How Not to Talk About Wealth Inequality
Have you heard we live in an oligarchy? Perhaps you’ve been told America is a plutocracy? Is that because of widespread demagogy?
Circumlocution: a big word meaning using unnecessarily lofty words to express an idea.
Welcome to the baffling world of liberal-speak.
Oligarchy, plutocracy and demagogy: The holy trinity of sesquipedalian polysyllable liberal loquaciousness.
This language liberals, in particular, have chosen to talk about elitism is, well, really snooty. When we talk about a tiny fraction of people having undue influence on our politics—we use words barely anyone understands.
Marinade in that irony. It’s like if we were broadcasting NASCAR only in Latin. Oligarchy? That sounds like a German cabbage dish. Demagoguery sounds like a flourish in square dancing. Plutocracy sounds like we should just be friends.
I write for a living and these words make my eyes glaze over. And they’re used all time, often by well-meaning liberal-types attempting to advocate for the have-less in this nation. Case in point: Paul Krugman. His columns “Oligarchs and Money,” “Oligarchy, American Style” and “Graduates Versus the Oligarchs”—do cover how economic policies favor a fraction of 1 percent of Americans but his go-to word is comprehended by even fewer.
This week a Princeton study “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” was released with stunning empirical data. It concluded: “Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.” The left-wing of the Internet broke out in a rash of “Study: The U.S. is an Oligarchy” headlines.
We’re not talking about a credit card user agreement—this is something the authors actually want people to understand. Then why are they using opaque language? It seems defeatist … even for liberals.
How about “Business Interests Trump Average Citizens According to New Study” or “Ivy League School Study Concludes Wealthy Have Absolute Privilege.”
The words used to address populists concerns are inaccessible because no one ever uses them in normal conversation. Yes, policy-nerd-wonk-geeks, I said normal conversation. Like those you have with people working for a living who are affected by these circumstances.
If you put “plutocracy” into Google News search you’ll get a flood of liberal-leaning publications talking about the U.S. government. If no one can figure out what we’re saying, how can we expect to win the argument? Through demagogy? What does that even mean?!
In a LexisNexis search I find The New York Times has used my liberal-speak holy trinity 842 times in the last two years. The Washington Post: 581 times. In the last two years this country’s major daily publications New York Times, Washington Post, AP, USA Today and Wall Street Journal—have used the words oligarchy, plutocracy and demagogy nearly 2,000 times. Even if half of those were talking about Russia and a quarter were just referring to Paul Krugman columns—it’s still too much.
Liberals have a tendency to feel like since we have the facts on our side we don’t have to explain ourselves. Not true. You can be correct and still not be understood.
The U.S. ranks below Nigeria in wealth distribution. In 2011 the top 400 Americans “have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.” Four hundred people own half of everything there is to own. We’re not actually a wealthy nation. We’re a nation with a high school graduating class-size of wealthy people who own most everything.
And how can we talk about income inequality? By overusing 50-cent words? No. Stop the circumlocution.
Liberals, say what you mean.
© Copyright 2014 TinaDupuy.com, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Tina Dupuy is a nationally syndicated op-ed columnist, investigative journalist, award-winning writer, stand-up comic, on-air commentator and wedge issue fan. Tina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baseball Icon Joins the Liberal Echo Chamber
This week, Hank Aaron broke the hearts of millions of Republicans and conservatives who supported him and cheered him on in 1974 while racists threatened his life.
USA Today quoted “The Hammer” in an interview as saying, “We can talk about baseball. Talk about politics. Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated. We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go.”
“The bigger difference is back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”
That statement, saying “They,” referring directly to “Republicans” by one of America’s most respected and beloved heroes of millions of Republicans is a stab in their hearts.
Some Republican fans lashed out in anger, writing to his employer, the Atlanta Braves, swearing they tore up their season tickets, are shredding and burning their copies of his book, “I Had a Hammer” and calling Hank a racist.
Naturally, such an accusation by the beloved Aaron brought actual racists out from under their rocks, one reportedly calling him the “N” word. Racists are cretins, but they do not represent the Republican party as Hank Aaron so blithely stated.
If that were the case, then the nearly 6,000 North Carolina Democrats who voted for the racist KKK murderer of three innocent people at the Overland Park Jewish Community Center back in the 1984 Democratic primary would represent all of the Democratic Party.
I don’t blame Hank Aaron for his belief that Republicans who oppose President Obama’s policies are racist. This is a man who stood tall against racists who threatened to shoot him on home plate if he dared to break Babe Ruth’s home run record.
He was the target of such vile, evil hate for so many years that he knows dearly that it exists and when President Obama’s party has been campaigning on the theme that Republicans are racist and that black Republicans such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas are “Uncle Toms,” it’s not easy to quell the ringing from that echo chamber.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews pollutes the liberal airwaves with accusations that Republicans who oppose raising the minimum wage are racists, even though published government data has shown that raising the federal minimum wage puts a large segment of minimum wage earners, African American teens, out of work every time it’s increased.
While on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives,Â Rep. Alvin Holmes, a black Democrat, explained why he dislikesÂ Clarence Thomas: because “he’s married to a white woman,” reporter Mary Sell of The Decatur Daily and Tim Lockette of the Anniston Star posted on Twitter.
When reached for further comment by a reporter for the Anniston Star, Mr. Holmes said he was “misinterpreted”, but added that Justice Thomas was an “Uncle Tom,” the National ReviewÂ reported.
This is a theme of the Democratic Party: anyone, black, white, whatever, who opposes big government and a growing federal government intruding into everyone’s lives is “racist” or an enemy to people of color.
It’s a powerful way to silence opposition, as being labeled a “racist” is humiliating and the Democratic leadership knows this.
Fortunately, more and more Americans are standing up to this horribly dishonorable and purposefully divisive tactic.
When the same Rep. Holmes said pro-life Republicans would abort mixed-race babies and said he would “bring you $100,000 tomorrow if you showed me a bunch of white people who adopted blacks in Alabama,” a Facebook page called “Faces of Families in Alabama” was put up by transracial adopters and now has hundreds of posts by white families who adopted children of many races including blacks.
The page has over 14,000 “likes.”
Pelosi, Reid and too many other Democrats gleefully sneer that Republicans who oppose their policies are “racist.”
It’s an oft-repeated theme designed to anger their base into voting this year.
No wonder Republicans are loathe to work with them.
It’s heartbreaking that a great man like Hank Aaron has fallen into this ugly, divisive echo chamber.
© Copyright 2014 Rick Jensen, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.Rick Jensen is Delaware’s award-winning conservative talk show h ost on 1150AM WDEL and 93.7FM HD3, Streaming live on WDEL.com from 1pm — 4pm EST.
Contact Rick at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @Jensen1150WDEL.
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