November 30, 2009
Rebooting the DebateBy Michael D. Harbison
A former college roommate once gave me a very succinct piece of wisdom, passed on from his father, when he viewed me engaging in an ideological debate. The advice? "Never argue with a pig. It will waste your time, and it will just annoy the pig."
I am now observing how conservatives willingly cede the defining moments of a debate by accepting, and even parroting, the terminology of the Left. As long as we continue to let the left frame the argument, the picture we attempt to paint will not matter. When the debate is defined by their vernacular (global warming, gun control, health care, and all the rest), we sustain an uphill battle in our quest to have our views understood. Our words should define our beliefs inasmuch as the Liberal terminology defines the beliefs of the Left.
Liberal Phraseology: "Global warming," or "global climate change."
You mean: "The theory of man-made global climate change," or "The theory of mankind's interference in the Earth's natural temperature fluctuations."
The operative word here is "theory," because regardless of what non-scientists like Al Gore say, the debate isn't over. There is no consensus. The temperature has been changing since the beginning of time.
Liberal Phraseology: "Greenhouse gases."
You mean: "Carbon dioxide -- the essential ingredient for all plant life."
Where are the tree-huggers when you need them?
Liberal Phraseology: "Gun control."
You mean: "Disarming the law-abiding populace."
The reason the Founders endowed us with the Second Amendment was to protect us from a tyrannical government.
Liberal Phraseology: "Universal health care."
You mean: "Access to affordable health insurance."
We have the best health care system in the world. What we need is more competition among insurers and cost effective group plans.
Liberal Phraseology: "Equal rights for ___________."
You mean: "Preferential treatment for ___________."
If any member of society gets preferences, it cannot be considered "equal." If we substitute the word "white" or "man" for __________, would it still be considered "equal"?
Liberal Phraseology: "Public assistance programs," or "government programs."
You mean: "Taxpayer-subsidized entitlement programs," or "taxpayer-funded appropriation."
Rule Number One: The government has no money. They are not a revenue-generating entity. The government is a drain on prosperity. They reallocate resources. How much more money would you have in your pocket if you got a 50% tax cut?
Liberal Phraseology: "The plight of the homeless."
You mean: "People who are victims of their own poor choices, with the exception of the mentally incompetent."
People have learned that they don't have to be responsible for themselves if the nanny state continues to bail them out. And go ahead and concede that the bank bailouts are no different.
So when you hear a Liberal (or even a Moderate) use the Liberal phraseology, just chime in with "Oh, you mean..." They will have no argument, and you have rebooted the debate on your terms.