I write today because after a far too lazy summer, I may go to the shore for Tuesday and Wednesday to do something manly and strenuous and athletic and brave - wade out to the sandbars at low tide. (I laugh in danger's face.) So, since there's no TandT to talk about, I thought I'd talk about words in the news.
Read "Bill"Beliveau's column some day. Notice how the word "liberal" is always used as if it means "good". Actually, it doesn't. In fact, not one person in a thousand knows the meaning of "conservative" or "liberal". And Lord knows the politicians haven't a clue what those words mean.
I believe in democracy. That's Liberal. I believe we have a responsibility to care for our whole society. That's conservative. Like just about everybody, I'm part liberal and part conservative. And, of course, there's much more to both than that. The Roman Catholic church is, in a true sense, a conservative institution. The Baptist church is supposed to be liberal-leaning, - though it doesn't appear to know the meaning of the word.
But very few Liberals are liberal. And very few Conservatives are conservative. There's nothing conservative about Stephen Harper. He has no principles that can be called by either of those names. He's a ideologue (just as Stalinists were) with an ideology that doesn't work. It's lying in ruins all over the world - ruins in the form of crashed economies, starving millions, wildly unbalanced distribution of wealth, greed run wild - a system so ruinous that is is certain to give rise to revolutions, almost certainly to fascism, and to even more of the constant wars we are now going through - and quite possibly to the last war of them all.
Some people like to call it capitalism. But it bears not the slightest resemblance to capitalism. Mr. Irving is not a capitalist, not of any sort. Like Harper, he has latched onto the insane ideology of pure self-interest, greed, and indifference to others.
It's important to understand words. Otherwise, they get used against you. Words are used to create a false understanding and, very often, an emotional one, that leads us into very damaging decisions.
Notice how the word conservative is often used to mean someone who spends responsibly? Lots of people vote conservative for that reason. But the fact is that Conservatives have generally been the big spenders in Canadian history. Notice how liberals get a reputation for social reform and "progressive" ideas? In fact, Liberals introduced such legislation only under tremendous pressure - as in the case of medicare.
It gets worse when politicians and news media deliberately use words to create an emotional response.
An early attempt (that seems to have failed) was during and after the Korean War. All veterans who appeared in news stories after that were referred to as 'Korean War Heroes', as in 'Korean War Hero gets parking ticket.' (no exaggeration).
There was a reason for that. People have to be convinced that wars - at the least ones we fight in - are for a good reason. That's how Nov. 11 has become less a day of sorrow than one of glorification of war.
(Some day, I'll do a blog on that. Like most of my generation, I know we had to fight World War Two. I know it was a terrible sacrifice for many of those who went. I also know there is one hell of a lot of hypocrisy on Nov. 11 about why they went. As a result, their sacrifice was often greater than we recognize.
Another magic and emotional word is WMD (weapon of mass destruction). I never heard that term until Bush wanted to invade Iraq. Then, suddenly, we heard nothing else. What is a WMD? That's the beauty of it. Nobody knows. But it's bad. And If a country has them, you have the right to invade and kill hundreds of thousands of civilians - even if it turns out they didn't have any.
And the irony is that this term was invented by leaders of the US which has more chemical, bacterial, and explosive weapons of mass destruction than all the rest of the world put together.
Another favourite is extreme - as in extreme Moslem. That's emotional. And evil.
And what about those looneytune Christians who are clapping hands for war in the middle east because they believe that it will bring the end of the world? They are the electoral base of Romney and our own Harper. They want killing on the greatest scale in history. But the mews media never call them extreme.
It's the same with "terrorist". Wars since 1939 have deliberately killed more civilians than any wars in history. That's done for terror. It's what's called terrorism. But not in our news media. Even the lunatic who blew up a building with a nursery school in it was never called a terrorist. He was called a "militia", which sounds both patriotic and official.
Let's face it. Most of our news media are highly skilled propaganda outfits. They are there to manipulate public opinion. Backing them up are phsychiatrists and psychologists and all the other academic hacks who make themselves available.
Almost all presentation of news is designed not to inform you, but to manipulate you. And that's true even in a media dog's breakfast like The Moncton Times and Transcript..