Hate: another misused word.

David Limbaugh takes off on one of those too common rhetorical excesses. This time it is the word hate. You can find similar use of the word “extreme.”

I hate it when liberals accuse those who disagree with them as purveying hatred. I truly hate such distortions and manipulations of language. For me to oppose gay marriage, for example, does not mean I hate gays. For me to oppose abortion doesn’t mean I hate women who favor it. As a Christian, I certainly don’t hate non-believers. We are called to evangelize non-believers out of duty and love, not hatred. But liberals have discovered that they can get a lot of political and cultural mileage by falsely accusing conservatives and Christians of hatred — so they do it. And it’s truly vicious when you think about it. And it’s also profoundly ironic, because when you really observe what’s going on, you’ll see a lot more hate emanating from the Left. It’s not even close.

There are two common fallacies being attempted in the use of words like “hate” and “extreme.” One is the idea that a lie asserted boldly and frequently takes on the status of fact. The other is the ad hominem argument.

The key for anyone who wants to evaluate these allegations is to find out exactly what behavior is extreme or what expresses hate. What you will often find in investigating the allegations of the left these days is that ‘extreme’ means ‘a position by a person I consider an enemy’ and ‘hate’ means ‘any expression that impugns my views.’

What is often the case is that someone who starts talking about hate or extremism in generic terms is often past argument. They have selected their reality and set it in concrete. To establish a factual counter argument often gets down into making a logical trail from the dictionary definition of words (the evolution fracas is a good example of this, too). Statistical understandings have to be built from scratch. Any flaw or lack of precision will be subject to the most rigorous scrutiny. But even then, you are up against a perceptional filter that has withstood rationality and built up its defenses. That sort of barrier is not one to be simply surmounted.

So where is the extremism? Where is the hate? Does the word “bigot” mean anything?

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