By Dave Andrusko
No sooner did we talk about the maestro of misinformation—Prof. George Lakoff—than the man who brought the Democratic Party the assurance that they can win if only they “frame” issues properly pops up yet again.
Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling published a piece yesterday titled, “Why the Reproductive Rights Movement Must Abandon the Term ‘Abortion.’” Where did it appear? On something called “truth-out.org.” To quote my wife, you can’t—CAN’T–make this stuff up.
Just to recapitulate in one sentence Lakoff’s basic approach, using our issue as the example. Everything and anything that doesn’t put in the best light the Democratic Party’s whole-hearted embrace of abortion for any reason or no reason—and how dare you ask about reasons in the first place?—is replaced with rhetoric absolutely untethered to reality.
It’s beyond the Big Lie, it’s ….loopy.
For example, the way Lakoff (and Wehling) argue is to pile one non sequitur on top of another, link them together with connections so flimsy a third-grader could see through them, and then pat themselves on the pat for exposing how zany pro-lifers are with an exactitude that would put a diamond cutter to shame.
So why must pro-abortionists (the “Reproductive Rights Movement”–RRM) abandon the very word “abortion”? For the same reason they demand that the RRM “Never use the term baby or unborn child to refer to a blastocyst, embryo or fetus.” All these terms have “has misleading properties,” they pronounce.
By “misleading,“ they mean just the opposite. These terms DON’T mislead which drives them batty. (This could take us off into a long discussion about the use of metaphors, but I’ll spare you the agony.)
We’re told you can ‘abort’ a mission but not an unborn child. Alternative? The much better term “development prevention.” So
“development can be prevented at many stages, from unfertilized cells (via morning-after pills), to blastocyst to embryo, from embryo to fetus, from fetus to a non-fully-formed-human, to an unviable human (one that can’t live outside the womb).”
(I TOLD you that you can’t make this stuff up.)
We talked yesterday about how the core of this approach is (a) not to listen to your opponent at all, to disquality what they say (and the terms they use); and (b) to pretend that what they are seeking is common ground when they rule this out by definition.
It is close to literally impossible to debate with people like Lakoff. For instance what can you say to someone who maintains that the use of words like “abortion” and “fetus” will “hide reality?”
It’s not just that they give every impression of coming from Planet X. It’s that they string together so many quarter-truths with whole lies that you spend your whole time thrashing through the thick rhetorical underbrush.
Final thought: they also demand that the RRM not use “partial-birth abortion.” Why? For a paragraph’s worth of reasons, none of which—NONE—is true. But by the time you say “but” to people like Lakoff, they are off on some other rabbit trail.
In the final analysis, the nub of the justification they offer for not using plain English is not only what we already mentioned—that it can “hide reality”—but also because “it does not adequately communicate the moral values that underlie progressive policy.”
The irony is, of course, that it DOES communicate their moral values–in spades.
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