Wednesday night, Washington, D.C. – American Enterprise Institute & Heritage Foundation scholars, media members, writers, donors, Congressmen gather along with 20 CCU Washington Week students & faculty. The occasion; Arthur Brooks, president of AEI, is speaking about his new book, “The Road to Freedom”. The lecture focused on the battle between conservatives & liberals in the public square. Brooks explained that as president of AEI it is clear that the truth and statistical backing rests within the conservative ideas and policies. Despite this, the left is winning the battle. Brooks believes this quandary is caused by the failure of conservatives to make a strong moral argument for our beliefs and our ignorance of the neuropsychological proof that moral arguments affect human brains in a way far more powerful than solely logical arguments.
To illustrate the failure of strictly logical arguments versus a moral case Brooks tells a joke – ‘Three friends go out golfing; a psychologist, a priest and a free market economist. They find themselves playing behind two incredibly slow golfers. These golfers are painfully slow and are ruining the friends’ day at the golf course. After several holes of impatiently waiting behind these two men who are shooting upwards of 12 strokes per hole, the three ask the caddy to allow them to play through. The caddy replies “you guys are free to play through, but I want you all to be aware of how rude you’ve been… Remember the fire at the schoolhouse last year, and the two firemen who lost their sight while rescuing 13 children from the blaze? Well that’s them and this weekly golf game is their most coveted source of fun since losing their vision, and you three have been heckling them this entire time.” The psychologist replies, “Wow, here I’ve devoted my life to trying to help people and I just learned a valuable lesson today.” The priest says “Oh my, I have a contrite heart and I have been humbled by these two great men.” The free-market economist pauses for a moment, and then says, “It would be more efficient if they were to play at night!”’(Paraphrase Quote)
Clearly the economist in this joke has made a factual and relevant argument, but he has completely failed to address the moral reality of this situation and thus ignored an integral element of human nature. This anecdote masterfully illustrates the climate of political discourse between the right & left today. Brooks went on to show that the right is not devoid of moral substance. Rather he showed that every claim has moral implications, and that we must reach towards those implications in our argumentation in order to reach others with the truth where it so often is overlooked.
(CCU Faculty) In a graduate seminar at the University of California 30 years ago, I made the mistake of using the word ‘gals’ instead of ‘women’. The feminists in the class verbally assaulted me at being insensitive to their gender issues. It seems that wherever we go now, we must be careful not offend the hyper-sensitive feelings of those who wish to limit our speech, and force us to use the words they prefer.
Last week the NBC cafeteria served fried chicken, collard greens, and corn bread in honor of black history month. The chef, who happens to be black, had wanted to do this for years but didn’t understand the controversy that flared as other African-Americans claimed they were offended. NBC apologized, took down the sign in the cafeteria, and quickly changed the menu. Had it been St. Patrick’s Day would some have been offended by corned beef and cabbage? Had it been Cinco de Mayo would some have been offended by enchiladas and beans?
The overwhelmingly number of those ‘political correct’ whom I have met were disciples of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Richard Rorty. Those who cajoled me 30 years ago to use their words were leftist feminists, who often cited these thinkers in our class. Marx stressed the overturning of traditional power structure based on wealth. Nietzsche stressed the ‘will to power’ that impels the intellectuals to dominate others. Lenin stressed the seizure of power by a small group of intellectuals, who would then remake society by eliminating traditional power structures and re-educate the masses.
Foucault considered power to be “actions upon others' actions in order to interfere with them”, to make them “behave in ways than they otherwise would not have done.” These disciples of Foucault want new “belief systems to gain momentum as more people come to accept the particular views associated with that belief system as common knowledge.” The politically-correct hope through intimidation to dominate our language and our minds, and thereby alter our culture into one which they believe is more ‘socially just.’
Derrida insisted that ideas don’t even exist outside of the language we use to express them, and that language actually constructs reality. If progressives can change the meaning of words, they believe they can alter reality itself. When the meanings of words change, they believe they can change the nature of truth itself.Rorty claimed, that truth “cannot be out there, cannot exist independently of the human mind, because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there. The world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not. Only descriptions of the world can be true or false. The world on its own—unaided by the describing activities of humans—cannot.” There is no objective truth, only what we subjectively create by our use of words. By manipulating vocabulary, we impose whatever truth we wish. Grammar destroys science. The politically-correct have read (or are at least following the agenda of) Foucault, Derrida and Rorty. They want to sweep away our world and create their own.
Let’s recognize these claims of ‘offense’ for what they often are, attempts to use power over language to take away our freedoms and way of life, all in the name of their ‘progressive’ agenda. Let’s not allow the thought police, the tyrants of ‘politically-correct’ speech to feign ‘offense’ and intimidate us any longer. Let’s recognize their actual agenda, which is to force us to yield to their use of power, to force us to use their terminology and accept their aberrant world-view. In doing so we will expose their claim to power for what it really is, another attempt to take away our freedoms (especially of speech) and impose their radical agendas.
('76 Contributor) Rhetoric often manipulates our understanding through bias-laden misuse of language. We all have encountered this. "Progressive, " for example, suggests innovative, visionary and benevolent. But most "progressive" policies merely regurgitate antiquated notions that were disproved decades ago. A principal contemporary example of outdated "progressive" policy would be the flurry of big-spending, big-government legislation being touted by this Administration, merely repeating the failed economic policies that worsened and prolonged the Great Depression.
Conversely, "conservative" has come to signify stingy and contrary. Actually, there are two distinct forms of conservatism: fiscal and social. Fiscal conservatives believe that spending should be restrained, not over-taxing the public, especially during this economic downturn. Conservative fiscal restraint limits government spending just as people must limit their home budgets. Social conservatives believe in traditional interpersonal values, such as integrity and responsibility.
"Benefits" implies improvement. Properly used, the word denotes the favorable outcome for which we must commit some expenditure of time and resources. When used by the government, though, some people expect the proverbial "free lunch" free for them, paid by someone else.
"Government-funded" has no meaning whatsoever. At any level, no government has any money except ours. Taxes and debt are the only sources of government funding. That is, WE pay for "government-funded" projects. If a politician promises to deliver yet more benefits (see above) at no additional cost, that money must then be taken from some already-funded program.
Impassioned rhetoric should instantly signal the need for wariness, carefully assaying the logic and validity of the speaker's or writer's words. Bias-laden buzz-words especially trigger our alarm bells, protecting us from their misleading damage.