Leftists overdo hive-mind discipline, but conservatives could use a little more

Words matter because they both reflect and shape what matters in a culture.  There's a reason Yiddish has innumerable words for the human condition, while French seemingly has an equal number for social and romantic relationships.  The left understands this.  Thus, Roger Kimball writes that, whether because of marching orders or hive thinking, leftists show remarkable discipline when writing about the 2020 election: Trump's claims are "baseless" or "lies."  As irritating as that is, I wish conservatives would show more verbal discipline around certain important subjects.

Kimball has noticed something that I've noticed, too:

Over the last year or so, I have noticed an innovation, at once stylistic and substantive, that has taken root throughout the regime media. It is this: whenever referring to Donald Trump and the 2020 presidential election, be sure to insert editorial comments to the effect that any concerns about the fairness of that election are "baseless" or the result of "lies." 

He's right.  Outside conservative media, no leftist or NeverTrump article is content to say something along the lines of "Trump again alluded to his claim that the 2020 election was fraudulent."  Every time, the author will throw in that one- or two-word editorial:

Just one example: in a column Saturday about Donald Trump's weekend rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the writer claimed Trump "spent much of his speech focusing on his baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election" (emphasis added).


Or how about this bit from later on in the piece: "Trump spent much of his speech touting the accomplishments of his term as president . . . and promoting the lie that the 2020 election was 'rigged and stolen'" (again, emphasis added). What do you think?

The leftist article doesn't have to be about a Trump rally.  It could be about Trump's shoelaces, and those words — baseless, lies — would work their way in.

Image: Words matter (edited) by atlascompany.

Kimball notes that it's hard to tell whether this framing is because of editorial mandates or because it simply reflects the leftists' own zeitgeist.  After all, they all think in hackneyed clichés.  Kimball has a wonderful quotation from Joe Sobran:

But I suspect that in many, maybe most, cases, it is simply the expression of what the late Joe Sobran identified as "the Hive." "Liberals laugh at conspiracy theories that assume that because there is a pattern there must be some central control," Sobran observed; "but the fact that there is no central control doesn't mean that there is no pattern."

Ultimately, Kimball thinks this verbal tic won't help the left.  It won't change the mind of true believers (pro- or anti-Trump), but it might lead ordinary, fairly non-political Americans to believe they're on the receiving end of a big lie, along the lines of Gertrude's line in Hamlet: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

Kimball is wise and probably right.  Having said that, what he wrote reminded me that conservatives, who, by nature, will never be hive-minded, could still use some message discipline.  There are two areas that particularly bother me, both because they cede ground to leftists.

First, conservatives must stop referring to Democrats as "liberals."  The word's root is the Latin liberalis or "of freedom."  Today's Democrats are statists, which is the antithesis of freedom.  Their values are firmly rooted in Marxism, a hard-left, totalitarian ideology.  Don't give them the false virtue of being "liberals."  As you see, I call them "leftists" every time.

Second, conservatives need to stop using a so-called "transgendered" person's "preferred pronouns."  Doing so tacitly concedes that there is such a thing as "transgenderism" as well as conceding that, in the land of free speech, we can be forced to abandon reality and accept someone's fantasy.  There is no "she" when it comes to Will "Lia" Thomas, a mentally ill man who likes walking around naked in women's restrooms and feeling like a big guy because he beats them in races.  Use people's actual pronouns, not their fantasy identities.

And while I'm talking about message discipline, Christopher Rufo is also on a linguistic crusade that deserves to be respected:

I don't want us ever to have a hive mind, but we must be precise in language: Democrats are leftists; clarity demands pronouns that reflect reality; and "radical gender theory" is an excellent description of what the left is advancing.

If you experience technical problems, please write to helpdesk@americanthinker.com