THE PROGRESSIVE EUPHEMISM MACHINE

Progressives are expert at misbranding and using euphemisms to shape the terms of a debate. Let’s start with abortion.

Abortion ends a life and buries a potential that will never be realized.

As the character Bill Munn, played by Clint Eastwood in the movie Unforgiven, said, “It’s a hell of a thing killing a man. You take away everything he’s got and everything he’s ever gonna have.”

Given this unarguable reality, the lefty spin machine has given us: “reproductive rights,” “choice,” “reproductive health care,” and “women’s health care.” Notice what’s missing? No mention of the death of a human being and what could have been. Why? Because women vote, and fetuses don’t.

Renewable energy” and “green energy” are outright falsehoods. There is no such thing as renewable energy. Energy always has a source, be it natural gas or solar cells. Both require a manufacturing process that relies on fossil fuels and consumes resources that are mined or drilled. Taken as a whole, there’s nothing green or renewable about either of them.

Whoever coined the phrase “environmental justice” should be charged with assault on the English language. Justice is a human concept. People who are wronged seek justice. The environment can’t seek justice because it isn’t human. Progressives claim to speak for the environment. If so, I want the progressive who claims he heard the environment ask for justice removed from office for mental health reasons.

This leads us quite neatly to healthcare. Progressives have branded their Venezuelan-style takeover of healthcare as the innocuous-sounding “Single-Payer,” “Universal Healthcare,” or the very utopian “Medicare for All”. It’s properly called nationalization, which is defined as “transfer from private to state ownership or control.”

Describing criminal border-jumpers as “Undocumented Immigrants” belongs in the euphemism hall of fame. Immigrants are people who are here legally. If they’re undocumented, they are illegal. If they’re illegal, they are most accurately called aliens. Alien means “not of this place.” An individual who violates immigration law to get here or stay here is an illegal alien.

The terms “weapon of war” and “assault weapon” is an attempt to brand every firearm as “military” and therefore too dangerous for public use. This argument is easily skewered. A single-shot revolutionary war musket was an assault weapon and obviously a weapon of war. Progressives will always mount an argument, no matter how silly.

Progressives hijacked the term “liberal.” Up until the 1930’s, liberals were people who believed in individual rights, limited government and economic freedom, which sounds like – you guessed it – conservatives. Now, “liberals” believe in group rights, centrally planned economies and big government.

Democratic Socialism” is an oxymoron, using two contradictory terms. There is nothing democratic about socialism, which always requires extensive government control. It is elected tyranny.

Progressives control almost every part of culture, entertainment and news media. That’s how they get away with mangling the language. We can push back by, for example, calling “undocumented immigrants” by the correct term, illegal aliens. Doing this in our own lives makes it harder for progressives to frame the issues, and makes it easier to hold them accountable for the real damage that their policies do.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph.D.

BRAZEN

Democrats always sink to the lowest intellectual and moral common denominator, and the latest Tracy Mitrano advertisement is a prime example. Tracy is the Democrat candidate for Congress in the 23rd Congressional district.

Here is an excerpt from the ad, attacking Reps. Claudia Tenney and Tom Reed: “…backing a tax bill that burdened the middle-class homeowners, handed tax breaks to the wealthy, and made it nearly impossible for people to relocate or start a business in upstate New York.” Mitrano blames New York State’s problems on the federal government. State and local taxes are the result of legislation produced by Democrats in a state dominated by Democrats. The Trump tax cuts put $1,400 in the pockets of every family across the 23rd Congressional district. Having more money makes it easier to pay the outsized property taxes foisted on us by Manhattan and Albany Democrats. This logic is inescapable to all but Mitrano. Republicans have not held a statewide office in New York since 2007. Businesses and people have been fleeing New York since the 1960’s.

Mitrano and her running mate, Anthony Brindisi also said: “With state and local taxes no longer deductible for the first time in history, why would they think any company would relocate to our communities? They had to know this was a job killer.” Yes, the list of companies that have left New York is a long one, and it long preceded President Trump’s tax cuts. State and local taxes remain deductible up to $10,000. Apparently Mitrano favors tax cuts for the rich, since the $10,000 cap only effects wealthy taxpayers. Why not ask the wealthiest New Yorkers to pay their fair share? If Mitrano believes in a big, expansive government why not endorse it, along with the humungous taxes needed to fund it?

The lowest common intellectual and moral common denominator, indeed.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

First Pundit Night Remarks

I was pleased to participate in Dr. Coleman’s political pundit night on 9/12/18 to answer the question: Is Tom Reed a success or failure? Naturally, I answered that Tom is a success. In a state absent conservative governing principles, Tom Reed is a breath of fresh air. But the heavily progressive audience did not agree. Most listened politely to my remarks. I’m guessing they totally disagreed with me, which is fine. Some, however shouted, laughed and were rude. We expect such behavior from some on the left. It’s right from their playbook: when you have no argument, mock and harass. We don’t let their childish tactics deter us. My brief speech follows. Please note that the text below is mostly in the form I used to deliver the speech. The next pundit night is in late October to discuss President Trump and the midterm elections. I’m looking forward to it and I thank Dr. Coleman for inviting me and for trying to get people from opposite sides of the political spectrum to talk to each other.

Dr. Coleman, fellow pundits, ladies and gentlemen.

I have good news and I have bad news.

First the bad news.

Upstate New York is in a generations-long death spiral.

In a 1962 speech to the Economic Club of New York,

President John F. Kennedy noted

the chronically depressed areas upstate.”

Ladies and gentlemen – that was 56 years ago.

According to the Federal Tax Agency,

New York State has the highest combined taxes in the nation.

Chief Executive Magazine rates NYS with the second worst business climate in the country.

Meanwhile – upstate continues to de-populate.

From 2000–2016 NYS lost 14% of its population to other states.

NY leads the nation in population loss.

In the recent debate between Governor Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon

they spent 10 seconds on upstate, and zero seconds on tax reduction, the

awful business climate, and population loss.

That is no accident.

Because – upstate’s decline is the direct result of their progressive policies.

That’s the bad news.

Now the good news. Tom Reed stands like a lighthouse—his ideas, a beacon to

point our way out of the mess we’re in—and to warn us to avoid Democrat policies. policies that have failed us for 60 years.

Tom stands for lower taxes, less government and the inevitable result-

PROSPERITY AND JOBS.

Tom spoke at a “Defend Private Property Rights” rally to support victims of Cuomo’s fracking ban. Who were the victims? Farmers, union men and women;

electricians, carpenters, plumbers, welders. Regular folks looking for work, a chance to make it.

Tom fights for them.

Tom voted for the Trump tax cuts, keeping $1,474 in the pockets of married couples with 2 children in the 23rd Congressional District — an 18% tax cut.

Last February, Tom threw the wasteful Omnibus spending bill under the bus,

a gutsy, common-sense vote.

Tom introduced the “Reduce” act to help middle-class families by reducing the cost of college and to make academia more transparent, a desperately needed reform. Tom supports school choice to give minority children a chance at success

by escaping failing public schools. In New York, Tom Reed is one of the few

commonsense conservative voices in a room crowded with incompetent

progressives.

We desperately need his voice, here and in Washington.

He’s a runaway success.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

NOT SO FASCIST

The alt-right recently held Unite the Right rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia and Washington, DC. Naturally the press turned out in droves, far outnumbering the twenty racists and other assorted nutters they were sent to cover. Why would the press bother covering a culturally and numerically irrelevant fringe group?

In school, we learned that political philosophy/ideology can be thought of as Left (progressives) or Right (conservatives), and that going too far to the left yields communism, while going too far to the right leads to fascism. But does this make any sense? For the purposes of this article I will continue to use the terms left and right, but it’s more accurate to think about it as less and more; big government versus smaller, limited government. The extreme of conservatism is not fascism. It’s anarchy. Extremes of the left yield both fascism and communism, which require a big, all-powerful government.

American conservatives believe in the principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Foremost is the “self-evident truth” that we are born with our rights. Government can’t give you the rights you already have at birth, but it can take them away. If you believe your rights come from God or nature, you’ve failed Fascist 101, because fascists don’t believe people have any rights that government doesn’t give them.

The Declaration says government must be answerable to the people, and exists to protect our individual rights: “To secure these rights Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Fascists force people to bow to the government. Conservatives strongly support people’s right to own property. For fascists, property ownership is a privilege granted at the whim of government. Conservatives favor government closer to the people, because people know and have access to government officials and can therefore influence policy. Fascists believe in an all-powerful central government. What if government fails to secure our rights? The Declaration says, “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends (our rights), it is the Right of the people to alter it or to abolish it.” This ultimate power is ours. For conservatives this is an article of faith; for fascists, a mortal sin. The contrast could not be clearer.

The philosophical roots of conservatism begin with John Locke, the Enlightenment and the concept of Natural Law, which formed the basis of the Declaration and our Constitution. According to Natural Law, we’re all born free and equal with inherent rights, and we are able to understand things through reason. Georges Sorel, one of the foundational philosophers of fascism (as well as socialism and communism), believed in myth over reason and violence as a means of change. Contrast this with Jefferson’s appeal to reason in the Declaration: “To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world” and “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.”

The cultural project to convince Americans that a tiny nudge is all it takes to turn conservatives into goose-stepping Brownshirts began in the early 1920’s. Progressives of the day invested considerable hope in Woodrow Wilson, America’s 28th President. By the end of Wilson’s second term, optimism gave way to bitter disappointment because Wilson was unpopular, having left the country exhausted from war and mired in a deep depression. In the early 1920’s intellectual elites (academics, writers, and artists) did what elites always do: they blamed average Americans for Wilson’s unpopularity, especially people from small towns, who were called ill-educated, unsophisticated, dumb and therefore vulnerable to the siren song of fascism. The modern version of this is Hillary’s description of Trump supporters as deplorable and irredeemable.

Consider also the aspect of personality. Conservatives are seen as conventional, conformist and respectful of authority, traits that some ascribe to fascists. The idea that inside every Rotarian lurks a potential fascist is deeply rooted in the progressive psyche. Sinclair Lewis’s “It Can’t Happen Here,” written in 1935, is about the fascist takeover of our government. It is reissued every time a Republican is in the White House. The New York Times re-reviewed It Can’t Happen Here in January of 2017 (the timing was not coincidental) with the headline, “the novel that predicted Trump.”

The idea that every conservative is a potential Hitler frightens progressives to death. As crazy as it sounds, they believe it. That’s one reason why they have no qualms in smearing us with the vile epithet of “fascist.”

Which side is closer to fascism, left or right? Hitler was a socialist. The name Nazi stands for National Socialist German Workers Party. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was named after leftist Mexican President Benito Juarez. Mussolini was a socialist who said “Everything within the state, nothing against the state, nothing outside the state.” Now consider what the patron saint of progressivism, FDR, proposed in his 1944 State of the Union Address. “Necessitous men are not free men,” FDR said, and went on to propose a second bill of rights that guaranteed not only health care as a right but “good health,” “a decent home” and a good-paying job, all provided by the government. Obama echoed this in 2001 when he said that the Constitution says what the government can’t do to you, but does not say what the government must do on your behalf (everything? Whatever Obama thinks government should do?) This has been an ongoing project of the left since FDR’s second bill of rights speech. If something is a right, then government must provide it. The government produces nothing, of course, and so it must seize it by force, and then proceed to regulate it, run it, and redistribute it. FDR and Obama echo Mussolini, “everything inside the state.” The party platforms of both the Italian and German fascists are a lot closer to FDR and Obama than to anything ever proposed by a conservative.

Back to the original question. Why did a host of reporters turn out to cover a handful of crazies in Charlottesville? Most reporters are progressives who believe the left-right model. They share the utterly irrational fear that every conservative is just itching to channel his inner Hitler, and just needs the right leader to come along (Trump anyone?). To be associated with fascism is to be branded as a hate-filled kook, and guarantees a big headline.

And once you’ve implied that conservatives are a part of the fascist family tree, you never have to consider or, heaven forbid, debate a conservative idea.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

 

A lesson in Progressivism

In my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, there was always a guy who knew a guy who was selling watches or cameras or suits – whatever happened to fall off a truck. The cops from the 68th Precinct would pinch the guy. Given that he was caught with the swag, the boys in blue hauled him off. Simple. You get caught with the swag, you go.

Here in Steuben County, Republican campaign signs have been disappearing for ten years. Fed up with the situation, the Tom Reed campaign put a tracking device on one, and Reed’s campaign manager, Nick Weinstein, followed the tracker to the home of a local activist, retired reverend Gary “Lightfingers” McCaslin, who was subsequently charged with petit larceny.

The whole dustup is a lesson in progressive political thought and tactics.

First, progressives disregard the idea that someone else’s private property is their own. They’re always telling us what to do with our money, our labor, our land, you name it, so why not campaign signs? Coercion, regulations, prosecutions and intimidation through pubic shaming are all tools of the progressive left.

Second, they never admit they’re wrong. The attorney for Lightfingers blamed “the inappropriate political climate” for the alleged theft, which is amusing since most of the hysteria these days comes from the left. Progressives never accept responsibility for their numerous screw-ups; it’s always someone else’s fault.

Third, when the owner of the lifted property complains, progressives blame the victim. The name-calling begins – petty, paranoid, stupid – in an effort to cast the victims as evildoers. By implication, of course, progressives are good guys and innocent victims themselves.

Fourth, they say they did it for the community, the common good. Lightfingers’ attorney told us that he was just trying to clean up – and isn’t it just like a conservative like Reed to litter? To save the environment, Lightfingers was gathering campaign signs, even if they didn’t belong to him. This is the technique of claiming the moral high ground. Not only are progressives good people, they’re better than you.

The method is always the same, no matter the issue. You could substitute tax cuts, health care or natural gas development for campaign signs, and the progression (pun intended) would be exactly the same.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.