Robert Knight

America is awash in doublespeak.

Words such as “marriage,” “conservatism,” “bigotry,” “tolerance” and “brave,” no longer have universal meaning, and this is no accident.

When confusion replaces clarity, the devil breaks out the champagne. It’s so much easier to push people toward the abyss when the stop signs are edited to say “whatever.”

Doublespeak is “language which makes the bad seem good, the negative seem positive, the unpleasant seem unattractive, or at least tolerable,” wrote William Lutz, author of the 1996 book The New Doublespeak.

Washington Post reporter Theresa Vargas gave a perfect example in her recent article lauding benighted Maryland parents who are pushing for open homosexuality in the Boy Scouts. As for opponents, well, they’re only concerned about “legal liability” and “how Scout leaders will prevent same-sex dating during overnight trips.”

Yeah, that’s it – two boys sipping on straws from the same soda.

Ever-vigilant to fight prudery in a debauched age, liberal journalists are utterly puritanical when it comes to this topic. Perhaps they don’t want people to think about it too much.

The prize for doublespeak goes to the Post’s Right Turn columnist Jennifer Rubin. Her hot buttons are “social conservatives” and the Tea Party. She frequently urges the Republican Party to throw them overboard or face oblivion. But why stop there? In the Post’s Sunday Outlook section, she redefined conservatism itself in a full-page screed entitled “Tear Down This Icon: Why the GOP Has to Get over Ronald Reagan.”

Ms. Rubin says the Gipper was in a time warp and should be discounted. “The old guard has become convinced that Reagan’s solutions to the problems of his time were the essence of conservatism — not simply conservative ideas appropriate for that era,” she writes.

Funny, you never hear Democrats disowning Franklin Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy. Republicans, on the other hand, are supposed to abandon their principles, their most reliable voting bloc and their heroes if they know what’s good for them.

Which of Mr. Reagan’s conservative views are ephemeral? Opposition to socialism and communism? Belief in American exceptionalism? Market-based economics? Belief in the sanctity of life? Suspicion of big government? Reverence for the Almighty?


Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.

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