Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in GOP language factories and fever swamps, July 18-25, 2018

hating freedom

contempt for America

rhetorical claim: Today, America heroically takes on socialism’s pernicious bigotry and hate-mongering against freedom in the Democratic Party and the MSM in a head-to-head battle in front of all humankind, trying to put a nail in the coffin of the Left’s return to rule by oligarchs.  The left champions corrupt elites like Hillary and Bill Clinton, and Bernie Sanders, and their super-rich donors, who the left agrees should be above the law, the IRS, FBI, NSA, CIA – with these institutions even helping to break the law and hide the proof.  The left’s contempt for America is total – suggesting that leftists see nothing redeeming in who we are.  The left’s fifty-year slander of American history excludes the accomplishments of white males, the result of a unique degree of freedom blended with the Founders’ exceptional knowledge of history that created a trickle-down effect in moral influence that no one can match.

rhetorical effect: so many hatreds and grievances, so little time. As the litany of pet memes–socialism, hating freedom, corrupt elites, contempt for white males–gathers steam, this super whining becomes a defense of white males, and their “trickle-down moral influence.” Justifies treating white males as a superior lifeform.

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safe speech zones

mental surrender

rhetorical claim: Universities had for centuries been halls of challenge and discovery, for the teachers as much as for the students.  Today, they are incubators of intellectual insulation.  A young person does not emerge from college with a broadened mind.  Those modern professors and instructors, who deferred their own minds to “liberation” in previous decades, indoctrinate new generations toward renouncing the necessities of thought for the capriciousness of “feelings” and emotion.  Colleges – and mostly taxpayer-funded at that – often provide “safe spaces” as emergency harbors from the perils of reason.  The ideologies of guest speakers have become largely homogenized, and those speakers who defy approved dogma are hounded off campus by rioting “protesters,” if the administration allows them on campus to begin with.  Holding to beliefs counter to the prevailing mentality is branded a threat to the world.  It does threaten a world: one of unsustainable denial and delusion.

Critical and rational thought is being vanquished.  In its place is a Randian horror of mental surrender.  Orwell described Eastasia’s dominant philosophy as “death worship,” better translated as “obliteration of the self.”  I can conceive of no more fitting phrase.  The academic world and the realms of entertainment and media have nurtured and encouraged too many to offer their minds as sacrifice to convenience and their souls to mass approval.  Most have happily complied if they have been cognizant of having a choice at all.

rhetorical effect: dismisses any dissent as delusional, irrational, and an attempt to obliterate reality. Assumes that Trumpians know the world, and their critics are lost in a world of denial and madness. Could eventually lead to the criminalization of dissenting speech.

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LGBTQ totalitarianism

rhetorical claim: The infusion of LGBTQ sexuality will inevitably upend tried and true traditions and moral standards.  Their disordered sexual mores, with their parades and orgies, are true totalitarians, intent on no less than eliminating any  moral opposition to them.

rhetorical effect: turns a persecuted minority into victimizers and fascists; transforms any call for free speech into a “totalitarian” act of political suppression; defends the privilege of heterosexual culture as the universal “tried and true” moral standard.

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post-modern neo-Marxism

rhetorical claim: college campuses have been taken over by dogmatic, anti-democratic post-modern neo-Marxists, who have been indoctrinating students for at least twenty years with their internationalist, anti-capital, blame-America first propaganda.

rhetorical effect: makes polemical or theory-bound critical approaches equivalent to “mind control,” even if the aim of such approaches is disciplined inquiry and argument-making, not “brainwashing.” Throw in the tired smears of “Marxist” or “Socialist,” add a little Saul Alinsky reference, and you’ve turned dissent into subversion, and made critical inquiry an enemy of the state. Part of the right wing’s hermeneutics of suspicion, its intense paranoia about any progressive ideas.

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Russianism

rhetorical claim: according to Victor Davis Hanson:

Russianism is a psychological malady in which furor at Donald Trump’s election victory and presidency — and the ensuing depression resulting from the inability to abort it — finds release through fixation on Russia…The Mueller/collusion façade, like the Russia-is-Satan construct, also serves progressives as a means of psychological projection. Damning Moscow 24/7 makes up for prior appeasement of Putin 24/7, the same way that the “collusion” fantasy diverts attention from the reality that Obama-administration officials sought to warp a U.S. election by abusing FISA courts, weaponizing the intelligence agencies, colluding with the Clinton campaign in peddling bought opposition research, working with unethical toady journalists, and planting informants in a presidential campaign.

And the font of this malaise? Progressives need a scapegoat to blame for their disastrous election loss in 2016 and their lack of a persuasive agenda, which, hand-in-glove, turned over the Congress, the presidency, and the Supreme Court to progressives’ worst nightmare.

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rhetorical assassination

rhetorical claim: Progressives have been steadily trying to rhetorically assassinate Trump since he took office, calling him variously unhinged, involved in criminal conspiracies with the Russians, and even traitorous. Kathy Griffin and others have actually talked about beheading him. None of these charges have stuck, and it’s increasingly clear that the only criminality engaged in was committed by the Dems, the FBI, the CIA, and the Justice Department. Almost every aspect of American culture has been weaponized to delegitimize Trump, but his base isn’t fooled by this Dem desperation.

rhetorical effect: delegitimizes the delegitimization of Trump, inoculating him against any indictments or impeachment. Induces a widespread paranoid panic about sinister forces “out to get the President,” when in actuality Trump is his own worst enemy. The Trump administration is a Manichean hall of mirrors in which every distortion, smear, and lie is reflected back as a necessary response to supposed liberal assault. Thus they justify their lies as part of a broader campaign against Democrats’ dishonesty and knee-jerk hatred of all things Trump.

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the Democrat-media complex

rhetorical claim: The left has been (correctly) called unhinged, serial liars, power-mad, angry, out of control, spite-filled, envious, spoiled, while constantly engaging in toddler-like tantrums, and in full, complete psychotic meltdown..  The left has been exposed (correctly) as brimming with hatred for opponents, being filled with inane, oft-times insane beliefs.  These are the libertine #MeTooers who all knew that their heroes were sexual predators, are fully gender confused, and are unsurpassed hypocrites.

The left apparently now supports socialism, despises free enterprise, can’t abide religious expression (hate god), can’t handle other opinions or debate, believes so many things that simply aren’t so, is trying to squelch the First Amendment as much as it can in institutions it rules,  has embraced the invasion of America by illegal aliens and the replacement of the American voting population by said illegals, and supports the demonization of white males. It’s mass delusion, confusion, lying, pomposity, smugness, and groupthink.

rhetorical effect: treats dissent as a mental illness.

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the Protestant work ethic

rhetorical claim: So-called “progressives” seem to have forgotten that the Protestant work ethic made America. They systematically seek to undo both the Protestant foundation of America by denying religious liberty or the work ethic part by pushing for a universal Obamaesque welfare state.

rhetorical effect: part of Trump’s pluto-populist campaign: “the people’s billionaire” who supposedly embodies hard work and the Horatio Alger myth of the self-made man is actually a  trust-funder who has done nothing but lie and cut corners in his very checkered business career. The GOP’s greed and grievance approach has only reinforced Trump’s phony populism as the middle and lower classes continue to get screwed and the top 1% get all the tax cuts and yet feel Trump has answered all of their grievances.

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making baseless charges

rhetorical claim: the security clearances for several Trump haters should be revoked, According to the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders:

The president is exploring the mechanisms to remove security clearance because they’ve politicized and, in some cases, monetized their public service and security clearances. Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate. And the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.

rhetorical effect: the pot calling the kettle black–reversing the field, in classic Trump rhetorical manner. As deconstructed by Paul Waldman:

Naturally, Sanders provides no details or specifics. But stand back and marvel for a moment that Trump’s White House is taking the position that “making … baseless charges” is absolutely intolerable and must be punished. Trump, the most profligate liar in the history of the American presidency. And the Trump administration now believes that you’re not supposed to monetize your public service? Good to know.

As to what it means to monetize your security clearance and government service, it’s what thousands of officials from Democratic and Republican administrations, not to mention Congress, do all the time. They serve on corporate boards, they make paid speeches, they become lobbyists, they go into “consulting,” they work for defense contractors or other corporations. Even those who go to think tanks or nonprofit advocacy groups are using what they learned in government to earn a salary. There’s plenty to criticize about the revolving door, but the idea that it’s something that only a few former officials who served under Barack Obama (as well as Republican presidents) have done is so plainly ludicrous that it’s almost surprising that even Sanders could say it with a straight face. Almost.

In the ever-growing list of moronic Trump administration ideas, stripping security clearances from former officials who have had the temerity to criticize the president won’t count among the most consequential. But it will be one of the most Trumpian.

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