Words Matter: What the Language We Use Tells Us About Our Current Political Landscape – David Morris, Alternet.org
How is it that many of us throw out our knees in jerking reaction to some of them there buzzwords tossed in our direction by folks who’re afraid of having their copy-and-paste opinions challenged?
Case in point, why does Sean’s choir take as gospel Hannity’s stampede-intended writing against liberals?
This book was part of the collection of the guy who shot up the Tennessee church a few years ago because they were liberals.
In politics too words matter, and in politics too language evolves. In the last 50 years we have witnessed a politically motivated sea change in the meaning of old words and the introduction of new words, all intended to undermine our sense of compassion.
The prime example is how we’ve changed the meaning of the word “liberal”. For almost 700 years the word meant generous, selfless, noble, tolerant. When the word began to describe a political philosophy it mostly retained its original meaning. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, aside from being “broadminded” a liberal is someone “favoring political reform tending toward democracy and personal freedom for the individual.”
And then the 1960s happened. The Great Society, and civil rights legislation, spawned a change in the definition of liberal. We began to hear the phrase “bleeding heart liberal” to describe someone excessively softhearted.
The miracle of Google’s ngram allows us to trace the popularity of words and phrases in million of books. As we can see, “bleeding heart liberal” comes of age in the 1960s.