Vacuous Verbiage - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Vacuous Verbiage

A few weeks ago I was taking a test drive while shopping for a new car, when I asked the salesman about an idiot light that read “Eco.” He gave me an embarrassed shrug and explained that it really served no function, but when lit, it lets the driver know that he is driving economically; predictably going off only when you step on the gas. In other words, it is a dazzling bit of technology replete with arcane jargon, the usefulness of which serves only its inventors and other nanny-types who want to guilt you into saving fuel, ergo, the planet. Or, as a better writer than I once said, it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

It seems much of modern American daily life is full of such useless but oh-so-cool verbiage; usually aimed at confirming some feel-good, liberal gobbledygook. In some cases they are new coinages but all too often they are simply common words whose meanings are twisted to become paradigms of suggested behavior. The term coined a few decades ago for these language aberrations was “political correctness,” but of course, the only political aims served by this nonsense are liberal ones. Let’s look at just a few.

Pride: This was once defined as “satisfaction with your (or another’s) achievements.” Today we are asked to celebrate pride, not in any achievements, but in the mere existence of certain groups. We are to exude pride for nearly all countries and cultures except our own, which ironically plays host to these other ethnic festivities. But perhaps the most twisted use of the word is employed by the homosexual lobby. We are constantly subjected to exhortations to bask in displays of gay pride; as if the desire to employ sexual organs in unnatural ways was some kind of laudable achievement, the triumph of which is to be lasciviously paraded in the streets. Silly me, but I thought the original message from homosexuals was that they are just like everyone else, and desire to be treated that way.

Charity: This word comes from the Latin, caritas, which means love; not the romantic kind but that which is meant by “love thy neighbor.” In modern parlance, this usually means participating in the innumerable walkathons, marathons, and bikeathons that occur nearly everyday and usually involve dressing up in your coolest “active wear,” donning colorful rubber bracelets emblazoned with your “cause” and generally having a gay old time. Then there’s the idea that having monies deducted from one’s paycheck for tax avoidance purposes or the cheerful paying of taxes themselves is a form of charitable giving. It almost never means what it used to: a spiritual or material sacrifice on behalf of another.

Racism/Hate: In the old days, before liberals looted our lexicon, this was defined as extreme aversion or hostility, usually as a result of prejudging people who belonged to certain groups; most often ethnic or racial. Today, this has been reversed to imply that people must be admired because of their membership in certain groups — usually those whose political leanings coincide with the leftist agenda — and that all who fail to do so by merely expressing differing opinions are judged as racist/haters. In other words, judging a book by its cover used to be wrong, but now it is completely acceptable, as long as the pages come from the leftist playbook.

Belief in self: This term, an upgrade from “self-esteem,” is sold as a sure-fire way to ensure success in any endeavors over which one wishes to triumph. But it is especially used in the sports world where, on the winning of a championship, we are assured by the talking heads that a major key to victory was that the winners “believed in themselves,” as if belief in the other team would have helped. A noteworthy offshoot of this is when children who are the beneficiaries of all sorts of public assistance are counseled to “believe in themselves,” while our president has declared to successful entrepreneurs that they “didn’t build that” themselves.

Good Person: Rounding out this short list—and there are many, many more—of liberally distorted words and phrases, is the one which makes my skin crawl more than fingernails on a blackboard: the self-proclamation that one is a “good person.” This crowning achievement of the Age of Relativism is a get-out-of-jail card like no other; or so it is commonly thought. To really believe in such pap requires, of course, belief in nothing. And that’s just the way our minders in the media and public school system like it; no set of rules, no religion or moral underpinning of any kind is needed or wanted in the America of socialist Utopians.

So what’s the big deal? Why should it matter that civic pride now means the staging of raucous “look at me” displays, or that charity has been reduced to having a great time instead of self abnegation and sacrifice? Who cares if we have devolved so far from being a country based on Judeo-Christian values that we no longer believe “In God We Trust,” when it’s so much easier and more fun to believe and trust only in ourselves? After all, we really are good people… aren’t we?

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