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Commentary: Your language speaks for you

Commentary: Your language speaks for you

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There is an interesting procedure sometimes referred to as statistical stylometry. When people speak, they use words differently and at different frequencies. It is possible to take a sample of speech and compare it from different individuals and obtain a probability that the sample was spoken from each.

It is also possible the same word may not mean the same thing to different people, or that certain words may be used more by people with different beliefs.

Christians, as an extreme example, may use the word “grace” much differently than a fashion designer.

Currently, in our culture there are a number of words and phrases that are used differently by those on the political left and those on the right. Here is a short list.

Solidarity: I cringe when I hear this word. It is used by those who are enamored by the romance of revolution. It is almost always used in the context of a “fight.” Notice that a person must “stand” in solidarity. You don’t sit down and discuss. It is usually associated with the symbol of a raised fist. Conservatives hardly use the word. It reminds them of totalitarian systems and the insanity of Marxism.

Community: The actor Chevy Chase once spoke of the “actor community.” We all know what the word is supposed to mean, but that is not the way Chase used the word. To the left, a community is any group of people who share present concerns or attributes; usually portrayed as larger than it actually is. So, we have an LGB…+ Community. People in a community “stand in solidarity.” Speakers on the right hardly ever use the word this way. When you see the word used loosely, you know it is being spoken by someone who takes their liberalism so much for granted they have forgotten what the rest of the world looks like.

Far: This simple adjective is used across the political spectrum, but it has a slightly different meaning for each. For something to be “far left” or “far right,” there must be a reference point. When you get a chance, the next time you see this term in the news, ask what neutrality would look like.

For the last several decades, most media would talk about the “far right,” but never use the term, “far left.” This has some interesting long-term implications. It implies there is a large, united political left and any disagreement must come from isolated radials and extremists.

Hence, the events on January 6th became an “insurrection;” a dangerous attempt to overthrow the government. Attacks against federal building in other cities were “mostly peaceful protests.” Words not only have meaning; they carry a world view.

Racist: This term once had a generally agreed upon definition. Like many other words, it has been weaponized by a political movement. This has caught people who just wish to live their lives in peace off guard. To the left, everything is political. Conservatives find the idea abhorrent. Since the definition of racist is universally negative, it can be used to attack and marginalize political opponents. For people who use the term with regularity, it simply means they really don’t like you. That’s it.


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