In wars of propaganda language is the weapon. 2016 will go down in history as the year this weapon failed the establishment left to prevent Trump, Brexit and other nationalistic swells. The usual labels of racist, xenophobic and sexist failed to prevent people from voting for these movements despite being arguably more appropriate then at any time in recent history. It’s not like people got more racist since the election of Obama. Why did this happen and what are liberals doing about it?
How the buzzwords lost their buzz
For the first time in decades liberals have found themselves on the back foot in the culture war for the hearts and minds of western civilization. 2016 had marked setbacks for neo-liberals in particular. This is troublesome for the establishment who’s facing attacks on its golden calves: immigration, free trade and globalization. Despite the old labels of “racist,” “xenophobic” and new hot ones “sexist,” “islamaphobe” and “homophobe” being used they didn’t quell the reactionary nationalistic groundswell seen across Europe and America. This was because the labels had been wasted on moderates years before. Words are like drugs: over use leads to immunity.
When insults are misapplied on those who don’t deserve them the words get weakened and the targets get emboldened. A minor example of this would be “Gamer Gate,” an innocent enough bipartisan movement which had some concerns about journalistic ethics in the gaming industry. The movement was smeared with such venom by the press as misogynistic and bigoted that it sparked a huge backlash. The community it spawned would go onto play a minor role in the support of Brexit and Trump. Now calling something “sexist” in the gaming scene will get you labeled a “SJW” and your criticisms dismissed almost outright.
“Trumps a racist? Well that’s what you called Mitt Romney and he didn’t seem that bad…” – American voters.
Also before conservatives get too smug this problem affects both sides of the aisle to an extent. Republicans spent years calling Obama a communist dictator despite him being about as mild as Lipton iced tea. If Bernie Sanders won the primary there would have been a very good chance he’d have taken the presidency because all the “class warfare” language was run into the ground by Fox.
Liberals respond to losing their linguistic power
Now liberal establishment politicians and media are desperately trying to put the fear of extremes back into the public without the tools needed to do so. New phrases and words are already being forged. “Hate speech” is the hot new catch all for the combined previous labels of racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic etc. A linguistic equivalent of using all the antibiotics at once. However, by far the most popular new term being used, particularly against the Trump administration, is the likening to the evillest political force of our time: 卐 Nazi Germany 卐.
Leftists new scare tactic is that key opponents are “FASCIST.” Trump is likened to being “HITLER” and if not stopped we’ll be living in a “DICTATORSHIP.”
If we actually put our thinking caps on we see that Trump is not very fascist. Shares qualities maybe… but to the extent the little athletics egg and spoon race shares similarities with the Olympics.
If you’re convinced his marmalade tan covers a nasal mustache here are the reasons that’s stupid. He hasn’t given himself any extra tools of power outside the current system. He legally can’t give himself any extra tools of power. The entire establishment is against him so nobody will help him get extra tools of power. He doesn’t have the majority approval of the public, judiciary or government. He is a complete outsider in his own party and everyone in Washington is rooting he fails so things go back to being profitably boring. He. Can’t. And. Won’t. Take. Over. The. Country. To. Institute. A. Fourth. Reich.
Liberals stop overreacting… please! The outcome of name calling “fascist” will be the same as when we used the other labels. It won’t work. The language isn’t the problem it’s the tactic.
This is becoming actually dangerous as the left is using up the deadliest of histories warnings on a stupid reality TV star who fluked an election because Hillary Clinton ran on a platform of nothing. Actual Fascism and Marxism is just around the corner. Neo-Nazi Party Golden Dawn are seeing big gains in Greece and violent speech suppressors Antifa are shutting down discourse in Europe and America. Liberals have to actually work on presenting arguments rather then divisive name calling or the consequences are going to be deadly.
I’m not saying people with far left progressive views shouldn’t contribute to the discourse or can’t hold their opinions. They just need to learn to communicate better. Here is an example. Contrast the screaming blue haired women who yells “RACIST SCUMBAG I’M COMING FOR YOU FARAGE” to Russel Brand having a genuine respectful go at explaining his point of view to a working class audience member. Who do you think won more hearts and minds?
Labels only work on those already invested in them; aka people who agree with you. They only continue to work if correctly applied. Calling Trump a fascist when he’s not doesn’t win over his followers and weakens the phrase. If you smear a group or ideology as scum it’s true you might be able to cow them from the spotlight. But sure as shit when time comes to vote they’re going to put that tick down in whatever the “fuck you” box is. Understanding and open dialogue are the only effective means to avert the disasters this planet is headed for and us liberals have some work to do policing our own.
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