CONSERVATIVES, WE SHOULD WATCH OUR LANGUAGE
Co-authored by FJ Rocca and Dana R. Casey
It is another thing to refer to Obama as “President Lucifer” and to refer to Muslims as “Camel Jockeys” which may be cathartic, but such epithets divert attention from crucial issues and make the name calling the central focus of the articles that contain them. It is vitally important to speak not merely with truth, but with clarity, dignity and precision.
The word “liar” has specific meaning and act of corruption can be verified. But the terms “liar” and “demagogue” are not labels. They are descriptive terms that can be demonstrated and verified. Likewise, when a politician or other public figure is a hypocrite he should be called a hypocrite. When a politician has violated our rights or is abrogating those rights by a vote, we should shout about it loudly. When Eric Holder refuses to prosecute Black Panthers for waving truncheons to intimidate white voters, it is within reason to call him a racist, and when Al Sharpton commits fraud on the court, slander and libel in the Tawana Brawley case, which was legally found to be a hoax, he is a criminal and a fraud and should be call out for his disgraceful actions. He is certainly a demagogue and has proven to be.
This does not mean that we should soften our expression on the positions we take on issues. A writer can be clear and to the point without using clever epithets that actually detract from the purpose of an otherwise perfectly good article, which should be to spread correct ideas. Such epithets cause readers to think, as the Left always asserts, that we on the Right are inarticulate and ill-educated, therefore, must resort to name calling in place of logic. It gives their argument plausibility and robs our argument of legitimacy. I am all for expressing anger, and to call John Kerry duplicitous is right. In fact it is something that should be repeated again and again because it can be demonstrated by facts. Calling Kerry “Snake Tongue” is entertaining and clever, but it can also make the author of an article appear clownish rather than precise.
Don’t get me wrong. I do not want to soften the approach and many of the articles I have read that use such language often contain excellent and revealing analysis. But to call someone an inflammatory name can diminish the sharpness of the author’s salient points. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are racists and hate mongers. That can be documented through their actions and words. But we have to be careful that the words we use are precise. Insulting epithets make us appear adolescent, overly emotional and ignorant. Language has consequences and its effects are felt. It is through language that a clear point is made or obscured in an article. If we are to convince anyone that we know what we are talking about, it is vital that we stick to the issues and make our words count!
FJ Rocca and Dana R. Casey
FJ Rocca is an independent, conservative writer/blogger of fiction and non-fiction, most interested in the philosophy of American Conservatism. Clarity is more important than eloquence, but truth is vital in human discourse.
Dana R. Casey is a veteran High School English teacher of more than two decades in an East-coast urban system. She is a life-long student of theology, philosophy, and politics, dedicated to the true Liberalism of the Enlightenment, as defined by our Founders and enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.