Never underestimate the power of rhetorical spin. It has the power to make something bad look good and something good look bad. It can turn losers into winners and vice versa. For instance, one could be a perfectly unimpressive person with no accomplishments beyond having an abortion in college and being the “first woman of color” for a few state-level government positions in Vermont but somehow feel perfectly entitled to make oneself the spokesperson for women and families.
Such is the case with State Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale, who takes to the pages of Newsweek to warn readers of today’s Republicans who “are waging a war on children and families.” In her view, Republican efforts to ban hormone treatments and surgeries for minors, limit abortions, and allow Americans to protect themselves with firearms all endanger “children and families.”
Of course, these Republicans would probably say that they are trying to protect children and their families from being aborted, sterilized and mutilated, and shot by a murderous psychopath. However, once Hinsdale applies the magic euphemisms of “reproductive healthcare,” “gender affirming care,” “family planning,” and “lived experience,” all these points are reversed. Therefore, she concludes that like-minded Americans should run for office and oppose this agenda: “Join me.”
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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The issue here is not that Hinsdale’s argument is convincing (it isn’t) but, rather, that it seems to work for so many people. Without citing one study or actual news report—tellingly, her three links consist of one page of search results for “Republicans” and two pages that prove she’s a politician—she will succeed in swaying a large portion of the reading public to her side. All it required was deploying some leftist catchphrases and simplistic reasoning that so many Americans have come to accept without questioning.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that this mode of argumentation has evolved into a veritable form of doublespeak and doublethink, two concepts from the novel 1984 that describe how language and thought come to take on contradictory meanings (e.g., “war is peace,” “freedom is slavery,” “ignorance is strength”). As Hinsdale’s essay demonstrates, most of the claims made by the Left depend on people hearing one thing and inverting it. And because they’re busy trying to reconcile so much cognitive dissonance, they won’t have the time or energy to question what’s actually being said. Rather, like mindless NPCs (non-player characters in a video game that are programmed with a certain script), they will swallow the falsehoods, parrot the party line, and oppose dissenters who refuse to be programmed.
A brief review of the headlines from the past few weeks demonstrates just how much leftist doublespeak and doublethink has spread. First and foremost is the indictment of former president Donald Trump. Despite being politically motivated and devoid of merit, leftists continue repeating the empty line that “no one is above the law.”
Everything about this is false: there are plenty of people above the law, particularly those with the last name of Biden or Clinton; the general lack of fairness and constant harassment of Trump indicate that he’s definitely below the law not above it; and it’s debatable whether the technicalities cited by DA Alvin Bragg actually qualify as what people consider “the law.” Nevertheless, the majority of Americans simply shrug and assume that Trump must be guilty of something and deserves this treatment.
Reacting to the school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, where a transgender terrorist murdered six people in cold blood, prominent leftists took this occasion to push gun-control and advocate for transgender people, repeating the lie that they are victims of persecution. Biden joked about ice cream after the news broke, and his press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, earnestly claimed that the “trans community is under attack.”
Once again, this was entirely inappropriate and misguided: no gun-control measure would have prevented the shooting, a gun is what stopped the shooter, and her transgenderism likely played a major role in her decision to kill Christian children. All the same, leftist Americans took to social media to list out the names of high school shootings in the past several years and cheer on transgender activists protesting at multiple state capitols.
Amid both these events was the conviction of Douglass Mackey, who was guilty of sharing a meme directing people to vote by text for Hillary Clinton. This exercise of free speech was translated into the crime of “election interference.” Meanwhile, leftist comedienne Kristina Wong did exactly the same thing and suffered no legal consequences. This doesn’t seem to matter since election interference has come to mean anything that ensures fair elections or seems to favor conservative candidates. By contrast, those actions that really do interfere with elections are reframed as “fortifying” or “securing” them. Once again, normal leftist Americans accept the contradictions and see no problem with convicting people with whom they disagree.
These are just the stories that have received some kind of attention. There are plenty more examples of the country descending into undemocratic and lawless oligarchy that go completely ignored. All of them are simply covered up with doublespeak and doublethink, leaving a huge portion of the population under the delusion that everything is okay and that they’re good people. They can celebrate the decline of their country by taking a sip of Bud Light, admiring the picture of the celebrity trans-woman Dylan Mulvaney on the can, and pat themselves on the back for being progressive.
At this point, it’s rather futile to argue with people under this spell. They’ve long since stopped applying reason to their views and will respond to objections by repeating themselves and following their programming. Worse still, too much exposure to the leftist NPC non-arguments threaten to turn conservatives into NPCs as well. They will repeat the same counterarguments so often that they begin to forget the ideas and principles behind those counterarguments. In their zeal to “own the libs,” they will forget that the whole point was about conserving Western Civilization and its Christian faith.
Therefore, the best way to take down the propaganda and the accompanying doublespeak and doublethink is continually reconnecting with reality. Indeed, this is the takeaway of writer Spencer Klavan’s recent book, How to Save the West. After surveying the five major crises of the modern West (reality, body, meaning, religion, and regime), he recommends that people invest their time in creating strong local communities, making friends, living healthily, and embracing reality without the filters of digital media. If people can do this—which isn’t easy to do in today’s oppressively artificial world—they can avoid becoming another NPC and actually change their world and themselves for the better.