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Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds: 10 Terms and Phrases to be Wary of

Thursday, April 20, 2006

10 Terms and Phrases to be Wary of

Activist vs. Lobbyist
Have you ever noticed that people who support left-wing causes are referred to by the media as ‘activists’ while people who support non-left-wing causes are referred to as ‘lobbyists’? Example: Sarah Brady’s Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is usually referred to as an activist group. The National Rifle Association is more often than not referred to as a lobbyist group. Both organizations have members who contribute money to their respective causes, both have representatives who ‘lobby’ congress to influence the legislative process, and both groups ‘actively’ engage in the political debate. Why is this a pet peeve of mine? Activists are normally referred to in positive terms while lobbyists are referred to in negative terms. The message seems to be that the activists (leftists) are trying to improve this country while the eeeevil lobbyists (Republicans/Libertarians) are trying to sell the country out. The truth is that Brady and the NRA are both activist and lobbyist groups.

Affirmative Action
Affirmative Action is completely at odds with Martin Luther King Jr.’s infamous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
What is Affirmative Action if it is not judging by one’s color, gender, or other minority characteristics? Wasn’t the point of the civil rights movement to give everyone a fair shake based solely on character and qualifications? That under the rule of law everyone is subject to an equal justice, rights, etc? Supporters of Affirmative Action go even further to say that anyone who opposes race or gender based preferences is a bigot. Certainly America has had problems with race and gender discrimination in the past but turning the discrimination around in the opposite direction breeds more resentment and intolerance in everyone.

“Bush lied about WMD in Iraq”
This one is a little bit subjective. If you honestly believe that President Bush lied about WMD in Iraq then this does not really apply to you (If you do take this position, you must also believe that Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, the intelligence personnel of the United Nations, Germany, and France were also lying because they where all saying the same thing). According to as well as my understanding of the term the definition for lie is as follows:
A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.

Despite this common understanding of the term many leftists insist that President Bush lied whether he knew the truth of the existence of WMD or not. If most or all of his intelligence was telling him that Iraq had WMD and the intelligence was wrong but the president believed it to be true then he was not lying but simply just wrong*. When a meteorologist says that it is going to rain tomorrow and it doesn’t, does that make him a liar or just wrong?

* The initial intelligence that Iraq had WMD may have been right all along. Read this, this, this, this, and this for more information. If it turns out that Bush did not lie, does that really change your opinion about whether or not the U.S. should have liberated Iraq? I didn’t think so.

I’ve written many times on this blog about my disdain for the notion of ‘democracy.’ People who should know better from the president on down refer to our constitutional republic as a democracy. Democracy and liberty are by no means synonymous with each other and our founders understood this. Probably the easiest route to a socialistic system is through democracy. There are a number of excellent articles on Capitalism Magazine which explain why democracy is dangerous and why we should stop thinking of our government as a democratic one as opposed to a republican one. This article by Alexander Marriott is among my favorites.

Economic Equality
Everyone is supposed to have an equal share of wealth? Where have I heard that before? See also the next entry: Income Gap.

Income Gap
This one really gets under my skin. I wrote on this ignorant argument about the gap between the rich and the poor in part four of my four-part series titled: What I Have Learned from Air America. Here is an excerpt:

The gap between the rich and the poor is growing larger and larger? I sure as hell hope so! If the gap between the rich and the poor is shrinking, it isn’t because the poor are getting less poor; it is because the rich are getting less rich-not a good scenario for our economy, especially for the poor. The fact that the rich have the ability to get richer tells me that the American dream is true. The sky’s the limit.
Unfortunatley, this notion of the ‘income gap’ is not restricted to the leftists on Air America. I recently overheard a conversation about how the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow. As if there is no middle class! I would bet the gap between the poor and the middle class is also growing, hopefully it is. Most people want to separate themselves from poverty as much as possible (thus creating a gap) .

Okay, so there is an income gap between the rich and the poor; what are we supposed to do about it? Should we contact our representatives and tell them we should eliminate the income gap by redistributing the wealth equally among all Americans? Of course such systems have been created under such a theory, a theory most of us know as socialism.

Living Wage
What amount should we consider a living wage and whose responsibility is it to achieve this wage? Those who argue in support of this so-called living wage obviously believe it is the government’s duty to force companies to pay a minimum wage which should be enough to ‘live off of.’ Is every job regardless off how menial worth, say 7, 8, or $10 an hour? Why not make it 15 or $20? Do I hear $25?

Ironically, those who support increasing the minimum wage contribute to the same income gap that they are trying to close. How is this? If you are a restaurant owner who needs to hire someone to bus the tables or great customers at the door, should you be forced to pay that person $8 or so an hour? Let’s say you manage a grocery store; you need to hire someone to stock the shelves and bag the groceries, should you be forced to pay that person $8 or so an hour?

When I got my first job when at 16, the federal minimum wage was $4.25 an hour. How likely would it have been for me to get that job if my employer was forced to pay nearly double that? I’m thinking my odds of landing that job would not have been so good. When the minimum wage is raised, certain people with few skills are priced out of the job market. If I own a business and the government tells me I must pay my employee over a certain amount regardless of its effect on my bottom line, I am going to require a person with more refined skills who can perform more duties to fill that job. I’m not going to hire a pimply-faced teenager with little or no skills for a wage that doesn’t make sense for my business. These jobs we now call ‘minimum wage jobs’ used to be known as ‘entry level jobs.’ What ever happened to the concept of improving one’s skills to make a better living?

Price Gouging
What in the hell is price gouging? From what I gather it is another un-definable emotional term. Does it make me angry that the gas prices continue to rise? Of course. But are the gas companies ‘gouging’? How can anyone answer that question? Democrats tried to move a bill through congress recently making price gouging of gasoline a crime with a penalty up to $100 million and 10 years in prison. And how did this wonderful piece of legislation define ‘price gouging’ you ask? An "unconscionably excessive" price or a price that "indicates the seller is taking unfair advantage." I’m sure glad that our elected officials could clear that up for us.

Undocumented Immigrant
Undocumented Immigrant, undocumented worker, and migrant, are all terms we need to dispose of if we are ever going to have an honest conversation about illegal immigration. These terms are used by dishonest supporters of illegal immigration to confuse the issue. If you truly support illegal immigration, say you support illegal immigration but don’t tell me that I am anti-immigration because I am not. Of course many supporters of illegal immigration say that America is inhumane in the way illegal immigrants are treated. Chief among the critics of America’s immigration policy is the Mexican government (surprise, surprise) because they welcome all immigrants with open arms right? If America’s immigration laws were anywhere near as draconian as the critics would have us believe, then America’s immigration policy would look a lot more like Mexico’s immigration policy (.pdf).

Working Class
How often do you hear a politician referring to a constituency called ‘the working class’? Who is in the working class? Those who work the most hours right? Somehow I do not think politicians are referring to Fortune 500 CEOs or business owners (of any size). Most people tend to believe that business owners and (especially) CEOs spend scarcely any time at all doing any actual work spending whatever time they do work playing golf and counting their money. According to results from a survey of Fortune 500 CEOs taken in 2003, the average ‘working class’ office worker works an average of 46 hours a week while the average Fortune 500 CEO works 61.3 hours a week. If these figures are accurate (I tend to believe the CEO number is low and the office workers’ number is high), that means Fortune 500 CEOs work nearly 800 more hours every year than his or her ‘working class’ counterpart. The bottom line is this: if you earn a paycheck of any size from providing goods or services then you are part of the working class. We know there is such a thing as the working class because there is at least one other class which does not contribute anything to society and indeed are a parasite to society: the non-working class (I’m not referring to people who are unemployed and are looking for work but people who have no job and no intention of finding one while living on the dole).


Blogger T. F. Stern said...

Finally, a true rant. This reminded me of the Billy Crystal line, "Don't get me started..."

I'd have to agree with your general outline, thank you.

9:05 PM  
Blogger miriam sawyer said...

Excellent--you have covered all the bases.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Bopped over from Dr. Sanity's link. Great post.

May I add "Speaking Truth To Power," which seems to mean Telling Yor Friends The Lies They Want To Hear.

In general, if a piece of legislation is named with high-sounding generalities, run. I already know I'm against the Peace and Justice Act of 2007.

6:13 PM  
Blogger j&c said...

Very good, just wish there was more! I think I'll be hanging around here for a little bit; you have some intriguing posts I want to check out.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding this "working class" issue, I've worked many levels of job and I can assure you that there is an inverse correlation between how much money you get paid and how hard you work.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Just found your site and enjoyed the post. Job well done. Regarding the WMD's the video that lays that out in detail is here:

Keep up the good work!

11:58 AM  

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