Sunday, March 04, 2007

Words and Sheep

Conservatives and pundits are tripping all over themselves to condemn one remark made by Ann Coulter at the CPAC convention last week. My Goodness! Sheep on the left meet sheep on the right.

The words we use and the way we string words together are the best and most effective way to convey our thoughts and our beliefs. Political correctness is a cancer to good communication. When speakers and writers are limited to using inoffensive words, readers and listeners are left with more difficulty in understanding what is really being communicated. An evil heart can remain hidden behind nice words when words are considered more important than thoughts during communication.

I would much rather know that an acquaintance is a racist than have an acquaintance who is a racist and not know because my acquaintance was pressured to hide his racism by never using racist words. I would much rather know all of the weakness and bigotries of my neighbors than not know because I never hear them using offensive words.

There is no traditional American right to never be offended. Hopefully, there never will be. There is, however, an imperfect American tradition of tolerating behavior we consider offensive, but not criminal. Hopefully, there always will be.

I don’t like the word Ms. Coulter used in communicating her thought, but I do agree with her thought about the use of words. I wish she would have used a nicer word, but I understand how her thought would have been muted if she had used a nicer word.

Civility in politics should be the default standard, with an occasional variance for a particularly bad person or bad idea. Most Americans on all sides of politics are good people who do not deserve hatred or condemnation. However, former Senator Edwards is offensive to me for reasons that have nothing to do with effeminate mannerisms. Offensive people need offensive descriptions. The word “hypocrite” just falls a little short in describing Senator Edwards.

I hope I didn’t offend any sheep with this piece.

5 comments:

Buz said...

Oooo, double plus ungood ...

Buz
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspeak)

Rick and Gary said...

I just don't see how "faggot" communicates anything substantive about Sen. Edward's shortcomings, which are more in the neighborhood of opportunistic demagoguery. My guess is that the right-wing blogs were less concerned about offending Edwards and more concerned about "conservatives" coming across as empty-headed hatemongers.

Also, while I'm way too old to be personally offended by any sort of name-calling, I do think that using the word faggot filters down to gay teens, many of whom are struggling with enough issues at a tender age as it is.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Rick,

I agree with you about the word Coulter used. The word she used is so in-precise that it can only be used to offend and not describe, which seemed to be her point. I will write more later.

Hi Buz,

Those on the right are trying so hard to not be like the left that they are becoming just like the left. The irony. I will write more later.

Rusty Lopez said...

Hi David,

At RedBlueChristian I listed several conservatives that were quick to denounce Coulter's remarks. The reason I did so was to illustrate the difference between conservatives and liberals (generally speaking, of course). This was especially poignant considering the recent blogger-gate incident with Edwards (and the left's general ho-hum attitude towards it). Coulter has the right to say what she did, but I think that serious conservatives should make it known that her tactics are not what we're about.

Coulter is performing for the shock-value impact alone. If her intent was to make Edwards out to be a wimp, then it would have been easier, and more adult-like, to have simply reiterated his waffling, spineless behavior during his blogger-gate episode.

On the plus-side, her antics help to separate her from the serious minded folk out there (e.g., Hugh Hewitt) such that, when a liberal accuses Hewitt of making "Coulter-like statements" it can be cleary shown that he does not do so.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Rusty,

I appreciate and respect your desire to differentiate liberals from conservatives. Like you, I am certain conservatives are more civil and less bigoted.

However, I think our tolerance for counter views is also a differentiator, and from my perspective, a much more important differentiator. Civility is important to me and most conservatives, but it is not the most important aspect of conservatism.

I would hope that every person who is against legal abortion is also polite. However, I prefer someone who is rude and against legal abortion to someone who is polite and for legalized abortion.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I agree with you as much as any other writer. Yet, I am still happy, and I think it is important, we don’t have to agree on everything.