Code Words

March 6th, 2015

In the past, there have been a virtual lexicon of expressions designed to sound generally positive and innocuous while in fact forwarding a strident partisan agenda. “State’s rights” has long been used as a means of attempting circumvention of everything from prohibition of slavery to Obamacare. “Victim’s rights” has been synonymous with denying the rights of the accused, an integral—indeed, overwhelming—chunk of the Bill of Rights. More recently, “academic freedom” and “teaching the controversy” have been used as code words for violating the separation of church and state so as to teach creationism in public schools.

Now we have a new one: Religious Liberty. You want to deny women the right to birth control as much as possible? Well, any relationship you have with them, no matter how slight or glancing, gives you the right to do so, because otherwise, your religious freedoms would be infringed! A gay couple comes into your business and you want to discriminate? Sure, it’s illegal—but if you can’t, then your religious rights are being trodden upon! Religious Liberty!

And if you’re a Hindu who wants to give an invocation at a town meeting?


See? Simple!

  1. Troy
    March 7th, 2015 at 04:48 | #1

    “Freedom” is another word for government not regulating society.

    So yeah, free to discriminate against other people in commerce, free to ram the majority’s religion down the throats of all minority religions, free to grind the disadvantaged into the ground via capital and market asymmetries, free to corner any market and protect that position through (what liberals call) “anticompetitive” practices — the whole “conservative” reactionary agenda that is trying to get the nation back to the 19th century “good ol’ days” (which didn’t exist).

    i.e. “Young Americans for Freedom”

    “When one young libertarian burned his draft card on the convention floor, the crowd turned into an angry mob and, ultimately, purged all libertarians from YAF. One libertarian faction stormed out of the meeting.”

    Conservatives are certainly a piece of work. Thing is, there’s so many of them!

    I guess everyone has a conservative inside trying to get out. LBJ tried to appeal to peoples’ “better angels”:

    Over the next several days the eyes of the Nation will be upon Alabama, and the eyes of the world will be upon America. It is my prayer, a prayer in which I hope all Americans will join me earnestly today, that the march in Alabama may proceed in a manner honoring our heritage and honoring all for which America stands.

    May this, the conduct of all Americans, demonstrate beyond dispute that the true strength of America lies not in arms and not in force and not in the might of the military or in the police, nor in the multitudes of marshals and State troopers but in respect and obedience to law itself.

    In other times a great President–President Abraham Lincoln–said that he was confident that we would be touched by the better angels of our nature. That is my hope for you, and my expectation of all of you and my prayer to all of you today.

    Everybody is innately conservative . . . “my religion is best / people like me are best / got mine get yours (but not from me)” . . . progressive/liberal movements only coalesce when all that self-centered bullshit gives rise to intolerable social or market conditions.

    2014 election had a sub-40% turnout:

    Japan’s snap election hovered over 50%, also a low:

  2. Luis
    March 7th, 2015 at 12:43 | #2

    That’s pretty much it… freedom from government telling me that I can’t tell other people what to do.

    But that’s at the core of conservatism nowadays: my way, all the time. Me, me, me, it’s all about me. I want my social security and medicare, which I want you to support more, but I want to deny you yours so I can cut my taxes. I want my religious freedom to mean I can cross the age-old line of swinging my arm where your face begins, so I can force my preferences on you and not the other way around.

    In fact, any principle works only if it benefits me: no tax increases ever, but just for me, if it’s on people I don’t like then okay. States rights must rule, but only for things I approve and never for things I don’t like. Strict constructionism is the rule of the day, unless the constitution clearly says something I disagree with, and then I rewrite it to mean what I want.

    It’s as if conservatism has regressed to the moral and ethical consistency of a two-year-old.

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