really oppose corporate greed and feathering the nests of the wealthy. Also makes economic growth (measured solely by one number–the GDP) the be-all and end-all of the defiintion of national prosperity


championing American values

rhetorical claim: Trump’s national security policy, unlike Obama’s “leading from behind”, puts the strength back into the phrase “peace through strength.” Offering a clear-eyed view of America’s enemies, it ends the period of Obama- induced national self doubt.  As Victor Davis Hanson puts it,

The theme of the Trump document is American restoration. In Reaganesque fashion, the administration sees itself as similarly overturning an era of strategic stagnation, analogous to the self-doubt, self-imposed sense of decline, and thematic malaise of the Carter era. Instead, the “strategic confidence” and “principled realism” of the Trump Administration will purportedly snap America back out its Obama recessional in the same manner that Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s.

If the United States is not strong, then the world order will weaken: “America first is the duty of our government and the foundation for U.S. leadership in the world. A strong America is in the vital interests of not only the American people, but also those around the world who want to partner with the United States in pursuit of shared interests, values, and aspirations…

The Trump document does not assume a shared global agenda worth emulating. And while it is not an illiberal document, the 2017 national security strategy assumes that Thucydidean fear, honor, and perceived self-interest will always drive rival powers to dethrone the postwar order of consensual government, consumer capitalism, and individual liberty that are protected not by the United Nations, but only by the United States and its loyal allies of like mind: “We learned the difficult lesson that when America does not lead, malign actors fill the void to the disadvantage of the United States. When America does lead, however, from a position of strength and confidence and in accordance with our interests and values, all benefit.”

rhetorical effect: bellicosity–the tendency to be eager for confrontation and war–is now the centerpiece of US foreign policy, and we no longer have friends we can count on, but only temporary allies in the Hobbesian war of all against all. Reduces our national agenda to GDP growth and military dominance–hardly the shining City on a Hill. Makes us more ike Sparta than Athens.


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