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Why Language Matters

April 17th, 2013

Sen. Marco Rubio has come under gentle pressure from some conservative quarters over his adoption of the term “undocumented ” in his bid to persuade Americans that the Rubio/McCain/Schumer plan to deal with illegal immigrants is good for the country.

The left has been using the power of language to manipulate Americans for many years, and this debate gives us an opportunity to examine how it is done, why it is done and the impact on public policy.

Breitbart traces the fight by the left wing to cleanse the media of the term “illegal immigrant” because it is “offensive”: As far back as 2004, academics have been pressuring the Associated Press to drop the terminology. For years, the AP resisted, saying that the term was accurate because it described a “person who resides in a country unlawfully”. But politics is everything.

Just this month, the AP announced that it would no longer use the term.

The same cleansing has occurred in the abortion debate, though over a much longer period of time. The media refuses to call groups like Idaho Chooses Life as “pro-life” – while having no trouble describing Planned Parenthood as “pro-choice”. Of course that is frustrating because it drains so much of the debate of its importance.

But the manipulation of language by the Left often has real-world consequences. During this past legislative session, abortion advocate John Rusche – Democrat leader in the Idaho House – “officially objected” to the use of the term ‘abortifacient’ during floor debate because “Emergency Contraception doesn’t cause abortions”.

Of course, what Rusche would not admit is that the Left – including members of the medical profession – have conspired to change definitions so that pregnancy no longer means what we all understand it to mean. By their cynical cleansing of the abortion debate, a new life simply doesn’t exist until the fertilized ovum manages to attach itself to the uterine wall. Since Emergency Contraception is specifically designed to interfere with that process, pregnancy doesn’t happen. And you can’t have an abortion if you don’t have a pregnancy to begin with.

Pretty slick, right? So slick in fact, that it is very difficult to even address Emergency Contraception in legislation because of the intentional abuse of language by operatives like John Rusche and the liberal media.

Even more important: Manipulation of language, words, has profound consequences because it is the medium of rational thought. An idea generally requires words to exist, and we certainly needs words to communicate our ideas to another. Win the battle for the dictionary and you can sometimes deprive your fellow citizens of truth altogether.


 

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