verbal equivalence

Thomas Sowell (Disinformation on judges Townhall 05ap26) talks about the problems with saying what is meant and meaning what is said. When there is a conflict between an accurate description and the reality, then it is the description that must be changed. This modification of the description is called spin. It can be an attempt to rationalize one’s views – a means to handle cognitive dissonance – or it can be a means to persuade others to join in your delusions so you can have comfort in a crowd.

A disinformation campaign has already been launched to depict judges who believe in following the written law as being “activist” conservatives, just like liberal activists.

Those who play this game of verbal equivalence can seldom, if ever, come up with concrete examples where conservative judges made rulings that went directly counter to what the written law says or who made rulings for which there is no written law.

Criticizing someone’s official conduct is not a “personal attack.” Nor does criticism equate with violence. An independent judiciary does not mean judges independent of the law. Nor is the rule of judges the same as the rule of law. Too often it is the rule of lawlessness from the bench.

Did anyone try this guilt-by-association ploy to blame critics of the Reagan administration when President Reagan was shot during an assassination attempt? They did not.

The other big political and media spin is to say that we should not reduce judges’ power just because they make “decisions we don’t like.” The real objection is to decisions with no basis in the written law or even contrary to the written law.

Ploys and spin will of course only escalate if activist judges start getting replaced by judges who follow the law. That is the political price to be paid. If people are willing to do the right thing only when there is no cost whatever, that is the very definition of cowardice.

Ann Coulter (Drag Leftists into the Light, Frontpage Mag 05ap28) suggests that the only way to respond to those who play these word games is a form of psychotherapy: let them talk and explain their views. Put the words on the table where they can be seen side by side with reality. This is in the same vein as Dick Morris’s suggestion that the Republicans should let the fillibuster happen so everyone can see it on C-SPAN. These opinions about putting behavior and arguments into the light for inspection show a trust in the populace to make an honest judgment about their veracity. They also demonstrate that it is not so much the persons with the delusions that can be subject to argument and learning but rather the ‘unwashed masses’ who need to see what is happening so they can make good decisions at the polling booth.

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