The Power of Words

There’s been a great deal of talk about words, and their power, and a great deal of disagreement about that power. But while I’ve heard a great deal of rhetoric, from what I’ve seen and heard, far too much outrage, energy and effort has been placed on attacking verbal minimization and micro-aggressions, which – although painful, discriminatory, and symptomatic of racism, sexism, and just plain rudeness and bad manners – are not where the real damage is caused by words.

The real damage caused by words is the ever-growing web of untruths, knowing misstatements, and blatant lies harnessed in service of oppression and discrimination. Restrictive voting rules that benefit those in power do far more damage than the micro-aggressions and verbal “sins” that seem to consume the “woke” community. So do the words in laws that establish and maintain income inequality through massive tax breaks for corporations and the affluent. Or the words that pit lower income whites against minorities, when both are victims of preferential treatment of the affluent.

We now have the greatest dichotomy between the wealthy and the poor in our history. We have an education system rigged against minorities and the poor. We have a crumbling infrastructure in every state in the union. I live the state with supposedly the best infrastructure, and Utah gets a C minus – and we’re the best?

Yet the Republicans are consumed with the big lie of a stolen election, one that election officials in both parties have called the fairest ever with absolutely no actual evidence of any fraud that could have changed the outcome anywhere. And the use of that lie has resulted new discriminatory laws and legislation across the nation.

At the same time, the left, perhaps in frustration, is spending far too much time and effort on attacking individuals for how they address people, rather than addressing the real problem with words and attacking the misuse of words in matters that affect the structure of society and its power base.

Most of the micro-aggressions and verbal assaults will diminish markedly if the poor and minorities gain political power… and that’s where the battles need to be fought.

Or, put more crudely, in the words of Lyndon Johnson, “If you got ‘em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.

Language follows power, not the other way around.

4 thoughts on “The Power of Words”

  1. M Kilian says:

    Most of the voter fraud scandal’s “legitimacy” is divided into two primary talking points in the mainstream- the bias against Trump present in the electronic voting systems creators, Dominion, and the counting of illegal immigrants as full citizen votes. The former is hard to prove the effects of because of the technocratic nature regarding it. The latter doesn’t really matter because at a glance most of the undocumented population is in states that aren’t swing states, and they’ve stayed voting their preferred parties despite said population.

    Outside of mainstream talking points that are much more worrying topics that get bundled into election skepticism with the aforementioned points in order to invalidate and discard them.

    Talking points like demographic change that isn’t just immediate undocumented migrants but rates of naturalization, inter-state demographic movement, and legal immigration as results of people movement policies (such as refuges, asylum seekers and UN/NATO quotas for african relief) and not the standard processes of international immigration by voluntary persons bringing upon their travel by themselves.

    This topic is taboo both by democrats and by republicans- the former for its politicisation of these elements who rely on the DNC’s favorable attitude towards naturalizing and bestowing welfare upon; and the latter for a worker population that does not pay tax nor is paid properly, without worker rights and the GOP’s stance on unmitigated private industry regarding such.

    It’s ironic that voter ID wouldn’t stem the legalised integration of many atypical (though now typical) immigrants and might indeed hurt black voter amounts (who ironically performed better for Trump than in 2016). But it’s even more ironic that while the european derived US population likes to bring up blacks as the supreme minority, there is a complete disregard for the native americans. They were conquered and are a side note, and blacks are the favoured minority. Does this not disturb you?

    1. Ralph R. Rea says:

      Thank you for that illustration of goodthink from inside the bubble and an absolutely perfect example of the point being made by the author.

      1. M Kilian says:

        Being skeptical of the narrative both sides of the establishment is thinking from within a bubble?

  2. Hanneke says:

    One thing I’ve noticed in many political discussions and decisions, is how much spite has become a part of those.
    This apparently leads people to vote for policies that harm themselves or their own people, just to make sure some despised outgroup also doesn’t get any of the possible benefits of a better policy.

    From something I’ve read recently, it looks as if people become more spiteful when inequality increases. So with inequality at an all-time high, I shouldn’t be surprised that so is spite.
    Additionally, online interactions make expressing spite easy and almost without social cost, so the perception of how spiteful it is normal to be gets moved in the direction of more spite.

    This worries me, as more spite leads to less reasonable discourse and less facts-based and results-oriënted decision-making.
    Cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face is not a sustainable model for good decisions or policies.

    But if the 90-99% of poor to less-affluent people can be kept preoccupied with this, the richest people and corporate powers can quietly get on with increasing inequality to their own benefit, through influencing politicians and judges to set up all the rules in their favor, and make ordinary wage-dependent people totally dependent on their employers.

    I wish ordinary people could keep their focus on that goal: improving life for everyone. But with political power in both parties concentrated in the hands of the wealthy, who are further beholden to their wealthy donors, improving life for not-wealthy people hasn’t been the goal for the top of either party for quite some time. Change will be needed from the bottom up to achieve anything, so keeping every one of the politically-minded young activists distracted, e.g. by getting them to run after these ‘woke’ outrages, or ‘stop the steal’ messaging or whatever, is in the interests of all those in power now.

    I sometimes wonder how much of those hypes is seeded by trolls and paid shills, just to keep the outrage on both sides at a boil, and prevent true progress. It also keeps people’s attentions focused, and generates add revenue…

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