How Liberals Twist Language

Posted: Jun 21, 2013 7:30 AM

In recent history, we’ve seen the Left hijack and manipulate language to win battles. It’s time the Right wakes up to the deception. Katie Pavlich reports in the July issue of Townhall Magazine.


Throughout history, language has been used to manipulate, to help, to inspire and to control. In the political arena, language and communication are crucial to shaping a message and winning elections.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, we’ve seen the Left hijack and manipulate language to win their battles. Saul Alinsky dedicated an entire chapter in his “Rules for Radicals” to communication. He wrote about how communication is the most important tool a radical activist must possess to be successful.

“It does not matter what you know about anything if you cannot communicate to your people,” Alinsky wrote.

Alinsky taught his followers to focus on human experiences and how to twist words to achieve that focus.

“In mass organization, you can’t go outside of people’s actual experience. I’ve been asked, for example, why I never talk to a Catholic priest or a Protestant minister or a rabbi in terms of the Judeo-Christian ethic or the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount. I never talk in those terms. Instead I approach them on the basis of their own self-interest, the welfare of their Church, even its physical property,” Alinsky wrote. “Communication on a general basis without being fractured into specifics of experience becomes rhetoric and it carries a very limited meaning.”

Organizers on the Left have mastered the skill not only of communication but of manipulating language and thoughts to communicate a message.

“Is this manipulation? Certainly, just as a teacher manipulates, and no less, even a Socrates,” Alinsky wrote.

There are a few powerful words the Left has distorted in recent decades which have not only changed the political landscape but, more importantly, the culture.


Moving into the 20th century, the true definition of liberalism was hijacked by progressives. Hillsdale College Professor of the American Constitution Ronald Pestritto explains how the Left manipulated the term liberal for political purposes in his book “American Progressivism.”

Using the term liberal, progressives like Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were able to fundamentally change the role of government in American society by expanding it under the guise that more regulation meant more freedom. The opposite was true, and they knew it.

The same can be said today. Modernday liberals claim to be open to freedom of expression and ideas, but in practice, they are not. Liberals love speech zones, regulation, Big Government and snuffing out dissent.

Excerpted from Townhall Magazine's July feature, "How Liberals Twist Language," by Katie Pavlich. To read more of Pavlich's analysis, subscribe to Townhall Magazine today.