WORD ABUSE—A LEXICON
—by Dennis Prager
(Mr. Prager hosts a daily talk show on KABC Radio, Los Angeles)
A political way of thinking has so permeated the American consciousness that it has changed the way in which we use English. Below, a lexicon that shows how certain words are used by major American newspapers, by the electronic news media (especially television), and by many individuals in public and private debate.
Conservative: A person with selfish motives.
Liberal: A person with altruistic motives.
(N.B.: In 11 years of doing talk radio, I never once spoke to a liberal who believed that a person who voted for Ronald Reagan or George Bush could be motivated by altruism. Republicans, by definition, "vote with their pocketbooks.")
Ultra-Conservative: A person who is too conservative.
Ultra-Liberal: Term not used. One cannot be too liberal.
(N.B.: I read six newspapers a day, and countless journals. I have never encountered the term "ultra-liberal" or "arch-liberal." I read or hear about "ultra-" or "arch-conservatives" all the time.)
Christian Right: Contemptible people who always try to impose their values on other Americans.
Liberals: Idealistic people who never try to impose their values on other Americans.
(N.B.: When Christians try to put their values into law—for example, preventing government funds from going to what even most liberals would consider to be obscene art—they are attacked for trying to impose their values on others. However, when liberals pass laws reflecting their values—e.g. forcing states to allow gay and lesbian couples the same right to adopt children as married couples—that is not regarded as imposing values, but simply the right thing to do.)
Abortion: A form of birth control.
Women's Rights: Supporting the right to destroy a human fetus for personal convenience.
Animal Rights: Opposing the right to destroy a rabbit for cancer research.
(N.B.: In our time, the intellectual and moral norm is to regard a baby seal as of infinitely more worth than a human fetus.)
Fetus: An unborn baby that is to be aborted.
Baby: An unborn baby that is not to be aborted.
(N.B.: When a woman is pregnant and wants to give birth, no one asks her, no matter how early in the pregnancy, "So, how's the fetus doing?" We only use the term "fetus" when we plan to destroy it. Otherwise we use "baby" from the first day of pregnancy.)
Woman, Authentic: A woman who holds liberal views.
Woman, Inauthentic: A woman who does not hold liberal views.
(N.B.: Gloria Steinem called Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison a "female impersonator" [USA Today, 6-11-93]. Ms. Hutchison is a conservative Republican.)
Censorship: The refusal of the government to fund a radical artist.
(N.B.: Censorship was always understood as the prohibition of expression. According to the arts community and its supporters, however, "censorship" now means government refusal to fund a work of art.)
Censors: Christians who boycott violent TV shows.
Social Activists: Hollywood actors who boycott Colorado.
Hitler Youth: People who, among other terrible things, drown out liberal speakers with whom they disagree and destroy liberal newspapers with which they disagree.
Progressive Students: People who, among other terrible things, drown out conservative speakers with whom they disagree and destroy conservative newspapers with which they disagree.
(N.B.: Thus, the progressive students who stole all copies of the conservative paper at the University of Pennsylvania were exonerated, and the guards who stopped them were chastised for interfering with a student protest.)
The Soviet Union (before its fall): An alternative system of government that should not be condemned with such Cold War labels as "evil empire."
The Soviet Union (after its fall): An evil empire.
(N.B.: Since the fall of the Soviet Union, nearly everyone now speaks of communism in the terms that "Cold Warriors" used.)
Religious Extremist: A person who is too religious, usually meaning that the person holds traditional religious beliefs and is politically active.
Secular Extremist: Term not used. One cannot be too secular.
(N.B.: Those who call for the right to mention God's name in high school graduation exercises are religious extremists, while those, like the American Civil Liberties Union, who litigate against schools that post the Ten Commandments on their walls are never described as secular extremists.)
Sexist: A man who disagrees with women who hold liberal views. (For the term for a woman who disagrees with women who hold liberal views, see "Woman, Inauthentic.")
(N.B.: This is why Senator Edward Kennedy, one of the most notorious womanizers in American public life, is never called sexist: He doesn't disagree with liberal women's groups. However, men who treat women beautifully and respect them as equals, but do not agree with the National Organization for Women, are sexist.)
Tolerance: Openness to all ideas on the left.
Rage: The excuse for violence committed against innocent people by members of an aggrieved minority.
(N.B.: Since the thugs who terrorize Turkish immigrants in Germany are white, their actions are never understood in terms of rage, only condemned (correctly) as thuggery. But when black thugs terrorized Korean immigrants in Los
Angeles, their actions were constantly understood in terms of their "rage.")
Victims: Nearly all blacks and women, but essentially members of every group except white heterosexual males. The group must be associated with liberal activism.
(N.B.: Thus Korean-Americans, though the primary victims of the Los Angeles riots, are never referred to as victims; they hold conservative views.)
Ideal Family: Any unit of people.
(N.B.: To define the ideal family as a married mother and father with children is to be intolerant and judgmental.)
Progressive View of Humanity: Dividing people by their race, gender, and class.
Reactionary View of Humanity: Dividing people by their values and behavior.
Blacks (Authentic): Blacks who hold liberal views—in particular, that America is racist and that racism is the greatest black problem.
Blacks (Inauthentic): Blacks who do not hold liberal views—especially if they hold that America is not racist and that racism is not the greatest black problem. Such blacks are also known as Uncle Toms.
Racism: See "White Racism."
Racist: A white who does not agree with the position held by the civil rights leadership.
(N.B.: To cite one of innumerable examples, a number of black leaders have labeled support for school vouchers as racist, even though school vouchers tend to be supported more by inner-city blacks than by white suburbanites. But since the liberal black leadership is opposed to vouchers, support for it is racist.)
White Racism: Redundant term.
Black Racism: Term not used. It does not exist—an idea perpetrated by white racists.
Poverty: The reason for murder, rape, and carjackings.
Greed: The reason for embezzlement, insider trading, and other white-collar crimes.
Minorities: Members of groups whose spokesmen are angry at America. Thus Cuban-, Japanese-, Korean-, and Jewish-Americans are rarely spoken of as minorities.
Community: A term created in order to imply that members of a victimized group all hold the same (liberal) views.
Civil Rights Organizations: Organizations that hold white people responsible for the majority of blacks' problems.
Feminist Organizations: Organizations that hold men responsible for the majority of women's problems.
Blaming the Victim: Making moral demands of any member of a victimized minority (see "Victims").